Bus and train compete for trust

Do not be afraid of being infected with Corona: the federal government, states, cities and transport companies are launching a campaign for “returners” to win passengers and their trust again.

More buses and trains, fewer cars: Transport Minister Andreas Scheuer (CSU) promotes the use of masks and trust.

IFederal Transport Minister Andreas Scheuer (CSU) believes that nationwide uniform fine regulations make sense to deal with stubborn mask refusers on buses and trains. A common strategy of the federal states would be his wish and help for the controlling staff, said Scheuer on Wednesday in Berlin. After all, a “mask requirement with no ifs and buts” applies everywhere.

Scheuer emphasized that in view of the drop in passenger numbers during the Corona crisis, the goal is to regain people’s trust. “More cars on the roads and fewer buses and trains: That cannot be the mobility of the future,” said Scheuer at the presentation of the #BesserWeiter campaign, which the federal, state and municipal umbrella organizations together with the Association of German Transport Companies ( VDV).

The campaign is intended to help relieve skeptical passengers of the fear of infection and thus encourage them to “get back on board”. The President of the German Association of Cities, the Mayor of Leipzig, Burkhard Jung (SPD), pointed out that so far there has been no evidence that it is easier to get infected on buses and trains than elsewhere. Local public transport is needed, said Jung. “Corona must not slow down the traffic turnaround.”

“Passengers can feel safe”

The chairman of the regional transport ministers’ conference, Saarland Minister Anke Rehlinger (SPD), also emphasized: “The passengers can feel safe.” Everywhere one will now observe how the situation develops when more and more commuters return from home to the office and after Holidays bring students back to schools. Whether the offer can be increased in the morning depends on the availability of buses and drivers, on the adjustment of the timetables and, last but not least, on the financing.

Anke Rehlinger (from left to right) from the Conference of Transport Ministers, Timm Fuchs from the Association of Cities and Towns, Oliver Wolff from the Association of Transport Companies, Jörg Sandvoss from DB Regio, Minister Andreas Scheuer and Burkhard Jung from the German Association of Cities at the press conference in Berlin.
Anke Rehlinger (from left to right) from the Conference of Transport Ministers, Timm Fuchs from the Association of Cities and Towns, Oliver Wolff from the Association of Transport Companies, Jörg Sandvoss from DB Regio, Minister Andreas Scheuer and Burkhard Jung from the German Association of Cities at the press conference in Berlin.: Image: dpa

Scheuer emphasized that the EU Commission had approved the federal rescue package for the transport companies in the amount of 2.5 billion euros to compensate for their damage from the beginning of March to the end of August. The fund could both grant aid for loss of income and offset expenses for hygiene measures and vehicle conversions. Rehlinger said that most countries had meanwhile put additional funds into their budgets. The aim is to use the aids to “take the companies with them into the future without them having to raise their prices”. Your offer is public services of general interest. “Now the demand just has to pick up again.”

After the lockdown in spring, the number of passengers on buses and trains is only increasing slowly. The average load is now 60 to 70 percent again, after the transport companies had only counted 15 to 20 percent of their usual passengers in March and April. According to the VDV, the results of a current survey show that 78 percent of passengers who used local transport at least three days a week before Corona are already traveling just as often by bus and train. 20 percent of those surveyed stated that they would drive more frequently again because they were required to wear a mask.

Transport companies are not yet satisfied. “The successive increase in passenger numbers is encouraging, but still far too little for adequate financing or the important contribution that buses and trains are supposed to make to climate protection in traffic,” emphasizes the VDV. A new “bus & train trust index” based on market research is now intended to measure people’s feeling of security.

“The index’s starting value is currently 47.24 points. The closer the value approaches the 100 mark, the greater the trust in local transport. ”VDV Managing Director Oliver Wolff spoke of an“ image loss through no fault of his own ”and said that every single passenger who returns is important. In autumn, the campaign for the trust of the passengers is to receive new impulses. Then a Germany-wide confession campaign is planned under the heading: I’m a returnee.