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Deutsche Bahn vows record German rail investment in 2022

German rail operator Deutsche Bahn will put a record sum into renovating and expanding its network in 2022, the company said Thursday, as Europe's largest economy seeks to decarbonise transport.

Passengers board a train at Berlin's main station.
Passengers board a train at Berlin's main station. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Carsten Koall

Deutsche Bahn and the federal and regional governments will together invest €13.6 billion ($15.4 billion) in rail infrastructure, the group said in a statement.

The figure is €900 million higher than the investments made in 2021.

The funds would go “above all to increasing the capacity” and towards the “digitalisation” of the rail network, said the operator, whose stock is completely held by the state.

“Every euro invested in rail is a euro that goes towards the protection of the environment,” said Ronald Pofalla, the Deutsche Bahn executive responsible for infrastructure.

The investments will be made in close cooperation with the federal government, which sees rail expansion as a top priority as part of its plan to green the transport network.

EXPLAINED: Deutsche Bahn’s new ticket rules for 2022

In 2020, the government then led by Angela Merkel set a target to double rail passenger numbers by 2030, a goal which has been embraced by the new government led by Social Democrat Olaf Scholz, in power since December.

The state has committed to putting €62 billion into the rail network over 10 years.

Deutsche Bahn announced earlier in the week that it was purchasing 43 new high-speed trains from Siemens for €1.5 billion.

The new units will bring Deutsche Bahn’s high-speed fleet up to “450 trains… by the end of the decade”, it said.

READ ALSO: How Germany is finally set to improve Wifi and phone signal on trains

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TRAVEL NEWS

German states threaten to block €9 ticket in Bundesrat

Germany's cut-price transport ticket is supposed to go on sale next Monday - but a battle over financing is threatening to torpedo the government's plans.

German states threaten to block €9 ticket in Bundesrat

An feud between the federal and state governments intensified on Monday as state leaders threatened to block the government’s most recent energy package when it is put to a vote in the Bundesrat on Friday. 

The battle relates to the government’s plans for a budget transport ticket that would allow people to travel on local and regional transport around Germany for just €9 per month.

Though the 16 states have agreed to support the ticket, transport ministers are arguing that the low-cost option will blow a hole in their budgets and lead to potential price hikes once autumn rolls around.

They claim that current funding promised by the Federal Transport Ministry doesn’t go far enough.

READ ALSO: 

“If the federal government believes it can be applauded on the backs of the states for a three-month consolation prize and that others should foot the bill, then it has made a huge mistake,” Bavaria’s Transport Minister Christian Bernreiter (CSU) told Bild on Monday.

The government has pledged €2.5 billion to the states to pay for the measure, as well as financial support for income lost during the Covid crisis. 

Transport Minister Volker Wissing. of the Free Democrats (FDP), said states would also receive the revenue of the €9 ticket from customers who take advantage of the offer. 

“For this ‘9 for 90 ticket’, the €2.5 billion is a complete assumption of the costs by the federal government,” said Wissing on Thursday. “In addition, the states are also allowed to keep the €9 from the ticket price, so they are very well funded here.”

Transport Minister Volker Wissing

Transport Minister Volker Wissing (FDP) speaks ahead of a G7 summit in Düsseldorf.

However, federal states want a further €1.5 billion in order to increase staff, deal with extra fuel costs and to plan for the expansion of local transport in Germany.

Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania’s Minister for Economic Affairs, Reinhard Meyer (SPD), told Bild that there would be “no approval (on Friday) as long as the federal government does not provide additional funds.”

Baden-Württemberg’s Transport Minister Winfried Hermann (Greens) also warned that “the entire package of fuel rebate and €9 euro ticket could fail in the Bundesrat” if the government doesn’t agree to the state’s demands on funding.

The Bundesrat is Germany’s upper house of parliament, which is comprised of MPs serving in the state governments. Unlike in the Bundestag, where the traffic-light coalition of the Social Democrats (SPD), Greens and Free Democrats (FDP) has a majority, the CDU is the largest party in the Bundesrat. 

What is the €9 ticket?

The €9 monthly ticket was announced early this year as part of a package of energy relief measures for struggling households.

With the price of fuel rising dramatically amid supply bottlenecks and the war in Ukraine, the traffic-light coalition is hoping to encourage people to switch to public transport over summer instead. 

The ticket will run for three months from the start of June to the end of August, and will allow people to travel nationwide on local and regional transport. Long-distance trains like IC, EC and ICE trains will not be covered by the ticket. 

It should be available to purchase from May 23rd, primarily via ticket offices and the DB app and website. 

Some regional operators, including Berlin-Brandenburg’s VBB, have also pledged to offer the ticket at ticket machines.

READ ALSO: EXPLAINED: How to get hold of the €9 travel ticket in Berlin

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