Berlin's House of Representatives is pushing to allow the purchase of tickets on buses with cash again. During a debate on Thursday, five of the six parliamentary groups called on Berlin's public transport company (BVG) to reintroduce the option of paying with coins and banknotes, which was abolished two and a half years ago due to the pandemic, as soon as possible.
The practice of only allowing cashless payment to the bus driver excludes people from mobility, several speakers argued. It also contradicts the tariff regulations within the Berlin-Brandenburg Transport Association (VBB). The AfD also sees a loss of revenue for the BVG, because many customers now travel on the bus without paying cash and do not buy a ticket when changing to the S-Bahn or U-Bahn.
The CDU did not endorse the demands. "Berlin has other problems, whether paying in cash is possible or not," said its transport expert Oliver Friederici. "95 or even 99 percent" of BVG customers have a card or pay cashless with their cell phones, for example. There can be no question of exclusion, after all, cash can be paid at ticket machines. However, such machines do not exist at bus stops, but at underground or suburban train stations.
The BVG had abolished the possibility of cash payment in March 2020 to protect bus drivers from Corona infection. Another argument against cash on the bus is that it saves drivers time and nerves. Payment is possible, for example, by EC or credit card, cell phone, or with a BVG reloadable cash card.
Recently, the Senate Department for Transport had also made it clear that cash payment on the bus must now be possible again after the exception due to the pandemic. It is holding talks on this with BVG. The topic is also anchored in the coalition agreement of the SPD, the Greens and the Left.
Photo by Matthew Henry