25. September 2014

“Policies make life difficult for sleeper rail services

Pro-Rail Alliance comments on parliamentary debate on overnight trains

Berlin, September 25, 2014. In view of today’s debate in the federal parliament on reducing services on overnight trains and holiday motorrail car transport, the managing director of the German Pro-Rail Alliance made the following statement: “Attractive connections for overnight sleeper services and vacation motorrail trains are important for the railways as a whole, but operators and passengers are being let down by politicians.” Flege pointed out that passengers buying tickets in Germany for cross-border journeys using overnight services including motorrail have to pay the full rate of VAT, whereas most other states in Europe do not levy sales tax on train tickets for cross-border travel. Airline passengers also do not have to pay VAT on tickets for cross-border flights.

In addition, taxes on energy are also unfairly imposed because the airlines and their passengers do not have to pay taxes on aviation fuel or Germany’s ecotaxes. “Rail passengers on the other hand have to pay for taxes on electricity, ecotaxes and levies for renewable energy. In this respect, it is policymakers who are making life difficult for overnight rail services,” said the Pro-Rail Alliance manager on Thursday in Berlin.

Infographic: Rail travellers pay the highest taxes VAT rates for cross-border journeys by rail and air From top to bottom: UK, Denmark, France, Poland, Sweden, Italy, Netherlands, Belgium, Austria, Spain, Greece, Germany and Croatia.

Source: Pro-Rail Alliance based on figures from the EU Commission 2014. All other members: 0% VAT. Malta and Cyprus have no railways.

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