After the 9-euro ticket, there is now a Deutschlandticket for buses and trains in local and regional transport. At the start – as early as possible in the coming year – it should cost 49 euros a month. With an agreement on financial issues, the federal and state governments cleared the way on Wednesday. The ticket aims to make local public transport more attractive. In other words, commuters in particular should switch from cars to buses and trains. This should also help to achieve climate goals. “Never before has it been so easy for people in our country to use buses and trains,” said Federal Transport Minister Volker Wissing.
In June, July and August, the 9-euro tickets enabled travel on buses and trains throughout Germany for one month. According to industry information, around 52 million were sold. Politicians and the transport industry rated this as a great success – also because the ticket was valid nationwide. So far there are many tariff zones and different offers.
Wissing made it clear that such an “extremely cheap tariff” could not be financed in the long term. Various price models were then discussed. In mid-October, the federal and state transport ministers agreed in principle on a 49-euro ticket as the successor to the 9-euro ticket.
There is now also an agreement on the financial issues. The federal government is permanently increasing regionalization funds, which the federal states use to order train and bus connections from the transport companies. The federal states had made this a condition that they co-finance the 49-euro ticket. The new ticket costs three billion euros. The federal and state governments each finance half of it. The federal and state governments want to talk about the further development of the regionalization funds and the Germany ticket for the period from 2025 at the end of 2024.
The digital Deutschlandticket, which is valid nationwide, is available for an introductory price of 49 euros per month in a monthly cancellable subscription. Whether it will also be available in paper format from vending machines remains to be seen. The decision is made by the federal states and transport associations.
The ticket could become more expensive over time. According to the transport minister’s plans, “dynamisation” in the form of automatic inflation compensation is planned from the second year.
North Rhine-Westphalia’s Prime Minister Hendrik Wüst said: “The price will rise.” It should be avoided that existing services have to be canceled and lines thinned out because of rising costs. “The best ticket doesn’t help in the end if the bus doesn’t come anymore.”§
Saxony’s Prime Minister Michael Kretschmer said that the regionalization funds promised by the federal government were not sufficient. “On the other hand, the federal government wants to create a new offer with the 49-euro ticket.” In public transport, enormous cost increases, for example for energy, meant that the money was not enough. Routes would be thinned out or shut down.
“As soon as possible” – that’s what the decision paper from the federal and state governments says. Wissing said the goal is to start at the turn of the year. Preparatory work had been done, but questions still had to be answered.
It seems open whether an introduction in January will work. The Association of German Transport Companies (VDV) said that a start on January 1st would be desirable: “We are doing everything we can.” But this is becoming increasingly unrealistic. An introduction at the end of the first quarter of 2023 is more likely. The federal states would also have to bring about the resolutions in the parliaments. State ministers also referred to this. In addition, many other questions remain unanswered, argues the VDV. It is not a monthly 9-euro ticket, but a subscription. This is more complex.
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The chairwoman of the board of the social association Germany, Michaela Engelmeier, praised the agreement. “Nevertheless, we stick to the fact that not everyone can afford 49 euros. That is why we continue to demand a 365 euro ticket.”
There could be graduated prices in countries. After the 9-euro ticket, Berlin had decided on a 29-euro monthly ticket, which has been available as a subscription since October and is only valid in Berlin. The red-green-red Senate had agreed to initially extend it by three months until the end of March.
Other questions about the 49-euro ticket are also unanswered. The bicycle club ADFC demands that bicycles can be taken on local trains free of charge.
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