New analysis by Greenpeace Central and Eastern Europe has ranked public transport affordability and simplicity in 30 European countries and their capitals, showing that it is too expensive in many places.
Bulgaria, Croatia, Greece and Norway scored worst in the ranking of national transport tickets, while Dublin, London, Paris and Amsterdam ranked worst for the capitals. The analysis comes days after Germany and Hungary’s new low-cost nationwide travel cards came into effect on 1 May.
Greenpeace is calling on national and local governments to introduce affordable “climate tickets” for all public transport and for the European Commission to facilitate this, with the aim of introducing a single, Europe-wide climate ticket in the future.
Affordable public transport is a necessity, but many governments treat it like a luxury good.Lorelei Limousin, Greenpeace EU transport campaigner
1. Public transport as a luxury good
Public transport tickets in the EU are taxed at an average of 11% VAT, which is still higher than many other basic services and necessities. Six EU countries currently apply the standard VAT rate, which is the highest in the country, to both public transport and luxury goods, such as jewellery or luxury watches: Romania, Bulgaria, Estonia, Slovakia, Croatia and Hungary.
At the same time, the VAT on cross-border airline tickets in the EU is at 0% and kerosene for aeroplanes is also not taxed, which keeps the price of polluting transport low, while climate-friendly transport remains expensive, Greenpeace pointed out in a statement.
2. Making transport simple and affordable
Apart from Luxembourg and Malta, which made domestic public transport free, only Austria, Germany and Hungary have introduced relatively affordable nationwide tickets, costing less than €3 per day. Around two thirds of the countries analysed do not have country-wide long-term travel passes at all.
Greenpeace is calling on national and local governments to implement or improve their climate tickets, and for the European Commission to provide guidance and encouragement. National governments and the EU institutions should begin preparations for an EU-wide climate ticket which could be used for cross-border travel. To fund these services, and to shift incentives away from the most polluting forms of travel, Greenpeace is calling on national governments and the EU to end the tax exemptions for international flights and for aviation fuel and to further improve and expand their existing public transport networks.
3. National transport ticket country ranking
- Czech Republic
- Portugal, Sweden
- Poland, Lithuania
- Finland, France, Italy, Slovakia
- Latvia, Norway
- Greece, Croatia
4. Public transport capital ranking
- Tallinn, Luxembourg, Valletta