Berlin makes public transport free for all schoolchildren
Starting on Thursday, all school students in Berlin can ride the capital’s public transport for free - whether the U-Bahn, S-Bahn, tram or bus.
The new Schülerticket, issued by the transport association of Berlin and Brandenburg (VBB), is applicable to all ticket holders travelling in Berlin’s AB zone covering the majority of the city.
Children over six will also be able to ride Berlin public transport for free, even if they don’t attend a school in Berlin, as long as they bring along a school ID.
Addition Azubi discount
All Auszubildende (trainees), or Azubis as they are commonly called in German, are able to take all Berlin and Brandenburg transit for a very subsidized cost of €365 per year (which is equal to €1 per day) starting on August 1st.
The aim is to “relieve families and young people from both states of mobility costs while helping the environment,” wrote the VBB in a press release.
Around 360,000 pupils will benefit from the new ticket, which was decided on last year by Berlin’s Social Democratic (SPD), Left and Greens governing coalition, according to the Berliner Morgenpost.
The ticket even allows for taking along a bike, dog or addition child up to six years old without charge, tweeted Berlin's SPD on Wednesday.
Morgen ist es so weit: das neue #Schülerticket Berlin AB geht am 1.8.2019 den Start! Berlins Schüler*innen können dann in ganz #Berlin kostenlos mit Bus? & Bahn ?unterwegs sein und sogar noch ein Fahrrad ?, einen Hund? oder ein Kind? bis 6 Jahre kostenfrei mitnehmen! pic.twitter.com/riUK1aoNyC— SPD Berlin ?? (@spdberlin) July 31, 2019
How to obtain a ticket
According to the BVG, the new ticket can only be ordered online through a special page on the BVG website.
For pupils who already have a special subsidized pass through a Schülerabo, there is no need to cancel - this will already occur when the new subscription begins.
School students with an older pass, the so-called Schülerausweis I, will also be able to ride Berlin public transport for free during a “transition time” lasting until the end of November.
"A milestone has been reached with the new Schülerticket in bringing young people closer to public transport. It means freedom from Elterntaxis (parent taxis). Families benefit from saved costs, the climate from avoided emissions,” said Berlin's traffic senator Regine Günther of the Greens.
Free transportation nationwide?
Several cities around Germany have already introduced plans to make public transportation free or significantly cheaper in order to ease traffic congestion and better protect the environment.
The small west German city of Monheim will offer a free bus service to all starting in April 2020.
The move comes after the German government last year said it was considering free public transport “to reduce the number of private cars”.
Since then, five German cities – Bonn, Essen, Herrenberg, Mannheim and Reutlingen – have been earmarked to offer significantly cheaper transport tickets, with the government poised to subsidize the projects with €128 million to help cover the income shortfall.
Other cities, such as Tübingen in Baden-Württemberg, are already offer initiatives such as free bus travel on certain days of the week in a bid to get people to leave their cars at home.
Berlin’s mayor has also proposed making the annual transport ticket just €365 - and in doing so following the example of Vienna - in order to boost ridership and ease the capital’s growing problem of car congestion.