Safe and Clean: Mobility Made in Germany

Safe and Clean: Mobility Made in Germany: Jure Mikolcic, VDB Vice-President Rolling Stock, CEO of Stadler Pankow GmbH, Member of the Executive Committee of Stadler Rail AG, at the VDB Digital Dialog Forum “Rail Revolution 4.0: Picking up Speed after the Crisis”.

Jure Mikolcic: “We’re living in unusual times. We’re currently all affected by the major issue of the pandemic, but we’re also dealing with major challenges in the global economy, which affect us equally. What is clear now within the challenges we see today is that transport – transporting people and goods – will significantly influence the resources, the opportunities that individuals have, economically and politically, but of course influence our climate too.

What is also clear to us today is that the railways are the most environmentally friendly motorised means of transport there is. […] You’ll hear about the technological opportunities we have in the form of alternative traction in order to contribute to the environment and a reduction in carbon emissions. I would like to reference a very recent study that Deutsche Bahn published this week, because it shows us that the young generation too is banking on rail. 64% of 16–29-year-olds viewed local/regional public transport as crucial to supporting and stabilising the transport and therefore climate transition. Another interesting finding of this study was that the usage rates of this public transport will return to pre-coronavirus levels. 38% of respondents said that they were planning on using public transport at least once a week.”

“If we look at our customers, it is unfortunate that we are dealing with this pandemic. […] Safety has become a big issue in the passenger sector, and this is being addressed in different ways. There are a number of different studies – though they can’t be compared one to one.

One study by the Berliner Charité is interesting. Samples were taken over a period of time in Deutsche Bahn trains and the medical conclusion was that we aren’t at an increased risk on public transport. Nevertheless it is very clear to us that the pandemic has a big impact on the personal sense of safety felt by our customers. The German Travel Association says 54% of people feel a lot more insecure about using this mode of transport. In my view this isn’t necessary. As the German, European and international industry, we can provide an answer: we can offer immediate solutions such as the contactless opening of doors, more medium-term we can give passengers the ability to use their devices to view the occupancy of a vehicle in advance, allowing them to seek out a carriage where they can be distanced from others. What is clear is that we’re called upon to offer the technological solutions. Government has recognised this and the support is available. It’s the only way we’ll be capable of giving our customers their sense of safety back and stabilising passenger numbers.”

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