Locomore refers to the initiative as "crowd ticketing" - each backer of the crowdfunding campaign will effectively be purchasing a ticket which can be used flexibly without restriction when the service is launched. A price of €7 has been set for short-distance trips with a €13 medium-distance fare and €22 for long-distance journeys.

Locomore says it will use refurbished inter-city compartment coaches with free passenger Wi-Fi and power sockets. Trains will operate at up to 200km/h and the 6h 47min journey time will be "almost as fast as ICE and significantly faster than the bus."

Locomore says it will need to reach at least €450,000 and up to €1m to make the service a reality. The company has already raised €150,000 and expects to obtain a further €60,000 in loans. The funding threshold for the crowdfunding campaign is therefore set at €240,000 and the funding target is €780,000.

The aim of the project is to establish a co-operative arrangement with passengers where both sides benefit. If the service achieves load-factors of 75% or more a profit sharing arrangement will be activated with a 3% discount on tickets, rising to 7% if full capacity is reached.

If the crowdfunding campaign reaches its target, Locomore will launch a daily Stuttgart Main Station - Berlin Lichtenberg service on September 4 2016, with intermediate stops including Vaihingen, Heidelberg, Frankfurt Main Station, Kassel Wilhelmshohe, Hannover, Wolfsburg, and Berlin Main Station.

A five-year binding framework agreement for track access has already been agreed with infrastructure manager DB Networks. Locomore says it only faces "normal start-up costs" including advance lease payments for locomotives, preparation of ticket sales, hiring staff, and the modernisation of eight coaches.

In addition to the €150,000 in capital it already has available, Locomore anticipates it will need €100,000 to lease or acquire and refurbish eight coaches; €170,000 for start-up personnel and material costs; and €30,000 for operational preparation including recruitment and training of on-board personnel as well as operational testing. The remaining funds will be needed for IT systems, public relations, marketing, community management, and social media.

Locomore is 61.5%-owned by entrepreneur Mr Derek Ladewig, who was previously involved in the development of Hamburg-Cologne Express (HKX) open-access long-distance services, as well as other team members (16%) and silent partners (22.5%).

For more information on the crowdfunding campaign visit https://www.startnext.com/locomore


Locomore map