Crowd-funded train arrives in Berlin
In Germany, where Deutsche Bahn (DB) rules the roost, a new train is about to take to the tracks. The first train operated by Locomore arrived in Berlin earlier this December, completing a test journey between its home base in Stuttgart and Germany's capital city.
The company Locomore launched their grand idea on StartNext, a crowdfunding platform popular in the German-speaking region in Europe. With stops in Frankfurt and Hannover, the company's goal is to offer cost-effective public transport (and competition for the DB!), lure customers away from the country's famous Autobahn, and offer a sustainable service featuring on-board service consisting mainly of fair-trade and organic goods.
In addition to encouraging more people onto a low-carbon emissions mode of transport, Locomore has announced a contract with Naturstrom AG (link in German), which will supply electricity certified with the Grüner Strom (Green Power) label, backed by environmental groups Friends of the Earth Germany (BUND). The green power seal reflects not only delivery of power from renewable resources, but also a commitment to invest in expanding the supply network for green power. The train will feed regenerated power from braking back into the train network, increasing the overall energy efficiency.
Tickets can be purchased in English or German at the Locomore booking page. Passengers opting for business class can count on the typical offering of table space, device power outlets, and WiFi. Adding a bicycle or a pet requires just a simple click, and a small additional fee.
Don't forget to check the seating options available. In additional to the common "quiet" or "family" cars, Locomore has a "Themes" car in which you can opt to sit near someone with a common interest, such as start-up networking, knitting, backpacking & couchsurfing, or (of course!) trains. Caution for the Americans: those sitting in the football seats will be talking soccer.
Locomore seat booking in Themes wagon/Screen capture
So far it looks like a win all around: passengers have a new option in the best mode of travel, competition will keep prices down, and sustainability and crowd-sourcing both can boast of a big win.