Recently, Germany’s federal government and the country’s federal states agreed on offering a 49 Euro Ticket. Weeks later, there are more open questions than there should be.
Update November 30th, 2022, 05:55 a.m. CET: Transport Minister Volker Wissing and his colleagues from the federal states agree to introduce the ‘Germany Ticket’ by April 1st, 2023, but the funding issue has not been resolved.
Berlin, November 29th, 2022 (The Berlin Spectator) — Some three weeks ago, Chancellor Olaf Scholz and the heads of government from the capitals of Germany’s federal states struck an agreement. The successor of the 9 Euro Ticket will cost more than five times more. It is supposed to be offered as the Germany Ticket and cover all public transport all over the country as well as regional trains.
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January or May
Transport Minister Volker Wissing wanted the Germany Ticket to be available and valid from January 1st, 2023, even though some states said more time would be needed to prepare. They turned out to be right. So, March or April were targeted. Apparently, it might take even longer because of issues that keep on popping up.
According to some German-language media, the 49 Euro Ticket or Germany Ticket could be offered from May 1st, 2023. The main reason for the delay is the money. According to the deal, the federal government will pay 1.5 billion Euro (1.56 billion U.S. Dollars or 1.3 billion Pounds Sterling) for the Ticket, while the states cover the same amount. They agreed because Scholz promised to come up with an additional 1 billion Euro (1.04 billion Dollars or 0.87 billion Pounds) per year for the public transport in this country.
Hard to Predict
Now, the transport providers warn that this huge pile of money might not suffice. They say, the revenue losses caused by the Germany Ticket could be higher than anticipated. At this stage, predicting the actual costs was impossible, also because of the energy crises. Critics of the agreement say there needed to be more funds. Otherwise, less trains, buses and trams could be in service soon.
There are several factors that are hard to predict. People will purchase less single-use tickets once there is a cheap alternative. Public transport subscribers with regular monthly tickets will likely switch over to the Germany Ticket once it is available and pay about 50 percent less. Once they do, they can always cancel it at the end of any month, while regular subscribers cannot get out of their contracts until one year after signing it. This aspect could cost public transport providers a lot of money as well.
49 vs. 29 Euro
Now, the transport providers want guarantees from the federal government. If the losses turn out to be higher than expected, they want to be reimbursed. Will the ‘traffic light coalition’ in Berlin agree, in spite of the fact that there already is an agreement? A new and possibly lengthy argument could delay the 49 Euro Ticket even further.
One of Germany’s sixteen federal states, Berlin, foresaw this development. It introduced at 29 Euro Subscription for its public transport. Governing Mayor Franziska Giffey insisted. Her city state even prolonged its offer until March. Initially, it was supposed to expire at the end of this year. Berlin might have to prolong it again, as long as arguments and other issues prevent Germany’s public transport providers from offering the 49 Euro Ticket. The 29 Euro Subscription is valid in Berlin only.