The plan for how to spend the extra one billion kroner set aside for public transport will be announced before the summer holiday, metroXpress newspaper reported today.
The extra money was the result of a deal made between the government, support party Enhedslisten and opposition party Dansk Folkeparti as a compromise after the government’s proposed congestion charge was abandoned in February.
”We are not ready yet, but we are betting on being ready before the summer holiday,” Radikale’s traffic spokesperson, Andreas Steenberg, told metroXpress. “DSB needs time to adjust their budget after the reduction in fares. But if we need more trains then that needs to get going if it is to be ready by January 2013.”
Socialistisk Folkeparti's traffic spokesperson, Anne Baastrup, told the newspaper that increasing capacity was a high priority that would probably lead to a doubling of the 45 double-decker regional trains currently in operation.
“What we are going for are bicycle super highways, more trains and electric trains all the way to Esbjerg by 2015, along with more electric trains in general,” Baastrup said.
According to Harry Lahrmann, a traffic researcher at Aalborg University, focussing on increasing capacity rather than reducing fares is a better method of getting more people to use public transport.
“It would work best to have more trains,” Lahrmann told metroXpress. “There is evidence to suggest that reducing prices doesn’t help.”
The continuation of the HyperCard scheme, which gives high school students cheap fares to and from their education, was also up for discussion. While some want to expand the project to reach more students, Enhedslisten thinks that the scheme is too focussed on a small portion of the population.
“I think the HyperCard scheme for all students is a good idea but it would cost between 300 and 400 million kroner and not all groups would benefit from the reduction in fares,” Enhedslisten’s traffic spokesperson Henning Hyllested said.
After the government failed to introduce a congestion zone for Copenhagen, they instead established a Congestion Committee in April to examine alternative ways of tackling the city’s traffic problems.
The 24-person committee is comprised of businessmen, researchers, environmental organisations and politicians. They have until January 2013 to develop a strategy for tackling congestion in Copenhagen.