Ministry mulls reducing train fares by cutting zones

Far left supports plan to reduce fares for commuters travelling the farthest by cutting outlying zones

Removing the outer zones from the Copenhagen public transport fare network could reduce travel costs for commuters without significantly lowering income for the state, according to Transport Ministry proposal obtained by metroXpress newspaper.

Reducing the number of zones from nine to seven would reduce the price of a monthly all zone transit pass from 1,215 kroner to 1,005 kroner. If there were only six zones, a pass would cost only 870 kroner, a saving of 345 kroner.

Fares to use public transport in Greater Copenhagen are calculated by the number of zones a passenger travels through. According to metroXpress the losses from cutting the outer zones would be minimal compared with reducing prices across the board. The report concludes that cutting outer four zones would cost the government 181 million kroner, while cutting just the outer three zones would cost 280 million kroner.

Government support party Enhedslisten has suggested cutting zones before and was pleased to discover the plan would cut fares without dramatically reducing ticket income.

“We were very surprised when we saw how cheap it would be to remove the two outer zones,” traffic spokesperson Henning Hyllested, said. “It’s definitely not scary to remove the zones.”

Reducing fares was high on the joint Socialdemokraterne election manifesto together with Socialistisk Folkeparti. Reduced bus and train ticket prices were supposed to encourage commuters to switch over to public transportation after a congestion charge was introduced for Copenhagen.

The government later announced they were going ahead with the congestion charge could not afford to reduce the prices for public transport.

According to metroXpress, the government is still debating how to proceed with the congestion zone which is why the transport minister, Henrik Dam Kristensen, has so far declined to comment publicly on the proposal.

But Radikale traffic spokesperson Andreas Steenberg, whose party is a member of the governing coalition with Socialdemokraterne and Socialistisk Folkeparti, has expressed his support.

“It’s a really good idea to focus on reducing fares so I think it’s a really positive suggestion,” he told metroXpress.