As early as Friday, 3G corona rules could be compulsory in German local public transport. The operators grudgingly accept this. But there are also legal concerns.
German train and bus services only for the tested, vaccinated or recovered. The incoming German government is endorsing the 3G rule for German trains and buses as soon as this week.
3G on German trains and buses
You can expect public transport networks with ICE and Intercity and for air transport to be affected. Schoolchildren and transportation in taxis should be excluded .
Controls would then be carried out “randomly”, according to the submission for the deliberation of the legislative plans in the main committee of the Bundestag on Tuesday evening.
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Decision backed by science
According to the submission, the obligation to wear an FFP2 mask or medical face mask during transport should also be stipulated. This does not apply to children under six years of age. The guidelines for the use of the means of transport should also apply to the control and service personnel.
The science supports this step. Mobility researcher Kai Nagel from the TU Berlin believes that such a regulation makes sense to curb the occurrence of infections. Because of the significantly more contagious Delta variant of the corona virus, the risk of infection has increased, including in public transport.
The protective measures must therefore be followed up. If you are vaccinated, that’s a step up. If you don’t get vaccinated, you should therefore test yourself. This filters out those who are particularly contagious at the moment.
3G rule could be adopted on Friday
If everything goes according to plan, the 3G rule could come quickly in traffic. The corresponding change in the Infection Protection Act is to be discussed in the Bundestag in the second and third reading on Thursday and passed by the Bundesrat on Friday so that it can come into force as soon as possible.
However, as reported , there is great resistance in the industry. From the rail unions EVG and GDL to the Association of German Transport Companies (VDV), all interest groups declared on Monday that a 3G obligation in buses and trains could not be implemented. In addition, the transport companies still consider this unnecessary because studies have shown that local transport is not an infection driver.
Experts believe that effective controls are possible
The CDU politician Heinrich Strossenreuther cannot understand that. 2G controls can be carried out efficiently as systematic raids,” the former rail manager explained on Twitter. Ticket inspectors could be used to check test and vaccination records.
Als ehemaliger Interimsgeschäftsführer von Privatbahnen muss ich @PRO_BAHN und Karl Peter Naumann widersprechen. 2G-Kontrollen sind effizient als systematische Razzi-Einsätze durchführbar. Entlastet die Kollegen und führt zu Regeleinhaltung. @TspBackgroundMT— Heinrich Strößenreuther (@wegeheld) November 16, 2021
With a full control with a team of two or three people, you can also check all 3G certificates in a two-story train, emphasized Strossenreuther, who has worked for Deutsche Bahn and several private railways for ten years. With the existing staff, spot checks and focus controls are possible.
Strossenreuther, however, considers this to be quite effective. To enforce a test requirement for unvaccinated, one must one create a social norm and for violations take the purse, he said. That is why Strossenreuther advocates high fines on the one hand, and on the other hand wants to show photos of passengers with pixelated faces on the Internet without proof of test.
Fewer ticket controls increase the damage caused by the pandemic
Local transport operators also see random checks and special checks as the only way to check that unvaccinated people are required to test. However, this means that fewer tickets will be checked in the coming months, says Mofair managing director Matthias Stoffregen
For railway companies, who generated part of their income from ticket sales, this means “that the damage caused by the pandemic will be even greater,” said the representative of the competition railways . This must be taken into account in a third public transport rescue package.
As reported , the VDV expects the transport companies to have a shortfall in income of 1.5 to 1.7 billion euros in 2022 due to Corona and is therefore calling for further state aid.
Associations have legal concerns
The German track is preparing to take control of 3G evidence in trains before. But the state-owned company did not want to comment on Tuesday. The DB competitor and long-distance bus operator Flixmobility also held back. First of all, they wanted to wait for the concrete decisions , it was said from Munich.
Some transport companies had a residual hope on Tuesday that the 3G rule in buses and trains could still be overturned. Especially since from the point of view of industry representatives, legal questions remain unanswered . What happens if passengers are caught without 3G proof? That is the key question.
“In the Passenger Transport Act there is an obligation to carry, ” said Lars Wagner from the VDV. Anyone with a valid ticket may only be thrown from buses and trains if they pose a specific risk to other passengers . “Is that the case if someone has forgotten their vaccination certificate or proof of recovery?” Asks Wagner.
From the point of view of the VDV, the 3G obligation and the obligation to transport lead to a legal contradiction . It doesn’t go together, said Wagner. The taxi industry also sees it that way. The associations are now expecting a signal from politics as to how this can be resolved.
Wir werden die vorliegenden Vorschläge der #Ampel-Koalitionäre zu einer möglichen 3G-Regel im #ÖPNV intensiv prüfen und versuchen, eine unter den gegebenen Rahmenbedingungen umsetzbare Lösung zu erarbeiten, Oliver Wolff (VDV) heute im Pressestatement: https://t.co/q9VkG87nzR pic.twitter.com/s3aAnHJscz— VDV (@VDV_Verband) November 15, 2021
This is followed by the question of punishment . In order for priority checks and spot checks to be dissuasive, driving without a 3G certificate has to be expensive. You can hear from traffic lights that a violation of the 3G rule should be treated as an administrative offense .
Bus industry demands state help with controls
The bus industry would like support from regulatory agencies or the police during controls.
“The federal government should definitely clarify whether the resources are available for this before it issues a regulation that cannot be enforced,” demanded a spokesman for the Federal Association of German Omnibus Companies (bdo).
Bus drivers could not carry out these controls, it said. Before the bill became known, representatives of the taxi industry made similar statements. The vaccination or convalescence status could theoretically be checked upon entry. However, the taxi industry rejects this as ” not practical “.
In general, taxis should not be lumped together with buses and trains, demanded Michael Oppermann , managing director of the Federal Association of Taxi and Rental Cars. The taxi is used for individual transport “and must therefore be treated differently than mass transport in order to avoid infection”.