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Berlin’s €29 – and future €49 ticket – explained!

Germany's €9 ticket was a huge success. Now comes Berlin's slightly disappointing sequel: a BVG ticket will cost €29 monthly from October.

By taking public transport with the €9 ticket, we prevented 1.8 million tonnes of CO2 emissions. Photo: IMAGO / Rolf Kremming

First it was €9, then they made it €29. It was going to cover Berlin and Brandenburg, then it wasn’t. It was only available as a three-month subscription, then you could get one- or two-month options. Exactly what Berlin’s incoming €29 ticket entails has changed quite a bit since it was first rumoured. So what exactly are we getting? 

Update 1.12 Delays, delays

So they promised us the €49 ticket would be ready 1.1.23. Shame on us for believing them really. Due to unforeseen extra preparations that are necessary to make the ‘Deutschland’ ticket a reality, we can expect to be riding trains around the country with our digital €49 tickets no later than 1.4.23.

Once again, we will believe it when we see it.

Update 10.11 WTF Berlin?

OK. So the rollout isn’t exactly going well…

Last Saturday, the BVG sent out a tweet which said that it is not worth going to a customer support centre to try and get a €29 ticket for November – none are available. Instead, tickets can be ordered for December, but only until November 20. After that date, they are worried you won’t get your physical ticket in time, and so you can only order for January. It’s pretty hard to understand, but basically, despite 22 days remaining in November, you cannot buy a ticket for this month. In fact you’ve got 10 days to buy a ticket which is only valid starting on December 1.

But there’s more. On 7.11, the sub-contracted ticket inspectors got the message that anyone carrying an email confirmation of their €29 ticket purchase (but who had not yet received a physical ticket) should be issued a €60 fine. And then, if you get a fine and want to dispute it in their online service area: it displays an error message saying that a “technical error” has occurred. All in all, pretty frustrating – but at least they sell those nicely patterned jackets!

Additionally, lots of people are saying that they have been charged way too much for their subscription, without any explanation as to why. It appears that customers are being charged for two or even three months at the same time, but it’s still unclear why. Keep up the good work BVG!

Update 3.11- IT’S OFFICIAL! THE €49 TICKET IS HAPPENING!

On Wednesday, the federal and state governments of Germany announced that it will soon be possible to buy a ‘Deutschland Ticket’, the €49 follow-up to the €9 ticket. Transport Minister Volker Wissing (FDP) said it would be ‘digital’ and ‘simple’, but we’ve heard that one before. They want to make it a subscription, but haven’t figured out how to do it yet. 

Currently the rollout is planned for January 1, 2023, but it’s unclear if preparations will be complete by then. Vending machines will have to be converted and tariff systems will have to be adjusted. Berlin’s mayor Franziska Giffey (SPD) threw shade and actually said what we were all thinking, stating: “We don’t assume that it will happen immediately from January.” Ouch.

Ticket troubles

Having trouble buying the monthly subscription online mid-month? You aren’t the only one.

Users couldn’t subscribe for November after October 20, if they tried to do so online. The BVG is aware of the issue, and their solution is to have you line up at a customer service desk.

Update 21.10- Are we getting a €49 ticket?

On October 13, state and federal transport ministers agreed on a €49 ticket, in principle.

Like the €9 ticket, the subscription/ticket will be valid for all public transport in Germany, but at €49 it will cost more than 5 times more than ticket we enjoyed this summer.

They plan to make it available as both a ticket or a subscription. It wont be available until January 1st, so theoretically, your €29 subscription will end, and then your €49 subscription/ticket will start at midnight. You should be able to buy it online, and there is talk of issuing physical, plastic tickets.

The federal government is prepared to spend €1.5 billion annually from 2023 to make such a ticket available, and the federal states seem to have agreed to contribute the same.

Even if the transport ministers are in favour, this is not yet a final decision. The introduction of a €49 ticket must first be discussed at the Prime Minister’s Conference, and the details need to be ironed out.

