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Regional Train Travel to Get Costlier in Germany

Germany’s national railway, Deutsche Bahn, plans to increase prices for local public transport by 4.1 percent, the company announced Thursday. Business commuters and students are expected to be hard hit with prices for trips up to 100 kilometers climbing by between 10 and 70 cents. However, short stretches up to five kilometers will not be affected. The company pointed out that prices for local transport had remained stable for the past two years. "We simply can’t afford it anymore," Deutsche Bahn regional board member Ulrich Homburg said. He added that rising personnel and energy costs and a restructuring drive had forced the company to resort to the measure. Local transport remains the company’s most lucrative sector. Deutsche Bahn hopes to rake in extra revenues of about €40 million in 2004 through the new hike, which still has to be approved by transport authorities.