Berlin / Munich (dpa) – Relief for consumers, contribution to improving traffic, enhancing the image of buses and trains: expectations for a 9 euro ticket in local public transport (ÖPNV) are enormous.
Just over two months after the introduction of the nationwide ticket, Federal Transport Minister Volker Wissing (FDP) is already evaluating the project as a success. The scientific evaluation is still ongoing. And preliminary findings indicate that the special ticket has an impact, but can hardly fulfill all hopes and goals.
“In fact, the data is still very sparse,” says Philipp Kosok, a movement researcher in the Agora Verkehrswende interest group. “We know very little so far.” He knows little more than a few studies that meet scientific standards.
Research confirms the ticket’s success in terms of its own marketing. “Almost 98 percent of those polled know the 9-euro ticket, two-thirds even know it well,” said the Association of German Transport Companies in July. Every week, it conducts a survey of around 6,000 consumers, asking many specific questions specifically aimed at ticket users. Only in June, more than 30 million people had a ticket – including subscribers who did not have to buy a ticket for EUR 9 separately.
Travelers and bus and train workers are also experiencing high demand. “The ticket leads to greater use of public transport, but above all selective use on some routes – even to the point where traffic collapses there,” says Christian Böttger, rail expert at the University of Applied Sciences Berlin (HTW). An assessment of mobile data by the Federal Statistical Office revealed in early July: “In June 2022, rail traffic across the country was on average 42%. higher than in June 2019 ”.
Additional trips instead of substitute trips
The problem: About a quarter of journeys on public transport would not have been made without a ticket, said VDV. Therefore, these are additional journeys, and not substitute journeys that would otherwise be carried out by car. “From previous studies, only a small shift from road traffic to public transport of at most two to three percent can be identified,” says researcher HTW Böttger.
This coincides with the first results of a study from the greater Munich area, which, among other things, evaluates the movement data of hundreds of participants. She concluded that 35 percent. respondents traveled more often by bus and train – but only 3 percent. used its own vehicle less often. However, scientists discovered a certain damping effect on traffic in Munich. Instead of rising slightly in June – as usual – it fell by three percent. An analysis by the TomTom traffic data specialist for the German Press Agency also showed a reduction in traffic congestion in large German cities in the first phase of the 9 euro ticket.
A radical change in everyday behavior was not to be expected, said Klaus Bogenberger, head of the Munich study of the Technical University of Munich, when the results were presented in July. Draws a positive interim conclusion. “An important result is that many of them have integrated public transport into their daily lives.”
However, the Munich study examines an area with a relatively dense public transport network. And the results from the University of Kassel show that it can make a big difference. The larger the cities in which the participants of the study live, the higher the percentage of those who said they bought it.
Price and simplicity as selling points
Researchers led by Jan Christian Schlueter from TU Dresden focused primarily on purchasing decisions and price sensitivity in the event of any further offers. The most important arguments for using the 9 euro ticket were the price and the simplicity of the offer. Many people would also indicate that they want to try public transport. Here it will be exciting to see if users buy a ticket a second time, he said.
Many people can also imagine higher prices for another offer, according to a study in Dresden. Most people exchanged values between € 60 and € 90.
However, from the researchers’ point of view, the price of a public transport ticket does not determine the long-term success of a traffic change. “If we really care about the stable development of public transport, then first of all we need to increase the capacity accordingly,” says HTW expert Böttger. “We saw that the system is really broken.”
Böttger assumes that the investment backlog will amount to around 150 billion euros in new construction and expansion of rail transport itself – including the inflation of construction costs in recent years. “The government is far, far from making these investments available.”