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How will Germany’s €9 monthly travel ticket work?

Transport providers across Germany are getting ready to introduce a heavily reduced travel ticket. Here's how the plan is progressing.

A ticket machine next to a tram in Heidelberg.
A ticket machine next to a tram in Heidelberg. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Uwe Anspach

What is the €9 ticket?

The €9 monthly travel ticket was introduced as part of the coalition government’s financial relief package aimed at easing the cost of living and energy crisis.

It’s also hoped that it will lure people in Germany away from their cars, which would be a helpful step in the battle against climate change. 

Transport providers say the ticket will be easy to get and will also benefit people who have monthly or yearly subscriptions – known as an Abo in Germany.

When will the ticket be available and how will it work?

Sales of the ticket are scheduled to start by June, and the promotional period will run from June 1st to August 31st 2022. 

“The Nine Euro Ticket will be offered for the months of June, July and August at a price of €9 per month,” says Munich’s MVV, the transit authority for the Bavarian capital. “Those who buy the Nine Euro Ticket in all three months will therefore pay €27.”

READ ALSO: Germany’s €9 monthly travel ticket to be available from June

The ticket is valid for one calendar month. It will be available through various channels, including at ticket machines and at the counter or as a mobile phone ticket.

According to MVV Managing Director Bernd Rosenbusch, transport companies across the country are currently in the process of programming their vending machines to include the offer. 

Berlin transport operator BVG said pre-sale tickets for the special offer will be on sale soon. 

Where is the €9 ticket valid? What can I use it for?

The ticket will be valid on local and regional transport throughout Germany. This means that if you buy a €9 ticket in Nuremberg, Augsburg or Munich, it will include the regional trains of the Deutsche Bahn and local providers. This means that the routes Munich – Nuremberg – Munich, for example, can be reached with direct regional train connections.

You can also use the ticket in other parts of Germany on the local transport system there. 

A ticket machine on a bus in Munich.

A ticket machine on a bus in Munich. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Sven Hoppe

The MVV says: “Included (in the ticket) are scheduled buses, trams, the U-Bahn, the S-Bahn and regional trains (2nd class).”

However, the €9 monthly pass is not valid on long-distance travel – for example on ICE, IC or EC trains. So you can’t use it to travel across the country unless there is a regional service.

Otherwise, the respective conditions of carriage apply. If, for example, your travel card includes a bike ticket, you can continue to take your bike with you free of charge. Others will still need a bicycle ticket.

What about people with a monthly or yearly pass?

Many people – and companies – in Germany pay a ‘subscription’ fee on a yearly or monthly basis because it is cheaper in the long run for those who use local transport often. 

These customers will not be penalised. However, transport authorities can decide individually on how to deal with this situation. 

In Munich regular customers who already have a weekly, monthly or yearly ticket and have the regular price debited from their account will automatically pay only €9 for each of the three months. So their travel pass will count as a €9 ticket for these three months.

READ ALSO: What we know so far about Germany’s €9 monthly travel ticket plans

The MVV said no one has to cancel their subscription to get the ticket. All conditions continue to apply, except for the price, which is then, MVV boss Rosenbusch told BR24, “incredibly cheap”.

According to Berlin’s BVG, “during the promotion period, the price for you as a subscriber will be reduced to €9 per month for the three months”.

However, it is still unclear exactly when subscribers who have already paid will receive their refund.

Will students with a ‘Semesterticket’ benefit?

Yes, they will. The situation looks likely to be the same as for people with subscriptions, which means it will be down to local transport companies to decide how to issue refunds.

It may be worth checking with student advice centres at universities to get updates on this nearer the time. 

Are there any disadvantages?

This is a hugely attractive offer that many people are expected to take advantage of. It will also benefit people visiting Germany such as tourists. 

As it is such a great deal, transport providers have warned that travel services could be much busier this summer. Particularly because it would be difficult for companies to introduce more trains, buses and trams at short notice and for a temporary period.

For that reason “there may also be overcrowding on some routes,” according to the MVV.

It’s worth keeping in mind that a lot of public transport in Germany doesn’t have air conditioning installed… so it may get sweatier than usual if it’s a hot summer.

Transport users at Berlin's Alexanderplatz on February 11th 2021.

Transport users at Berlin’s Alexanderplatz on February 11th 2021. Services are likely to be busier this summer due to the reduced ticket offer. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Christoph Soeder

Is the ticket definitely going ahead?

It has been approved by the coalition government, but it still has to go through the wider Bundestag – and the Bundesrat, which represents the federal states.

That is expected to happen on May 19th and 20th so that the monthly ticket can start on June 1st.

However, the financing of the ticket and for public transport providers has not yet been fully clarified.

According to a draft bill from the Transport Ministry, the federal government wants to increase funds for the states to finance local transport by €3.7 billion this year. Part of this money will be used to help with Covid-related costs and €2.5 billion is earmarked for the reduced ticket.

But there is some dispute over whether the government should help transport providers more due to the huge increase in energy costs. 

The government says, however, that companies will benefit from the planned temporary reduction of the energy tax on fuel. 

The MVV’s Rosenbuch said he didn’t think the offer would be blocked by the states. 

“I am sure that a compromise can be found,” he said.

Meanwhile, several details still haven’t been worked out.

A spokesman from VBB, a transport association run by public transport providers in Berlin and Brandenburg, told The Local that there was still some work needed at the federal level, and urged customers to have patience. 

“As the VBB, we will come to an agreement with the states of Berlin and Brandenburg and all transport companies in the network in order to discuss the concrete framework conditions for implementation as soon as they are more concrete. This especially concerns the treatment of existing customers/subscribers.

“We would like to ask all passengers and customers to wait for our active communication and thank you in advance for your patience.”

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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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