Could this year’s budget reduce Denmark’s train and bus fares?

Could this year’s budget reduce Denmark’s train and bus fares?
Photo: Liselotte Sabroe/Ritzau Scanpix
A left-wing party and key ally to the government says it wants major reductions to the cost of public transportation.

The Red-Green Alliance (Enhedslisten) wants cheaper fares to be introduced by the new year.

The party, one of three parliamentary allies propping up the Social Democratic government, is to demand a reduction of as much as 30 percent to ticket prices in negotiations over the coming budget.

“One of our demands will be for (cheaper prices) to be noticeable when taking a bus or train after January 1st. So the price must be reduced significantly,” Red-Greed Alliance lead spokesperson Pernille Skipper said.

“It is currently possible to travel to London by plane for less than the price of a train ticket from Aalborg to Copenhagen, and that is completely idiotic if you want to be climate-conscious,” she added.

Asked whether the Red-Green Alliance would refuse to back a budget that did not include cheaper prices for public transport passengers, Skipper said that “you should never make ultimate demands in politics”.

Cheaper bus and train fares to the extent advocated by Red Green Alliance could cost the state up to 1.3 billion kroner, the party estimates. An additional 900 million kroner should be invested in new buses and trains, the group proposes.

Those costs would be covered by increased taxation of capital and shares as part of income taxes. Such a plan would increase state income by 5.3 billion kroner annually, the left wing party says, citing Tax Ministry figures.

Social Democrat finance spokesperson Christian Rabjerg Madsen said the government would not assess any budget proposals until the parties are sat at the negotiating table.

“It is clear that the government has obliged itself to make a historically ambitious effort to reach our climate targets. As such, it is crucial that we improve public transportation,” Madsen said.

The government is scheduled to present its proposed budget on October 2nd before parties negotiate a final deal. These are generally passed by parliament in December.

READ ALSO: 'Make it more affordable': What The Local readers think of Denmark's public transportation system

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