Update 07.10

If (like us) you’ve bought the €29, but you’ve not been sent a physical ticket – is it enough to show the confirmation email on your phone? We’ve not been checked yet – but it seems so:

Also, if you’re worried about getting charged the full amount in January after the €29 scheme ends, it seems you cancel your subscription well in advance.

This is according to reddit, but it seems to check out. On your account, go to your subscription overview and cancel it there. Here’s the proof, thanks to u/qwortz.

UPDATE 29.09

The ticket is available for purchase and well… it’s gone about as well as you thought it would.

Not only did an error mean that the €29 ticket briefly became the €0 ticket (see our news blog) – but the whole system is pretty confusing. When we bought our ticket, it seemed until the last moment that you would have to pay the whole year up front. And as you can see below, we’re not the only ones who got confused:

Well, we can’t say we are surprised. Best of luck out there Berliners! Hopefully the inspectors aren’t too rough.

What is included in the €29 ticket?

From October 1, Berliners have the option to buy a monthly subscription for €29. From October 1 you can buy an October-November ticket and then add on December later if you want to. The ‘ticket’ is actually a subscription and is valid in the Berlin AB area. 

What isn’t included?

The C zone is not included. This means you can’t get to Potsdam or BER airport with this ticket. See the BVG zone map here

Where can I buy it?

The €29 ticket is technically a subscription and NOT a ticket. This means you cannot get it at the ticket machines. You will need to sign up for it through the website or line up at the customer service booths. 

Importantly, the subscription does not end automatically on 31 December. This means you will have to cancel your subscription before January or you will be charged for the month of January at the normal rate. People are already annoyed about this and the BVG are working on a solution. 

We all loved the €9 ticket. Photo: IMAGO / IPON

What if I already have a subscription, what do I do?

You don’t need to do anything if your subscription is for the AB zone, you will only be charged €29. What happens if your subscription includes the C zone still isn’t clear. 

According to the BVG the compensation for those with an annual payment is expected to take place after the campaign period (sometime in January then, but this is Berlin Digitalisierung so don’t get your hopes up). The VBB still aren’t sure how they are going to handle it.

What was the trouble with Brandenburg?

Basically they didn’t think it was worth their money. The way they saw it, Berliners were getting way more bang for their buck and they didn’t want to pay to subsidise our travel (don’t forget, the €9 ticket was paid for by the federal government, this one is being paid for by Berlin). Berlin’s Transport Senator Bettina Jarasch (Greens) together with Die Linke pushed really hard to include our neighbours but was ultimately unsuccessful. 

What will change from next year?

As things stand,those with a subscription will be charged at the regular monthly rate come January. However, there is a lot of talk about coming up with a cheaper option, given how popular the €9 ticket was and we may have a new solution ticket come 2023. The federal government is currently discussing a €49 or €69 ticket that would be valid nationwide. 

Mayor Franziska Giffey and Transport Senator Bettina Jarasch. Photo: IMAGO / Reiner Zensen

What’s the long term plan for Berlin public transport? 

Berlin’s mayor Franziska Giffey is currently campaigning to ensure that Berliners can enjoy cheap local public transport in the near future. She told Radioeins on Sunday that “A €49 or €69 monthly ticket is of no use in Berlin. Our goal, also in the long term, is mobility and participation in local public transport for no more than €1 a day.” 

What about the ‘Social Ticket’?

The social ticket, which is a discount ticket available for means-tested individuals, costs €27.50. With the introduction of the €29 ticket that would be available to everyone, they would only be paying €1.50 less. Seems unfair not to give them a discount too, right? Currently there is no cheaper option available for them, but this is also being debated today, with Die Linke pushing for a €9 option. 

The €9 ticket was very popular this summer. Photo: IMAGO / Stefan Zeitz

There’s no such thing as a free lunch, what does this cost the taxpayer?

Berlin’s Senate has budgeted €105 million for the program, but as of publishing the exact value hasn’t been voted on and confirmed yet. 

What about the car-free day on Thursday 22 September?

Berlin is celebrating a car-free day for the third time this year. The BVG and the S-Bahn have agreed to run services for free in the AB area. From 15:00-19:00 there are several streets in each district that will be blocked off for street parties. See the full list here.