Berlin (dpa) – Local public transport across Germany has probably never been so cheap: with special € 9 monthly tickets, millions of people should be able to board buses and trains anywhere in the republic in June, July and August.
Thanks to a special campaign, the traffic light coalition also wants to relieve non-drivers of high energy costs. At the same time, there is a general incentive to use more local transport, said Chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD). It will be a major operation for the transport company to deal with the expected rush in such a way that the charm offensive does not lead to frustration. Bundestag wants to decide on financing on Thursday evening.
From when should a 9 euro ticket be valid?
The ticket should be valid from June 1 – and then in June, July and August for the calendar month. Shifting four-week periods, for example from mid-July to mid-August, are not possible. The price is EUR 9 per month.
Holders can use it to travel across the country on all buses, trams, metro, commuter trains, and local and regional trains – whether operated by Deutsche Bahn or other suppliers. ICE, Intercity and Eurocity long distance transport, Flix green trains and long distance buses cannot be used. In addition, the ticket is only valid for the 2nd class.
Where can you buy a ticket?
For things to start, the funding law still has to be passed: this Thursday in the Bundestag and finally on Friday in the Bundesrat. Among other things, the federal government wants to transfer 2.5 billion euros to the states to compensate for the loss of income due to the ticket.
Once the political course is set, things should happen quickly. The train and many transport associations have already announced that they will start selling on Monday. The ticket should be available at vending machines, ticket offices or online at the shipping company. The industry is also planning a joint online sales platform.
Not everyone is waiting. In Stuttgart and Freiburg, tickets for 9 euros have been available for several days – thousands of customers have already bought them.
What are the conditions?
The ticket costs a flat rate of EUR 9 for any number of journeys in a calendar month. According to Deutsche Bahn, tickets should also be available for all three months at the same time. There is a Bahncard discount of 9 euros.
If you already have a monthly or yearly subscription, the three-month subscription should only be € 9. Subscribers receive a message from their supplier or transport association about what the settlement looks like: reduction in direct debit or refund of the difference. Such rules should also apply to semester tickets or work tickets.
Can you take your bike with you for free?
If an existing subscription provides this: yes – but only in the relevant subscription area as explained by the Federal Ministry of Transport. Otherwise, a bicycle ticket must be booked. Just in case, the train sent out a warning that taking the bikes was not guaranteed as the trains were supposed to be full. Better to avoid it on holidays.
Can you reserve seats?
no Booking options are normally only available for long distance transport. However, the 9 euro ticket is valid for local transport.
Are buses and trains overcrowded?
Public transport was not yet a niche offer. Last year alone, more than three million passengers traveled on the state line on nearly 22,000 regional trains. In the mornings and evenings during rush hours, many lines in the metropolises are quite crowded – regional trains to the countryside are generally full on summer weekends. Cheap tickets now fall during the holiday season, when schoolchildren and commuters sometimes do not travel at all. Some people could use the ticket for trips and vacation trips.
How big will this rush be?
Nobody knows for sure. According to the Association of German Transport Companies (VDV), you can expect around 30 million users of a 9-euro ticket per month. But these are only estimates. Politicians and industry are hoping that this spectacular campaign will now make many people wonder when and how buses and trains actually run in the area.
It is also uncertain how the simultaneous financial relief at service stations will affect the readiness of drivers to change. Because also from June 1 to August 31, in accordance with the coalition’s plans, the energy tax is to be reduced to the minimum level specified in EU law. The tax rate on gasoline is to be cut by nearly 30 cents, and on diesel by 14 cents.
Will there be more or longer trains from June 1?
The industry wants to put up everything that rolls on rails and roads. It is not possible to order additional vehicles and drivers on a large scale in one fell swoop for a limited period of three months. The reserves are to be released, “but they are not available on a large scale,” explained the association of transport companies. According to the works council, the railway is putting into operation 40 to 50 additional double-decker coaches and little else. More effort is likely to be involved, for example in cleaning and servicing.
Why is the ticket not free immediately?
This proposal was actually made by the Länder. Simply going without tickets – and thus also checks – would significantly reduce the effort, that is one of the arguments. One of the reasons why a small sum of money is now being asked is also to move beyond the end of the campaign. The use of paying customers could be better analyzed. Surveys are planned. Who uses buses and trains on which routes, when it is much cheaper? This is an exciting question for transport companies and politicians – even if it is unlikely to stay at EUR 9 per month.