Unlocking Word Meanings
Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article.
- clearance / ˈklɪər əns / (n.) – official permission that allows someone to do something
You need medical clearance from your doctor before you can go back to work.
- draw up (something) / drɔ ʌp / (phrasal v.) – to prepare and write something such as a plan or a list
The school is going to draw up new policies for the upcoming school year.
- cushion / ˈkʊʃ ən / (v.) – to reduce or soften the impact of a bad situation or event
The financial assistance cushioned the blow of unemployment for many families.
- wave through / weɪv θru / (phrasal v.) – to approve something immediately
We’ll have a salary increase soon if our boss waves through our proposal.
- strong nerves / strɔŋ nɜrvs / (idiom) – the ability or courage to face a challenging or difficult situation
You’ll need strong nerves to do bungee jumping.
Read the text below.
Germany’s parliament gave final clearance Friday, May 20, to a plan that will allow people to use local transport across the country for just 9 euros ($9.50) per month this summer, a plan that has drawn praise but also plenty of criticism. The government also plans a three-month cut in fuel taxes.
Parliament’s upper house, which represents the country’s 16 state governments, signed off on the 9-euro ticket plan — part of a bigger package of measures drawn up to cushion the blow of high energy prices for consumers following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
The cut-price tickets, valid on regional trains and buses across Germany, will be available in June, July and August. Federal and state governments bickered over the funding, and it wasn’t clear until Friday whether states would wave through a 2.5 billion-euro subsidy from Berlin that some of them said was inadequate.
Government officials hope that, in addition to reducing costs for frequent travelers, the tickets will lure more people onto climate-friendlier public transport. But a railway workers’ union and others have voiced concern that it will lead to overcrowded trains, causing delays and frustration.
“A lot of people who so far had less interest in public transport want to give public transport a chance in the next three months,” Transport Minister Volker Wissing told the upper house. He acknowledged that the plan is likely to lead to full trains and buses in some areas on some days, and that will require “patience and in places strong nerves.”
The cut in fuel taxes will apply for the same three-month period, chopping nearly 30 euro cents off taxes on a liter of gasoline and over 14 cents on a liter of diesel.
Economists have warned that the fuel subsidy could reduce the likelihood of people switching to cleaner forms of transport.
This article was provided by The Associated Press.
Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.
- How would you describe daily commute in your country (ex. convenient, stressful)? What things would you like to improve in your country’s public transport system (ex. fare price, safety)? Discuss.
- What can regular commuters do to be able to save money on public transport (ex. use bicycles, do carpool)? Discuss.
- Economists have warned that the fuel subsidy could reduce the likelihood of people switching to cleaner forms of transport. In your opinion, how can people be encouraged to use cleaner forms of transportation (ex. provide discounts on electric cars)? Discuss.
- In your opinion, is public transportation in your country clean or environment-friendly? Why or why not? Discuss.