15. April 2016

“Minister must include coaches in road tolls”

Pro-Rail Alliance welcomes transport ministers’ vote on coach services

Unfair competition: Scheduled coach services are exempted from tolls but trains must pay.

Berlin, April 15, 2016. After the majority vote by the transport ministers of the German federal states in favour of imposing road tolls on scheduled coach services, as well as recent demands by the SPD to end the exemption for tolls on coaches, the German Pro-Rail Alliance believes that pressure in now building on federal transport minister Alexander Dobrindt from the CSU. “The transport ministers of the federal states have criticised the exemption on tolls for scheduled coach services as being ‘incompatible with the system’ because it represents an unfair competitive advantage for scheduled, long-distance coach services when compared with trains,” said the managing director of the Pro-Rail Alliance, Dirk Flege, on Friday in Berlin. “The chairman of the parliamentary transport committee, Martin Burkert (SPD), also has misgivings about the advantages being handed to coach services,” said Flege. “This means that the federal transport ministry is now becoming increasingly isolated.”

The Pro-Rail Alliance is calling on Dobrindt to amend the current draft legislation, which includes an expansion of the tolls on heavy goods vehicles. The logic behind road tolls – that those who use the system should pay for it – is a compelling reason for including scheduled coach services in the legislation, which only refers to an order to review the matter by 2017 in the annotations. “Transport minister Dobrindt is playing for time in favouring scheduled coach services instead of delivering convincing, transparent and fair transport policies for all modes of transport,” said Flege. The draft legislation, which is currently in the consultation phase until April 20, includes an expansion of road tolls on HGVs to cover all federal roads from July 1, 2018. “There is no rational reason why tolls on scheduled coaches should not be included in the legislation,” said Flege.

The train path pricing system for the railways determines that every train on every route has to pay access charges.” Fair competition between rail and road demands that the whole road network, all HGV weight categories, and of course scheduled, long-distance coaches should be included in the road tolls,” said Flege. In this way, politicians could close the funding gaps for infrastructure maintenance, improve the transparency of the true cost of transport, and create an incentive for a modal shift to the environmentally friendly railways.

 

Additional information (German):

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