From a climate-killer to a life-saver?

-by Martin Schmidt, City of Graz Holding, Head of public transport and traffic development

It’s all in our hands”, does Silke Zimmer-Merkle finish her post ( But who exactly is the ‘we’?  Is it people from the academia, like many of the authors who have posted here? Or is it the hundred thousands of workers who either have to stay home now with a reduced income or even have become unemployed because of this crisis and all of them asking right now what the future will be like for them and their families? How do politicians react to their fears and how will they try to restart the economy and the regain the confidence of the people? Maybe they will create a stimulus-package with tax-free car sales in order to get the car industry and their hundred thousand workers running again? Maybe they will proclaim free parking in order to save the shops in the city-centers?

I assume, all or most of you will acknowledge that these are short-sighted measures. But who knows what the decisions will be and who will be able to guide the politicians into a sustainable future? As others have posted before, the perception of the individual car suddenly has changed: from a climate-killer to a life-saver! Since I am not only a concerned citizen but also working at a public transport operator, this will be a huge challenge for us. Even when we will get back to a ‘normal’ schedule after the crisis, will our customers also come back? Will we suddenly lack the funding for all the projects we have been working on to further improve our public transport system because it will be shifted to ‘saving the economy’? I know, a lot more questions than answers. But it is the first crisis of that enormous dimension in our life-time and may it also be the last!

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