Transport minister zooming in on harmonisation of public transport tariffs

Danish transport companies have failed to agree on a unifying system

The transport minister, Hans Christian Schmidt, has convened Danish transport companies to begin new negotiations about the harmonisation of the tariff systems.

In spite of years of discussion, the many different players in Danish public transport have not been able to agree on a unifying model. And last year they gave up altogether.

Confusion of tariff systems
The current ticketing system is a confusing mix of various rates provided by national, regional and local transport companies, along with numerous tariff systems and discount schemes.

According to Peder Larsen, the head of Statsrevisorerne (state auditors), it is, for instance, cheaper to buy a ticket from Copenhagen to Tølløse than to Roskilde, even though Tølløse is three stops and 20 minutes further away from the capital.

Travel card did not help
The introduction of the travel card in 2011 was expected to help the logic of the tariff system, but problems remain and have just become more visible, noted the Danish Supreme Audit Institution in a critical report.

According to Larsen, transport companies fear losing money.

“None of the transport companies want to make changes to their own tariff systems. They welcome others to align to their own tariffs, but they themselves are not willing to make any changes,” Larsen told Politiken.

Top-down decision necessary
Statsrevisorerne believe the nationwide harmonisation of the tariffs is not possible unless the companies truly commit to finding a solution or the state decides for them.

Jesper Højte Stenbæk, the chief consultant at Dansk Erhverv, agrees.

“We need a national top-down management of public transport, which starts by taking the necessary decisions to make tariffs understandable to customers,” Stenbæk told Politiken.





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