Danish party considering free public transportation - The Post

Danish party considering free public transportation

Dansk Folkeparti wants to look into cost of making the dramatic change

A free mode of transportation for Danes in the future? (photo: DSB)
August 19th, 2019 11:50 am| by Christian W

With congestion becoming an increasing problem in more and more Danish cities, Dansk Folkeparti (DF) wants to look into the possibility of making public transportation free.

Morten Messerschmidt, the DF spokesperson for climate issues, said the party wants to investigate the cost of making public transport free in Denmark’s four biggest cities: Copenhagen, Aarhus, Odense and Aalborg.

“We face a huge change in our entire transportation sector in regards to climate and energy policy,” Messerschmidt said, according to Jyllands-Posten.

“We want to know what the cost might be for making public transport free – at least for the bigger cities to see if that could be a road to take in terms of the green transition.”

Messerschmidt said he would ask the transport minister, Benny Engelbrecht, to come up with new calculations to estimate the effect free buses and trains would have on the climate. The topic hasn’t been looked into since 2006, and traffic in Denmark has increased considerably since then.

READ ALSO: Copenhagen’s public transport landscape facing dramatic change

SF in support
DF already has support from the opposite side of the political spectrum, with Socialistisk Folkeparti (SF) showing interest in looking into the subject.

“It could be interesting to do as a trial. But it would have to be on the longer stretches, like the train from Copenhagen to Aarhus, which is absurdly expensive today. In the city there are already many who use public transport, and here we should instead try to limit access to cars,” Karsten Hønge, SF’s political spokesperson, told Jyllands-Posten.

Switching to free public transport would leave the government footing the bill in co-operation with the municipalities and regional authorities. DF believes it would cost about 5 billion kroner to make public transport free.

Free public transport is not a new concept, but were Denmark to introduce it, it would become the first country to fully embrace it.