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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.

Passengers wait for a regional train in Stralsund.
Passengers wait for a regional train in Stralsund. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Stefan Sauer

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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STRIKES

Pilots at German low-cost airline Eurowings to strike

Eurowings pilots will go on a one-day strike on Thursday after negotiations on improving working conditions at the low-cost German airline broke down, their union said.

Pilots at German low-cost airline Eurowings to strike

The employees of the Lufthansa subsidiary were seeking a reduction in maximum flying time as well as an increase in rest periods, the Cockpit union (VC) said, adding current agreements had not been updated since 2015.

“The workload has increased significantly. The employer regularly pushes staff to the maximum permitted limit,” said Matthias Baier, a Cockpit spokesman.

After several rounds of talks failed, “the only option left for us is to advance our demands via a labour dispute,” he said.

The union said it remained open to further talks. The strike at the low-cost German air carrier will last from midnight on Wednesday for 24 hours. 

READ ALSO: Eurowings plans 10-percent fare hike amid flight chaos in Germany

The number of flight cancellations depends on how well the airline manages to organise replacement connections, Baier said. The strike doesn’t involve Eurowings Discover.

“We are open to talks about how we can achieve reasonable working hours for Eurowings employees in the long term,” added Marcel Gröls, chairman of the VC union bargaining committee.

So far, however, it has not been possible to agree on a common path with the employer, he said. “It’s not enough to sit at the negotiating table, you also have to bring the will to find solutions and not present counter-demands as an offer.”

The European aviation sector has been hit by a growing number of strikes in recent months among pilots, cabin crew and ground staff.

High inflation has triggered calls for pay hikes, while the sector also faces a shortage of workers after many jobs were cut during the coronavirus pandemic.

Lufthansa pilots agreed last month not to go on strike again until at least the end of June next year under a pay deal negotiated with the airline.

READ ALSO: Pilots at German airline Lufthansa suspend strikes through June 2023

It comes after a summer of chaos due to staff shortages as travel picked up again when pandemic restrictions were loosened. 

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