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Germany’s €9 ticket should be extended by two months, say transport chiefs

German public transport operators want to see the €9 ticket offer extended to give politicians time to find a permanent solution.

Travellers get on and off a regional train in Hanover.
Travellers get on and off a regional train in Hanover. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Michael Matthey

Since June people in Germany have been able to ride on public transport very cheaply thanks to the ticket that was brought in to relieve households as energy bills spiral upwards. 

The offer runs until the end of August. But many people want to see it extended or a new ticket introduced. 

Now the Association of German Transport Companies (VDV) has given their view.

“We need a follow-up solution quickly,” Oliver Wolff, head of the VDV, told the Süddeutsche Zeitung.

“The best thing would be to extend the campaign for another two months as a transitional solution.

“The ticket could continue to be valid in September and October and thus relieve citizens of the high energy prices,” Wolff said.

The ticket allows passengers to travel on local and regional trains, buses and trams throughout Germany at a price of just €9 per month. Long-distance trains are not included in the offer.

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The interim solution of two months could give politicians and the industry time to develop a permanent offer for a nationwide local transport ticket, Wolff said.

He called on the federal and state governments to get together quickly.

Transport Minister Volker Wissing announced this week that he thought a follow-up offer was possible from the end of the year or early 2023.

He wants to wait until data on the ticket is available at the beginning of November to help with figuring out what could come next.

But VDV’s Wolff said this would be too late. He referenced the huge demand for the ticket – more than 31 million tickets were sold in June alone, as well as rising inflation putting pressure on people. 

In the long-term the transport the Association of German Transport Companies has called on the government to introduce a permanent €69 ticket as a follow-up to the €9 ticket.

Wolff suggested that this ticket could be reduced “to €29 or €39 for people who need it for socio-political reasons – for example, for the duration of the war”.

The Transport Ministry reacted cautiously, saying there is a fixed procedure for consultations on the future – and the financing – of local transport.

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TRAVEL NEWS

Majority of Germans in favour of ‘extending the €9 ticket’

The €9 ticket is set to expire at the end of the month. But more than half of Germans want the cheap travel deal to continue, according to a new survey.

Majority of Germans in favour of 'extending the €9 ticket'

In three weeks’ time, Germany’s cheap summer travel offer will come to an end. While members of the traffic light coalition government have been unable to agree on a continuation of the ticket, the majority of Germans are in favour of keeping the heavily-discounted travel card in place.

According to a survey conducted by the opinion research institute Civey for German news magazine Spiegel, 55 percent would like to see an extension of the ticket, which allows people to use public transportation throughout Germany for €9 per month. Meanwhile, 34 percent of Germans are against extending the offer. 

READ ALSO: Could drivers in Germany fund a future €9 ticket scheme?

The survey also showed that mainly Green Party supporters are for an extension of the €9 ticket, as more than two-thirds are in favour of continuing the deal. A majority of supporters of the Left Party and the SPD are also in favour of continuing the discount campaign.

Leading Green Party politicians have put forward proposals for a cheap successor to the €9 ticket: a regional ticket for €29 and a nationwide ticket for €49 a month. 

Meanwhile, FDP Finance Minister Christian Lindner has heavily criticised demands for extending the cheap transport deal. On Monday he tweeted that a “freebie mentality is not sustainably financeable, not efficient and not fair”. He also told the  Augsburger Allgemeine that there is no scope for an extension in the federal budget.

The Spiegel poll backs up the results of a questionnaire conducted by The Local, which showed that 85.4 percent of readers want the €9 ticket to continue after August. Meanwhile, 47.2 percent of readers said that reduced cost was the most important issue for them in relation to public transport in Germany. 

READ ALSO: ‘Affordable and simple’: What foreigners in Germany want to see after the €9 ticket

Reader Asa from Hamburg, 26, told the Local “I’d love to see a successor to the €9 ticket supported. It’s given me the chance to explore the surrounding towns in a way that would otherwise be financially unviable.”

Bethany, a reader from Kaiserslautern, said she had replaced at least six long-distance car journeys with public transport in June and July.

“Before, the cost of taking a train wasn’t worth it. But now? I’ll put up with delayed trains for €9,” she said. 

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