€9 ticket: Germany sees significant rise in rail journeys

Germany's heavily reduced public transport offer is helping to get people travelling by train more often, new research has found.

Travellers beside a regional train in Stralsund on June 3rd.
Travellers beside a regional train in Stralsund on June 3rd. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Stefan Sauer

Since the €9 monthly ticket was introduced, the volume of rail travel has increased significantly, according to an analysis by Germany’s Federal Statistical Office (Destatis).

In June when the offer first launched, the number of nationwide rail journeys taken was on average 42 percent higher than in the same month in the pre-pandemic year of 2019. In May, rail travel was only three percent higher than in May 2019. The data includes rail journeys lasting between 30 and 300 kilometres.

Around 21 million people bought the travel deal for June. 

READ ALSO: Less traffic, more ticket sales: How the €9 ticket is impacting Germany

Major uptick in journeys in first week of June

People in Germany took the train particularly frequently in the first week of June. The volume of journeys between 30 and 300 kilometres was 56 percent higher on average at this time compared to the same period in 2019.

Over the course of June, the gap to the pre-crisis level decreased again somewhat. Destatis said this was “possibly due to the congestion of trains on certain routes and the corresponding reporting on this”. 

Transport staff and customers reported overcrowded trains and platforms.

Researchers took the effect of public holidays in the first half of June into account by comparing them with the 2019 period.

Significant increase in shorter rail journeys

Experts said the effect of the €9 ticket on shorter rail journeys was particularly pronounced. 

“When differentiating the movements in rail transport according to distances travelled, it becomes clear that since the introduction of the €9 ticket, an increase in train journeys of less than 300 kilometres in particular was observed,” Destatis said. 

A transport user in Cologne holds the €9 ticket forJune

A transport user in Cologne holds the €9 ticket for June. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Oliver Berg

When the distances are further subdivided, train journeys on short routes (30 to 100 kilometres) were roughly at the pre-pandemic level in the last week of May – but in the first week of June they were 58 percent above it.

For medium distances (100 to 300 kilometres), there was an increase from 18 to 64 percent.

The €9 ticket can be used on many regional trains that cover distances of up to 300 kilometres. For distances of less than 30 kilometres, Destatis said it wasn’t possible to reliably identify the mode of transport on the basis of the anonymous cell phone mobility data they analysed. 


Researchers were able to observe a particular rise in train journeys at the weekends. In April and May, the number of train journeys on routes over 30 kilometres was still just below the pre-crisis level on Mondays to Fridays, but from June onwards it was 36 percent higher on average.

At weekends, train journeys on an average Saturday were 18 percent higher in May, then jumped to 83 percent in June. On Sundays, there was an increase of 61 percent in June.

People who get the ticket can use buses, trains and trams nationwide between June and August for just €9 per month. The ticket is valid for all local and regional transport – i.e. all public transport apart from long-distance trains such as those operated by Deutsche Bahn or Flixtrain.

The German government is considering how to keep up the momentum of the €9 ticket after the offer expires at the end of August. The idea of a ‘Klimaticket’ is being considered, along with other proposals. 

READ ALSO: Germany considers ‘Klimaticket’ to replace €9 offer

What about the effect on other transport?

According to Destatis, road transport activity in the year to date has mostly been slightly above the pre-crisis level of 2019. But since the introduction of the €9 ticket, there has been a “moderate decline”.

Trips between 100 and 300 kilometres were 13 percent above pre-crisis levels in the last week of May, but were 6 percent below in the last week of June.

Trips over 300 kilometres by road have been mostly below levels in comparable periods of 2019 so far this year: just under 1 percent lower in the last week of May, and 11 percent lower by the end of June. Shorter trips between 30 and 100 kilometres decreased moderately.

Meanwhile, Destatis said travel on domestic flights in Germany has increased again this year, but was 31 percent lower at the beginning of June 2022 than in the same period before the pandemic.

READ ALSO: How to explore Germany by train with the €9 ticket

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IN PICTURES: German workers down tools in unprecedented strike action

In a rare show of combined force, Germany's service-sector union Verdi teamed up with rail sector union EVG in a nationwide day of industrial action on Monday. Here's how the morning unfolded.

IN PICTURES: German workers down tools in unprecedented strike action

Though strikes are far from uncommon in Germany, Monday’s ‘mega strike’ – which paralysed bus and train services across the country – was an extraordinary move on the part of two unions. 

