It already exists in many European countries: in Norway, Great Britain, Sweden and Italy, the congestion charge is already reducing traffic and increasing revenue in some cities. Transport experts are now calling for the introduction of a toll in German cities as well.
During the IAA Mobility car show, which took place in Munich for the first time this year, the voices for a city toll became loud again. Experts from the Ifo Institute , the Technical University of Munich and the car manufacturer BMW are certain: a toll for German city centres could solve the traffic problems better. Using Munich as an example, it has been calculated that a toll of 6 euros a day would reduce traffic in the city centre by 23 per cent. It is estimated that a toll for Munich alone would bring 600 million euros into the city coffers. However, all motorists without exception would then pay, even residents would be asked to pay. The revenue could be used to expand local transport or to support low-income earners. Commuters who do not receive financial support would have to pay about 1410 euros a year at 6 euros a day for a 5-day week and 25 days of holiday. Many of the commuters driven to the outskirts by rising rents see this as too high. Concerns are also expressed by traders and shop owners who fear that the toll could deter potential customers from coming to the city centre to shop. After all, those who have to pay a city toll and a parking fee might prefer to drive to the outskirts to the large shopping centres, where many things are available under one roof. Instead of a fixed fee, others therefore advocate a dynamic one, as in Norway and Sweden, for example, where the toll is higher during peak hours.
Another problem is billing. While cameras usually read and register the number plates, the head of BMW's Urban Mobility Competence Centre advocates checking by mobile phone: "You have to log in with your smartphone when you drive in and can then be checked by the traffic control. It is important that the entire route of the vehicle is not documented and retrieved. Reason: data protection.
Another way out would be a general mobility fee for all vehicles. The vice-president of the German Trade Association is therefore in favour of also charging bicycles, e-scooters and e-scooters for entry. After all, they would get new and wider lanes, while parking spaces and lanes would be eliminated for cars.
The experts agree that there is no way around a toll, in whatever form, in Germany in the next few years.