The Berlin start-up Locomore has the crowdfunded daily train service up and running. Its first journey was from Stuttgart to Berlin in December 2016. The tickets are less than one-fifth the fare of national service Deutsche Bahn. The service uses ‘vintage’ carriages, runs on electricity from renewable sources, and offers travellers a range of organic and free range snacks.
Investment opportunities are open to the public, starting at a 1500 € loan for a duration of five years, with payment either in cash or in ticket vouchers. Ticket vouchers earn double the interest rate.
Locomore shows demand among citizen-consumers for affordable services, and a willingness to organise – investing their own money and time – to enable this. It also demonstrates a commitment to more sustainable public services, and the belief that sustainability should not come at a premium. The founder and majority shareholder, Derek Ladewig, is a public administration specialist dedicated to train transportation. He believes that “long distance travel on tracks can only gain new passengers sustainably if travellers have a real choice between offers of different railway companies.”
What other public services might citizens organise to provide, expanding choice beyond the offers of national services and private companies? Have you spotted any crowdfunded schools or healthcare services?