Transportation in Copenhagen, Denmark


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I remember some where in the forum AMG had asked me to post the auto scene in Denmark and *Arkin_Young* asked today whether I own a car here in Denmark. Well, instead of saying 'No, I don't have one', I would like to say why most of the people don't own a car in Denmark. Please note that the case of Denmark is slightly different from other European countries. Some of the things below will help you guys if you are planning a trip to Europe, as the systems are more or less similar across the geography.

Denmark, which hosted the UN climate change conference couple of months ago, is one of the most environmentally friendly countries in the world. However there are some controversies as well. Please read it here, it is beyond the scope of my topic. Copenhagen is the capital of Denmark as most of you are aware. Due to its environment friendliness, there are two preferred way of transportation:

  1. Bikes (Cycles)
  2. Public Transportation

Surprised with the first option? Denmark is the most Bike friendly country in the world and especially Copenhagen is the best bike friendly city. I myself was using a bike till last December here. Following the picture of my ride:

22112009.jpg

This was a french made bike with 18 gears. Bought it for 1400 DKK (11279 INR) and sold it for 900 DKK (7250 INR) after using it for 1.5 years. My bike belong the the very basic model category. So it was very cheap to buy. A normal good brand/quality bikes starts from 5000 DKK (40280 INR) all the way up to more than 1 Lkh DKK.

Since Bike is the first and most preferred way of transportation There are separate bike tracks along side the roads with traffic signals. There are certain set of road rules as well. There lot of active groups supporting and promoting the bike usage. Copenhagen Cycle Chic is one of them. Well, this is good fun! For those who are interested to know further, check out the Cycling and Walking e-book 2010

To make sure that no one is buying an self solution for transportation that easily which results the pollution and traffic congestion, Govt. has done a very simple but elegant rule. The road tax for a normal car is 200% of its ex-showroom price. On the other hand Govt. has made to it sure that the public transportation is at the top level. I think the only country which can compete with Denmark in this matter is Switzerland.

Coming back to road tax: Since the road tax are mostly double the price of the car, only a small percentage of public owns a car. Due to the high tax, ex-showroom price of the car is relatively very low compare to other countries in Europe. eg.: Base model Nissan Pixo (MSIL A-Star) will cost 89990 DKK (724969 INR) ex-showroom which will cost 269970 DKK (2174907 INR) on road, excluding insurance, parking fees, entry fees to city if not registered in City region. I don't have to tell you guys that registering the car in City region will attract a higher tax! Insurance rate in winter is higher than summer. Also you need to separate set of 5 tyres - one for summer and one for winter!

On an average, if you want to maintain an Wagon R or something similar to that, you need to have 5000 DKK (40662 INR) per month including fuel, parking fees, entry fees and insurance. On the other hand a monthly pass for all type of public transportation for City inner region - 2 Zones - will come for 320 DKK (2602 INR) per month! Now, that best explains why I don't own a car here [;)]

Due to high tax and insurance, normally people tend use very old cars too. Because disposing the old and getting a new one is not that cost effective. Insurance rate fluctuates according to the age group of the owner and his previous road accident history. My colleague told that he really wanted to buy a Porche Boxter but no insurance company will give him an insurance for it because of he is young. All these doesn't means that there are no cars going around. Still there are lot of traffic issues and couple of my friends come from US said that they have not seen these many varieties of cars even in US.

How Do I commute in Denmark:

As mentioned earlier I was using bike to my office a total of 22 KM (up & down) every day. This is really nice experience especially in summer. Most of the time I am using S-Tog, Movia Buses and Metros to commute.
Tog means Train in Danish. S-Tog is the city train service which is spanned across districts and connects the outskirts Copenhagen. Here is a picture of S-Tog at Copenhagen Central station:

s-tog-centralstation1.jpg

Here is the interior view. Also note the display indicating the each stops. If the train is going to stop at a major station, it will display the connecting train and bus details as well. This informative display is there in each compartment.

s-tog-inside1.jpg

I always prefer using S-Tog becuase of the comfort. All buses in Copenhagen are painted in yellow. There are normal buses, A buses (which has a red strip on half of the portion in front and rear) and S buses (which has a blue strip on half of the portion in front and rear) running. following picture shows an A bus:

5A-CPH.jpg

Noe the low flooring. These are much like the VOLO buses running in Bangalore, except that Bangalore buses has better leg room, interior and quality. Recently (couple of months before the climate meeting in Copenhagen) electric buses started operating in the city regions. These are small electric buses running between fixed stops in circular roots connecting major points of interests:

movia_arriva_bus.png

Note the green color on the bus indicating that it is green.

Metro trains are another excellent option. 80% of the metro runs through the tunnel. They are white in color.

m-train1.jpg

Here is the interior:

Metro.jpg

Frequency of these transportation system are unmatchable, round the clock. you will never feel it difficult to find a bus or train, because of the frequency and self explanatory guide lines and information displays.

When we have plenty of time to spare, we can try water buses too which is a scenic experience. There are 2 types of water buses. The latest and powerful one shown below:

Wbus1.jpg

and the old open top (though the top is not open) models:

wBus2.jpg

I have water bus stop just outside my office's back side where the old model is doing service.

Apart from these options, there regional trains of different types offering service to different islands and different countries. Those are of totally different types.

Back to work now, I will continue this thread later. feel free to ask if you have any doubts.

PS: rates mentioned above are using direct conversion.
 
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Wow Shynish nice pictures.[;)]
I am thinking why the vehicles in India can be sparkling new, After years of Usage.
The volvo we see in bangalore is really not maintained well.
So you are environment friendly.
We should learn from you,the way you care for nature.
 
