The government in Berlin is spending 5 billion Euro for two measures that are supposed to help people, namely the 9 Euro Ticket and a gasoline rebate. Critics say this is a high price for steps that apply for three months only. Are they right?
Berlin, June 2nd, 2022 (The Berlin Spectator) — The measures the federal government took are working. At the pump, people have been noticing falling gasoline and Diesel prices since yesterday. In some cases, they paid a bit less than 2 Euro (2.13 U.S. Dollars or 1.71 Pounds Sterling) per liter. Sure, motorists still have to pile up far too much cash to fill up their fuel tanks. But they do notice the difference.
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Out the Window
At the same time, the 9 Euro Ticket has created a frenzy. More than 7 million of them have been sold already, many more are being purchased as we speak. Moving around by car is far more expensive, in spite of the slightly decreased gasoline prices. The same applies to regular tickets, which still have to be purchased for bullet trains. Not using the 9 Euro Ticket equals throwing money out the window.
Both the artificial price reduction for fuel and the 9 Euro Ticket are presents for the Germans, residents of other nationalities and tourists. Both measures are limited to three months, until August 31st, 2022. And both of them do cost the state, and the tax payer, a whole lot of money. As much as 2.5 billion Euro (2.66 billion Dollars or 2.14 billion Pounds) are being paid to the federal states, as a reimbursement for income state-owned public transport companies will lose because of the 9 Euro Ticket.
Drop in the Bucket
This amount should be doubled because the gasoline measure will cost at least 2.5 billion Euro as well, meaning the total price for the cheap public transport ticket and the fuel rebate is 5 billion Euro (5.33 billion Dollars or 4.27 billion Pounds). Of course, there is criticism by those who say the measures were not more a drop in the bucket, considering the huge costs for something that lasts for three months only.
Some say the money should have been used for direct help for citizens who cannot cover natural gas and electricity bills anymore. Others state making public transport more attractive, including in rural areas, would have made a lot more sense than blowing out 5 billion Euro for three months. Sure, 30 million Germans and residents with other citizenships, as well as visitors, will purchase the 9 Euro Ticket, and billions of liters of gasoline and Diesel will be bought with the government’s rebate. But what is supposed to happen in September?
Frustration might be inevitable here. First of all, passengers on regional trains will probably be squeezed like oranges for the next three months. Secondly, the enthusiasm about those rebates will evaporate on September 1st, 2022, all of a sudden. And the vacuum this process creates will most likely be filled with disappointment, unless the Russian war of aggression in Ukraine suddenly ends and the prices move in the right direction on their own very soon, but this is an unlikely scenario.
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On the other hand, people may have needed some kind of break after two years of Corona, months of fears that are connected to Moscow’s war, and skyrocketing energy prices. At the same time, Germany needs to reach its climate goals. The implication is that more people should downsize their CO2 footprint by using the public transport more. This probably means that everyone is right: The 9 Euro Ticket and the Fuel rebate are good ideas as long as they are only the beginning of a longer list of measures that will both help people who are affected by three major crises and decrease the air pollution.