As of 07/31/2022 04:02
The 9 euro ticket has been around for a good two months. What are the experiences? Will there be something similar in the future – and how much will it cost? The most important questions and answers.
Is a supplementary ticket politically desirable?
In the coalition, the Greens are pushing for a connection ticket as soon as possible. The ticket is an “inspiration” that should not be broken now, says Stefan Gelbhaar, a traffic expert on the Green parliamentary group. “We can find a temporary solution in the fall.” This gives you time to analyze carefully what a standing offer might look like.
But for this, the Federal Ministry of Transport and the Länder would have to agree – and as soon as possible. Volker Wissing (FDP) has repeatedly labeled the ticket a “success”, but blocks it on the key issue of funding. Wissing refers to the Länder. Länder, on the other hand, are overwhelmingly interested in regulating, but see the federal government on the train needing to increase its funding.
“They all belong to one table,” says Philipp Kosok of the Agora Verkehrswende think tank. “The Minister of Transport should not lose weight, and neither should the Länder.” Thus, the ticket is popular in politics, also to absorb the costs of inflation for citizens, but for the time being hardly anyone wants to finance it further. The Ministry of Transport now wants to wait for tests that will show exactly how the ticket will change everyday traffic.
What effect has the ticket had so far?
In the beginning, the 9 euro ticket was primarily a socio-political instrument: a gift to citizens, of course from tax money, in expensive times. Now the hope is that it will also have an environmental impact – that’s the only way to justify billions in subsidies.
But the first analyzes are sobering: “We have a very little displacement effect,” says Christian Böttger, professor of transport at the University of Applied Sciences Berlin. “So the idea of people switching cars doesn’t seem to work.” This was shown by the first data from a mobile phone that can be used to evaluate routes. Instead, customers who already use public transport will now use it even more. “This is how they bring the system to the brink of collapse,” says Böttger.
In his survey, Dresden-based mobility researcher Jan Schlueter also came up with a manageable number of people changing: 7% of drivers would now use public transport. But he sees it more positively: “Seven percent is a huge number because it’s only for a limited time. How many people just change their habits? “
How much can a permanent ticket cost?
Even if there are requests for it now – hardly anyone believes that a permanent ticket is available for nine euros. “It was a great opportunity for three months,” says Stefan Gelbhaar from Zielone. “But everyone knows that mobility costs money. People are ready to spend them. The fact that it does not have to be super cheap is also evidenced by the data from the first studies.
Depending on where they live, people are willing to pay significantly more: in cities, the pain threshold for respondents is currently around € 60, says Jan Schlueter from TU Dresden. “In rural areas it will cost € 100 or even more.” The Association of German Transport Companies offered a ticket for 69 euros. But even this price would mean that subsidies of two billion euros a year would be needed. At least because energy, material and personnel costs are also rising here.
It is also debated whether in the medium term there may not be one ticket for all, but rather socially graded prices. For example, the Greens can imagine it. But everyone also says: The key is simplicity. Duty-small-small would have a deterrent effect.
Where can the ticket be valid in the future?
The charm of the current ticket is its nationwide validity – as seen by science and politics: “People really like the fact that you can get along without having to worry about what ticket you need,” says Tim Alexandrin, spokesman for the Federal Foreign Office. Transport.
The nationwide ticket is the most attractive – says Jan Schlueter, referring to the ongoing survey. According to polls, regional tickets would also be accepted: “All of Bavaria or all of North Rhine-Westphalia in one simple, inexpensive ticket – that is also considered attractive,” says Schlueter.
The Greens can also imagine regional tickets, as long as it is not too complicated: “It’s incredibly easy when there is a uniform price – we shouldn’t take it lightly,” says Stefan Gelbhaar.
Can transport companies do this at all?
Not at a low price. For Philipp Kosok from the Agora Verkehrswende think tank, this is the most important conclusion from the last two months. The 9 euro ticket showed that “in many places the railways are not able to handle the extra people at all”. This is not so visible in cities with tight timetables, but it is for example on many regional train routes.
The ticket led to a rare agreement in the otherwise hostile rail unions GDL and EVG: against the continuation. Infrastructure and staff are “completely overloaded,” warns GDL chief Claus Weselsky. After two months of cheap tickets, railroad workers are more likely to deterred new experiments. And against the wishes of the railway workers, a permanent solution is almost impossible.
Some scientists find it insurmountable: “Given the resistance, I cannot imagine a € 9 ticket being extended in this form,” says Christian Böttger. “So I think it will just be phased out.”
Is the connection ticket still possible from September?
Hardly. Transport companies said as early as mid-July that they needed an immediate signal to prepare. With federal and state governments shifting responsibility for funding for weeks, a quick deal seems unlikely. Goodbye to summer for € 9 could come in four weeks. Maybe next year there will be a – more expensive – congress.