The discussion about a continuation of the 9-euro ticket for buses and trains goes past a large number of citizens in Germany. For 14 million people in rural areas, public transport is not an alternative to the car because there is a lack of the corresponding offer. This is shown by a new evaluation by Agora Verkehrswende, an organization that is financed by climate protection foundations, among others.
"For 52 percent of the population, public transport runs at most every hour - for 17 percent even less than every two hours," says the "ÖV-Atlas", the current version of which Agora has now published. According to the authors, the second group, which includes around 14 million people, is dependent on private cars.
While the traffic light coalition in Berlin is discussing whether there should be a follow-up offer for the nationwide valid 9-euro ticket for regional transport, the traffic change lobbyists point out that the supply of public transport in Germany is very different. They rate it as “good supply” if “during peak traffic times a bus or train leaves the surrounding bus stops on average at least every 15 minutes”.
According to the evaluation, 30 percent of citizens in Germany can use such an offer. The calculations are based on 500 million timetable data from all over Germany, which are collected in a public database called Delfi (“continuous electronic passenger information”). Almost all transport associations have been posting their plans there since this year, and there are only a few gaps in the data.
There are differences in public transport not only between town and country, but also between comparable rural regions. In order to make this clear, the authors of the study put the bus and train connections in relation to the number of inhabitants on the one hand and form values in relation to the built-up area (settlements and traffic area) on the other hand - forests, lakes or fields are not included.
From this they determine the "trip density", a value that shows how well a region is supplied with public transport. If one now compares these values of similarly sparsely or densely populated districts, then a statement can be made about the quality of the offer.
Result: In Saarland, in large parts of Saxony and Baden-Württemberg, there is an above-average good connection to buses and trains. Thuringia, Saxony-Anhalt, large parts of Lower Saxony, Bavaria and the east of Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, on the other hand, are poorly served by public transport. Those 14 million people live in these regions who cannot be mobile without a private car.
The big cities are naturally at the top of the scale: Munich leads in terms of "trip density" ahead of Frankfurt and Berlin, followed directly by Bonn. Hamburg is only in eighth place because the frequency south of the Elbe is less frequent than in the north due to the lack of subways. "In many large cities, it can be observed how a good public transport offer on the outskirts suddenly ends and is already considerably worse in the immediate commuter belt," write the authors.
Does more supply mean that drivers switch to buses and trains? "In cities where buses and trains run at least every 10 minutes, typically more than a quarter of the transport performance is covered by public transport," the authors write.
However, they have to admit that there is no "rigid connection between supply and demand". Frankfurt/Main, Berlin and Heidelberg are all far ahead when you compare the number of journeys to the built-up area.
While the residents of the capital use public transport for 42 percent of their journeys, the figure in the other two cities is significantly less than 30 percent. Augsburg and Kiel – almost the same in terms of “journey density” – are also very far apart when it comes to the use of buses and trains: more than 30 percent in the Bavarian city compared to less than 15 percent on the Förde. The supply alone does not create the demand.
"Everything on shares" is the daily stock exchange shot from the WELT business editorial team. Every morning from 7 a.m. with our financial journalists. For stock market experts and beginners. Subscribe to the podcast on Spotify, Apple Podcast, Amazon Music and Deezer. Or directly via RSS feed.