Adidas has devised of an ingenious solution for Berlin commuters to get around the pain of forgetting travel tickets, with a pass that comes in the form of an item many leave their homes wearing: trainers. On sale from tomorrow, the latest product from the German shoe manufacturer comes combined with nearly a year’s free travel until the end of 2018 on Berlin’s main public transport company, Berliner Verkehrsbetriebe (BVG).
Berlin through and through, panels on the fully-connected EQT Support 93/Berlin trainer feature the distinctive seat design from the German capital’s trains in celebration of BVG's 90th anniversary. It’s progress of a kind – travel on much of the world’s public transport systems has for some time now been possible using phones, watches and even implants; BVG and Adidas’s smart idea is (to the knowledge of SmartRail World) the first time trainers have taken the place of paper tickets.
Those wishing to get their hands on the snazzy sneakers will have to get their skates trainers on though; only 500 of the limited-edition shoes will be made available at the knock-down price of £160 (€180) – around 440% less than the price of an annual pass on the network.
Berlin’s train conductors may wish that plans for the trainer-ticket hadn't seen the light of day, owing to the obvious difficulty that they face to check the validity of the ticket…and the proximity it will bring them to passengers’ feet.
Using the same ratio as Berlin, if Transport for London plans to introduce trainer-tickets on its network then customers should expect to part with around £450 for their annual (zone 1-4) ticket, which at time of writing cost just short of £2,000. Presumably that would also bring with it the installation of floor-level ticket readers to open the barriers.