From the first Automobile to Car2go – Transportation in Germany

AllemagneGermans love Cars. They have for more than 150 years – since Carl Benz from Karlsruhe invented the first automobile. His brand, Mercedes-Benz, is still one of the most popular car brands in Germany.  National brands such as Audi, BMW, Mercedes and VW are generally the preferred brands as they have proven their high quality. Not only is a car a tool to get you from point A to point B, it is a reward for hard work, which is characteristically German, as well as a status symbol. As advanced and interconnected as public transport might be, 58% of people still claim to use their personal vehicle on a daily basis.

Still, crowded cities and expensive gasoline are pressing people to use public transport, bikes and car sharing services. The best place to observe this change in mobility is in the capital itself, where the amount of people walking, driving, biking, and using bus and metro is almost the same (33%). Generally biking is becoming a lot more popular. In big cities like Berlin and Hamburg, bike routes are broadly present and well kept. Most central stations have bike sharing stations, provided by the train association – so commuters can easily get to their specific destination. Obviously the mobility and transportation type differs from urban to rural areas. In the countryside, the car is still the most common means of transportation.

Use of different types of Transportation
Transportation(right – left): car, metro/bus, bike, taxi, motorbike, carsharing

Color coding: green – daily, yellow – weekly, blue – monthly, pink -rarely

As shown on this graph the car is still the number one means of transportation. An evident  reason for this is the lack of very interconnected public transportation systems in rural areas. Another reason could also be the unreliability of the railway and urban train companies. Frequent strikes by conductor unions cause delays and cancellations – a nogo for businessmen and other commuters. The second most common way for many to reach their destination is the use of the bike followed by public transit.

Gas price in Germany: 1,55 euros per litre or 6.43$ per gallon

It is the 8th highest in the world, due to the high tax on gas and mineral oil.

Metro and Bus Tickets: Vary from 1,30 euros to 2,90 euros per ride – most people pay a yearly price.

Railwaysystem: “Die Bahn” is a great way to get around the country; in fact, millions of pending business men use this every day. This system includes some of the fastest trains, such as the ICE, which brings you from south to north  in just 6 hours, as well as the slower regional trains. “Die Bahn” also collaborates with the TGV and other European Railway companies. Interrail gives young people the opportunity to get around Europe at a low cost.

Global Interrail Ticket for youth (10 day pass): 150 euro “all you can travel”

Interrail Map                                                                                             Number of electric cars in Germany


The environment concerns us all. Especially in Germany, people tend to feel passionately about combatting climate change. Still, the electric car has not gotten as much popularity as expected. Only in the last two years the number of vehicles moved by electricity has made a notable jump.

The “Maut”, a tool for goods vehicles based on the distance driven, the number of axles, and the emission of the vehicle, had sparked debate in the last year. The conservatives from Baveria and the minister for transp
ort, notably,  are advocating for a road toll that is only paid by foreigners.  Chancellor Angela Merkel tried to work around a Maut, but the Minister for Transport, who is from her party, she has trouble playing her manifesto.

Carsharing services such as cartogo becoming more popular

The number and users of carsharing vehicles has risen rapidly; there has been exponential growth, especially since 2012, when free floating carsharing services came to the country. Uber is not currently present because of legal issues. Taxi companies sued Uber for various reasons, one of them being the lack of reliable insurance.

All in all the younger the generation is becoming a lot greener and less individualized. The transportation trends of the young urbanites is definitely:  no more cars, public transport and bikes are now instyle. And if you desperately need a car, open your car2go app and find one.

– by Pauline F.