On the 16th of May, the Klimaplenum Bremen, an independent local environmental group, organized a “Free Transport Day” (Umsonstfahrtag) in their hometown in northern Germany. Activists gathered to ride trains and buses for free and to engage the public in discussions on local transport issues.
The demand for free local transport stems from both ecological and social concerns: the goal is as much to reduce private traffic and CO2 emissions as it is to allow mobility for everyone regardless of income and financial resources.
Actions related to the protest reached from manipulating billboards of the local transport authority, marking ticket vending machines as “out of order”, distributing information material, and talking to train and bus passengers. The reception among the latter was generally positive. While the media focused on the protesters’ environmental demands, the passengers seemed particularly interested in alternative fare policies.
The transport authority had voiced its objection to the protest and had instructed its drivers to remind the free riders that their actions were illegal. However, no drastic measures were taken to prevent the protest, probably due to its relative popularity among the public.
More information (in german) and pictures at Indymedia