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With 2020 starting, the Germans had more than one reason to celebrate. In an effort to encourage people to take more trains, national railway company Deutsche Bahn announced cutting prices for all long-distance train rides for the first time in 17 years. The government decided to cut the value-added tax (VAT) to make traveling by train more attractive for travelers, rolling out new prices that see tickets 10 percent cheaper for long-distance trips starting in six months.

What exactly qualifies as long-distance? Well, the government set out the new prices for all trips over 50 kilometers, only if the passenger travels from one railway region into another. Prices are also cut on special offers and additional services, such as fees for traveling with your bicycle. Deutsche Bahn announced that they do not make any profit from the tax cut, and are passing on all savings directly to ticket buyers. According to the company, this change is expected to bring in another 5 million passengers per year who’ll switch to train traveling for the lower prices.

The motive behind this update? Climate protection measures. It’s a logical way to turn people away from traveling by planes, which leads to a much higher carbon footprint. After all, flight shaming was one of the hottest topics in 2019, but it looks like the world is stepping into 2020 with the right foot.

Unfortunately, not all commuters in Germany are happy about the updates. Public transportation such as bus, tram, and subway travel in many regions will face an increase, including Berlin, Hamburg, Bremen, Brandenburg, and the Rhineland. This increase is reportedly due to rising wages and higher costs of electricity and diesel.

Source: The Guardian