It is time to say goodbye to the 9 Euro Ticket. On September 1st, 2022, train ticket prices will bounce back to their usual levels. How can trips within Germany still be sort of affordable?
Berlin, August 22nd, 2022 (The Berlin Spectator) — The fact that Germany is a nice country is not a secret. Tourism is big. So is the number of people who intend to visit loved ones, relatives or friends in Aachen, Berlin, Chemnitz, Dortmund, Erfurt, Frankfurt, Goslar, Hameln, Ingolstadt, Jena, Karlsruhe, Leipzig, Munich, Nuremberg, Oberammergau, Passau, Quedlinburg, Regensburg, Stuttgart, Talheim, Usingen, Volkach, Wachenheim, Xanten or Zirndorf? What letter did we miss? The Y.
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Now that the 9 Euro Ticket is about to dissolve, so to speak, it is time to think about alternatives. Let’s plan an imaginary trip von Berlin to Frankfurt am Main. Let’s say we want to tavel on September 21st (in order to remember the 21st night of September, as it says in that Earth, Wind & Fire song) and return on September 30th. So, we have a distance of 550 kilometers (342 miles). These are the options:
- Walking: This would take about 110 hours, resting not included. Let’s say we would need two weeks only to get there. The price is 0.00 Euro. This option is cheaper than the 9 Euro Ticket.
- Going by bicycle: This requires 30 hours of pure riding. Trained cyclists may be able to do it in seven days. The price is 0.00 Euro, unless we count those hotel rooms we need every 50 kilometers.
- By car: Let’s say we have a Diesel that consumes 7 liters per 100 kilometers, and let’s be optimistic about the price of Diesel at the pump. It will skyrocket as well once the government’s fuel rebate expires on September 1st. At a liter price of 2.00 Euro, the amount we would have to spend would be 144.00 Euro (144.53 U.S. Dollars or 122.18 Pounds Sterling).
- By Deutsche Bahn: I picked trains that go directly. The trip takes 4:41 hours per way and the total price is 204.90 Euro (205,66 Dollars or 173.85 Pounds) for specific trains. Travelers who want to be more flexible in regard to the trains they can choose pay even more. Bahncard holders pay less. Deutsche Bahn does have special offers. The sooner people purchase their tickets the better the chances they will find one online. (Deutsche Bahn’s website is accessible here.)
- By FlixBus: This is a private company that offers coach trips to almost all cities in Germany. The price is 11.99 Euro per way or 23.98 Euro (24.07 Dollars or 20.35 Pounds) in total. It takes 8 to 9 hours per way. (FlixBus and FlixTrain tickets can be purchased here.)
- By FlixTrain: Yes, they have trains on a growing number of routes. Here, the price per way is 24.99 Euro, or 48.98 Euro (49.16 Dollars or 41.56 Pounds) in total, but the duration of the trip is only 4:09 hours. (FlixBus and FlixTrain tickets can be purchased here.)
- By plane: Here, we hit an interesting offer with Lufthansa. The price is 145.38 Euro (145.92 Dollars or 123.35) for both ways, and it takes 1:10 hours per way, meaning you’ll be there once you consumed your coffee. (Lufthansa’s website is reachable here.)
Obviously, everything, except for walking or going by bike, is far more expensive than the 9 Euro ticket. Until August 30th, it lets its holders use as many regional trains as they want and public transport in all of Germany for an entire month. Together with the fuel rebate, it was supposed to reimburse Germans and residents of other nationalities for the extremely high energy prices. The disappearance of the 9 Euro Ticket is regrettable.
Looking at the options we found for the imaginary trip, those Flix options do not sound so bad. Sure, those of us who feel like waiting at the airport for hours, and increasing their CO2 footprint, flights sound like a good option.
This past weekend, Chancellor Olaf Scholz said the 9 Euro Ticket had been “one of the best idees we have had”. He announced Transport Minister Volker Wissing would look into ways to improve public transport ticket offers. But Finance Minister Christian Lindner told ARD television Germany could not afford a successor for the 9 Euro Ticket. The 14 billion Euro (14.06 billion Dollars or 11.89 billion Pounds) it would cost were needed for education and the the improvement of the country’s rail network.