It came after months of public-sector walk-outs that had affected everything from Kitas and hospitals in Berlin to administration and air traffic in Munich. However, until March 27th, most strikes had been taking place on a more scattered and localised level – and Deutsche Bahn had generally stayed in service amid multiple local transport strikes.

This time around a coordinated effort between services union Verdi and rail union EVG means that both Deutsche Bahn and local transport are disrupted across the nation.

Pictures emerged early on Monday morning of train stations standing eerily empty ahead of the strike.

Halle Hauptbahnhof

An empty platform at Halle Hauptbahnhof. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Hendrik Schmidt

Almost all long-distance and local train services were out of action on Monday thanks to the Deutsche Bahn walk-out, leading to extraordinary scenes like this one at Mainz Hauptbahnhof – a station that normally caters to around 60,000 passengers each day.

READ ALSO: EXPLAINED: What to expect during Monday’s ‘mega strike’ in Germany

Mainz station during strike

Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Jörg Halisch

However, some people pointed out that the communication from Germany’s state-owned rail operator wasn’t quite as clear as it could have been.

Tweeting from Berlin’s famous Zoologischer Garten station, journalist Jörn Hasselmann noticed misleading info on trains that weren’t supposed to be running.

“The @DB_Bahn manages to cause confusion even when there are no trains,” he wrote. “Apparently it is not that easy to switch off ALL the monitors.”

Aside from Deutsche Bahn services, a number of workers from regional transport operators also took part in the ‘mega strike’ on Monday.

These included workers from Transdev, AKN, Osthannoversche Eisenbahnen, erixx, vlexx, eurobahn, and the Länderbahn – meaning that local U-Bahn, bus and tram services in Bavaria, Baden-Württemberg, Hesse, Lower Saxony, North Rhine-Westphalia, Rhineland-Palatinate, and Saxony were all affected.

READ ALSO: EXPLAINED: How to get compensation for delayed or cancelled trains in Germany

In Cologne, which has been wracked by industrial action in recent weeks, commuters were once again left short of options. 

Cologne local transport during strikes

Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Roberto Pfeil

And it wasn’t just people taking short-haul journeys that faced headaches on Monday morning: aviation workers were also taking part in Monday’s strike, leading to flight cancellations across the board.

A passenger checks the departures board at Munich Airport on Monday

A passenger checks the departures board at Munich Airport on Monday. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Angelika Warmuth

With passengers warned to stay away and rebook their flights, most airports remained all but empty on Monday.

A cleaner at Düsseldorf Airport on Monday.

A cleaner at Düsseldorf Airport on Monday. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Christoph Reichwein

READ ALSO: What are your rights in Germany if a flight is delayed or cancelled?

The major day of action was timed to coincide with the start of three-day negotiations between the services union Verdi and government employers over public-sector pay.

Interior Minister Nancy Faeser (SPD) was among the senior ministers taking part in the talks, which are aimed at resolving a fierce dispute over wages.

Interior Minister Nancy Faeser Verdi

Interior Minister Nancy Faeser (SPD) arrives at negotiations in Potsdam. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Carsten Koall

Shortly before the negotiations kicked off, Verdi tweeted images of demos taking place outside of Potsdam’s Congress Hotel.

One protester held a sign saying: “Soon to be working 24/7 – still can’t afford my rent”.

Verdi is negotiating on behalf of some 2.5 million public sector workers, including those in childcare, health, transport and local administration.

To help cope with inflation, the union is demanding 10.5 percent more pay or a minimum of €500 extra per month for workers. 

Workers Verdi strike Potsdam

Workers from various sectors gather at a demo outside the Congress Hotel in Potsdam. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Carsten Koall

Police workers strike Monday

Police bang a drum outside the Congress Hotel on Monday as part of a demonstration for higher wages. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Carsten Koall

Social media was filled with messages of solidarity and support, with one commenter posting a graph depicting the real-term cut in pay that workers have suffered over the previous two years.

There were also demonstrations by rail union EVG members at train stations across the country.

EVG strike demo Duisburg

Demonstrators from the EVG rail union gather in front of Duisburg Hauptbahnhof on Monday. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Christoph Reichwein

EVG is demanding a 12 percent pay rise for its workers to compensate for the spiralling cost of living.

READ ALSO: EXPLAINED: Why are there so many strikes in Germany right now?