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The volvo we see in bangalore is really not maintained well.
Not only VOLVO, we Indians are generally bad in maintaining public properties. I will not say that Europe is the perfect place. But, I should admit that I have learned a lot from here regarding giving back to the society.

I have always wondered why the state Govt.s can utilze the idle time in the railway tracks. Almost all tracks are electrified now. When even the trains are not running, state govt can lease the time frame and run their on intercity trains. We have VOLVO buses in Cochin and Trivandrum now. Don't know who is going to manage it!
 
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Highly educative and informative thread. Even in Singapore, the public transportation is excellent and owning a car means getting a certificate of entitlement in auction, which is a costly affair.
 
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200% road tax!! And I thought Singapore had the highest road tax. Excellent write up, Shyn, I have really learnt a lot from you today. I too had an 18 gear Mountain bike, and would ride on it to school. This was for one year. Now, I commute by car. How I wish India too had trains like in Cop. BTW, which is the most popular car in Cop?
 
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200% road tax!! And I thought Singapore had the highest road tax. Excellent write up, Shyn, I have really learnt a lot from you today. I too had an 18 gear Mountain bike, and would ride on it to school. This was for one year. Now, I commute by car. How I wish India too had trains like in Cop. BTW, which is the most popular car in Cop?

Thanks buddy! Denmark is at the top when it comes to TAX. Income TAX is the biggest blow. Is starts from 40% and goes up to 72% [frustration] higher the salary, higher is the tax. This brings almost the same living standard for the entire society. I have some reduction in tax as I am consultant on deputation. But I won't complain about the higher tax here as you can see that Govt. is giving back to the country that much. For example:

  1. Complete medical care free of cost, except special eye care, Dental care, plastic surgery etc.
  2. Everything (including the exception above are free if under 18.
  3. Senior citizens are completely taken care by the govt. Govt. will give a small apartment for those who are old and has no house to live. In the allotted apartment, they can live till they die unless they opt otherwise. I don't have to mention that the medical care including walking sticks, hearing aids, Electric Mobility Scooter for Old People etc. A nurse and a care taker will visit you 2 times a day when you are alone and can not manage stuffs your own. All apartments and each room is equipped with emergency button. These people have to pay the rent for the apartment. For that Govt. will a monthly salary from which they have to pay the rent and remaining amount can be used for personal expenses (gov.t will not cut the rent form the allowance, you have to pay it!)
  4. Financial support for citizens for yearly vacation
  5. Monthly Financial support youngster who has no job
  6. Free education till high schools for all, and free higher education for Danish nationals.
  7. All kids will get a monthly allowance according to their age, to meet the expense towards milk, egg and baby napkins; irrespective of the financial status of parents.
And many more.....

One of my colleague (he was just 25) had a heart attach here he was treated here in the hospital. Two angioplasty were done to him with 15 days of hospitalization , completely free of cost. I was hospitalized here for some reason and was almost sinking. I had to undergo 3 keyhole surgeries and finally got discharged after 22 days of hospitalization; completely free of cost. however I received a bill for my records and it was more than 9 lakhs INR. So I will never complain for the higher tax here [;)] Now you all know the reason why Denmark is termed as the Worlds Happiest country to live despite having all these higher taxes, right?


This is what the way it should we. I really hope that our politicians who are screaming about socialism and other rights should learn from the politicians here. Hey, forgot to tell you, Danish prime minister uses a bike to go to his office (inside the compound though) ! I will post more goodies later and will point out the things which are not that good too..


Regarding those trains: You know, those trains are not that costly and is every FE (electric) and durable product. Even state govt. can afford to buy couple of such trains. However, I don't think they will ever do it because it is German made and they can not expect a big commission out of that deal!


Coming to your question - popular car: It is really tough for me to say the most selling car in Denmark because I have seen almost all brands and models here. But I feel the first preferred option is VW, especially Polo and Golf. The FIAT with its Grande Punto. Suzuki and FIAT are preferred official vehicles here Where as Hyundai and KIA hit maker here. 90% of the Police vehicles are Ford and rest belongs to Benz. Almost all taxis are Benz. I will just list out the cars I mostly see (classify it as very common) on the road:


  1. Benz - E-Series is most common but other models are not rare.
  2. BMW
  3. Audi
  4. VOLVO
  5. VW- Polo, Golf and almost all other models
  6. Ford - Just tell the model, you will find one juts by looking out of the window.!
  7. FIAT - 500, Grande Punto, Stylo and other MPV models
  8. Peugeot - Almost all models!
  9. Citroen - Almost all models
  10. Renault - Almost all models
  11. Suzuki - Alto, Splash, Swift, Grand Vitara, Jimny
  12. Hyundai - Santro, i10, i20, i30, Sonata
  13. Toyota - Aygo, Avensis, Corolla and all other SUV models
  14. KIA - all latest models
  15. SEAT - Only 2 of the models are common.
  16. Nissan - I have seen almost all models here. But Micra and couple of hatches are the mostly seen ones.
  17. Chevy for sure!
  18. SAAB - Limited market due to the higher cost
apart from these, other brands like Porsche, Lamborghini, Ferrari, GMC, Chrysler, JEEP, top end models from AUDI, SAAB, VOLVO etc.. are not that rare. You will find at least one of each brand before reaching home! Despite the higher tax, people are crazy about owning a car. They find it as the essential stuff for FRI & SAT outing.
 
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Great thread Shynish. Thats useful information up there. Its very heartening to hear that the tax we pay is being for our well-being. Denmark is surely one eco-friendly place.
 
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I plan to migrate to Denmark for a short period before I join the IAF & then ICS.
I just read out your write up to my mother and granny, and they are overjoyed. My Gramma is singing out praises.
An Excellent write up. When you are back in India, send it as a newspaper article.
 
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