It’s unlikely we will get a cheap transport option in September, as Federal Transport Minister Volker Wissing has said that any new ticket would be available at the earliest at the end of the year or at the beginning of 2023.
So what are the alternatives being discussed?
Two more months?
The local transport industry is campaigning for the €9 ticket to be extended by two more months. Managing Director of the Association of German Transport Companies, Oliver Wolff, said “We need a successor solution quickly. It would be best to extend the campaign by another two months as a temporary solution.”
The railway unions saw this as unfeasible. “The €9 ticket cannot be continued like this,” said the Vice Chairman of the EVG union, Martin Burkert. “The workforce has reached the load limit and in some cases exceeded it.”
Always a little embarrassed by the success of their little brother Austria, SPD politicians have been calling for a €365 ticket ever since Vienna managed it in 2012. These calls suddenly got much louder in recent months and Berlin Mayor Franziska Giffey is now giving it full throated support.
29€ and 49€ options
The Greens are proposing two cheap tickets in a joint paper: a regional ticket for €29 per month and a Germany ticket for €49 per month. Initial evaluations suggested that people had actually switched from cars to buses and trains, so there were also positive effects for the climate.
According to the paper, the €29 ticket they proposed should be aimed at commuters. The ticket gives “real incentives” for switching to bus and train and is particularly suitable for people with a small budget.
Berlin’s Mayor Franziska Giffey agreed saying “We see that this relief instrument has been well received by the population. Based on these empirical values, which we see everywhere, I think that we need a follow up to the €9 ticket.”
Giffey even named her price: “I am in favour of enabling mobility for no more than one euro a day. That will bring real [inflation] relief.”
The Association of German Transport Companies (VDV) has come out in favour of a permanent €69 ticket as a potential successor. Given their recent market research, the VDV has decided that there are enough Germans willing to pay €69 per month for a Klimaticket and forgo driving.
But the federal government’s railway commissioner, Michael Theurer, is sceptical about a €69 variant as a successor to the 9-euro monthly ticket for local transport. “The €69 ticket, in turn, could mean that network tickets in certain transport associations such as Berlin become more expensive. That would also make little sense,” said the FDP politician.
Greens Party parliamentary group co-chair Katharina Dröge described the ticket as “a real hit and a complete success,” hence the €29/49 per month option. The Greens want to finance the tickets by dismantling the company car privilege (currently, company cars and all costs associated with them are tax write-offs).
The SPD have called for suggestions for a follow up and SPD parliamentary group deputy Detlef Müller called for a special conference in August to discuss the possible successor models. Further steps in the urgently needed expansion of services will then be discussed at the regular conference of transport ministers in October.
The FDP promised a follow-up evaluation in November from Federal Transport Minister Volker Wissing (FDP). “If the complicated tariff zones disappear and the tickets are valid nationwide, local public transport will be used much more.”
Party boss Christian Lindner has been clear that the €9 ticket and petrol discount were temporary measures that won’t become permanent. “The fuel discount and 9-euro ticket are expiring. There will be no follow-up legislation.”