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Would you go without a car for £1,000?

By Tom Gibson | July 20, 2021


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Under a radical news scheme in Berlin, locals will be offered 1,100 Euro to go car-free

Would you go without a car for £1,000?

Well, a new initiative in Berlin thinks locals will… 

Despite efforts in Germany’s capital to get people onto public transport by raising car tax and lowering public transport tickets, the number of cars in the city is continuing to grow.

Activists have come up with what can only be described as a fairly radical plan for an “empty road bonus” to reward people for not owning a car and instead making use of less environmentally damaging alternatives. 

According to the proposal, anyone who does not own a private car and instead travels by foot, bike, bus or train, or who uses a car sharing scheme, would receive an annual bonus of 1,100 euros - approximately the same amount as the cost of an annual subscription for public transport in Berlin. The bonus would be financed with income from the CO2 tax. 

On paper, experts in Germany think the idea is a good one - since many people could probably do without a car in their everyday lives, a financial incentive might make them reassess. Reducing the number of cars on streets “gives people back living space on their doorstep, which is real added value,” one of the initiative’s backers, Tim Lehmann, told Zeit.

But there has to be some doubt about the proposal given that travelling by car and public transport are altogether different experiences. For this idea to work, there would have to be huge investment in public transport to make it as close as possible to the seamless journeys people enjoy in their cars daily.

And, to state the obvious, would people ever get over the loss of privacy your own vehicle provides. We’ll watch this one with interest and please leave your thoughts below...


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