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

Local transport providers are getting ready to introduce the €9 monthly ticket for summer. Here's how it will work in Berlin and Brandenburg.

People talking a regional train from Berlin's Hauptbahnhof.
People talking a regional train from Berlin's Hauptbahnhof. Photo: picture alliance/dpa/dpa-Zentralbild | Monika Skolimowska

More details are emerging on how Germany’s heavily reduced monthly transport ticket will work in practice. 

The ticket will be valid for three months – June, July and August – and will cost €9 per calendar month or €27 in total. People can use it on any local or regional buses, trains or trams. It will not be valid for long distance buses or trains, such as on ICE, IC and EC services.

Trips to Poland or France, for example, are not included in the tariff, and either are journeys on the Flixbus and Flixtrain.

READ ALSO: How to explore Germany by train with the €9 ticket

One thing to keep in mind is that local transport providers can implement the offer in their own way so there will be slight difference depending on where you are based. 

On Friday, the Verkehrsverbund Berlin-Brandenburg (VBB) published extensive information about what season ticket holders and new customers should consider when it comes to the special offer. 

Here’s a look at what you should know if you’re in the capital or the surrounding area, or you’re visiting this part of Germany in the summer. 

What do I have to do if I have a subscription (Abo) ticket?

As is the case throughout Germany, seasonal public transport ticket holders will benefit from the offer.

The VBB says that that most people affected in the Berlin/Brandenburg area will not need to do anything. “The reduction of the fare to €9 for the months of June, July and August 2022 and the associated reimbursement or settlement will be made automatically by the respective transport company holding the contract,” the VBB says.

Those who pay their subscription monthly will automatically be charged only €9, while customers who pay annually will receive reimbursement.

Holders of annual tickets sold in cash can also benefit from the campaign and should check out online information on how to get the difference refunded. 

“As a season ticket holder, you don’t have to worry about anything, the billing/refund or credit is done automatically by the transport company where the season ticket was purchased,” a VBB spokesman told The Local.

“If you have a monthly travel pass, you should not throw away the sections of the months, but submit them to the transport company afterwards and you will be reimbursed.”

The ticket can be used throughout local public transports in Germany. Does that mean I can use my Abo anywhere?

Yes. For the three months, you can use your subscription ticket to travel on local public transport throughout Germany. That means on regional trains, as well as local transit in the various cities and towns around Germany – but not on long-distance transport.

“All over Germany means all over Germany, right!” the VBB spokesman told us. “Season ticket holders have the ‘FahrCard’, which is recognised nationwide when presented.”

You can also use the card at any time of day in the Berlin/Brandenburg area or Germany-wide on local transport even if your Abo has a time limit (such as the 10am ticket which is only valid after 10am).

People wait for a train on Berlin's U5 line.

People wait for a train on Berlin’s U5 line. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Fabian Sommer

What happens if I want to take my bike on board?

It’s a good question. Germans love getting out to explore ‘the nature’ and may want to use the ticket to travel to the countryside on a regional train and often bring their bike with them. 

But dogs and bicycles are not allowed to be taken along free of charge on the ticket. People are also not allowed to take people with them, the only exception being children under the age of six. A pram and luggage can be taken along at no extra cost.

If you want to take your bicycle with you, you need a ticket for it. You’ll need to find out about the implementation in the respective transport association for nationwide journeys on local transport. The same applies for taking dogs.

However, the VBB has actually urged all passengers to refrain from taking bikes with them during the campaign period and recommends travelling outside of rush hours. Rail bosses are expecting travel to be super busy. 

As a general rule of thumb: within the VBB area, season ticket holders keep their fare conditions, whereas outside – in other public transport regions – the €9 ticket is seen as a 2nd class ticket without extensions (so you don’t get the perks you have in your local ticket). 

READ ALSO: How many people in Germany will use the €9 ticket?

Can I return a VBB monthly ticket I have already bought for one of the campaign months?

According to the VBB, tickets with a printed validity date (such as monthly tickets) can be returned to the respective ticket office before the first day of validity. In the case of sliding monthly tickets, however, no partial refund is possible – so a customer could not, for example, have their monthly ticket, which starts in mid-May and ends in mid-June, refunded proportionately for June and use the €9 from June 1st instead.

NON-SUBSCRIBERS

How can I buy the ticket if I don’t have a subscription?

The €9 ticket can be purchased as a single monthly ticket in the relevant period (June, July, August), in customer centres, at ticket machines or via an app. You can also buy the ticket directly from the driver on some buses – but not on BVG buses.

There will be no separate three-month subscription for the entire period. And in contrast to other monthly tickets, the offer cannot be purchased over monthly limits – it is always valid from the “1st” of the respective month until the end of the month. So if you get the ticket on June 16th, it will still cost €9 and remain valid until June 30th. 

Are there any other conditions I need to know?

Yes. The only person who can use €9 the ticket is the person whose first and last name is on the ticket. So you technically can’t give the ticket to someone else to use. 

“All those who purchase the ticket in paper form must note that it is only valid when the first and last name of the person travelling is entered on it,” says the VBB.

When can I buy it?

It is not yet 100 percent clear when the ticket will be available. The VBB says people will be able to buy it “from the second half of May” – but theoretically, advance sales would only be possible from May 20th anyway because that is the day the Bundesrat is due to formally approve the €9 ticket (let’s hope the states and government sort out their funding row by then). 

Will there be more trains in operation?

That is not yet clear, but it doesn’t look like it. In fact, there could be some other obstacles that make transport busier. The VBB says that the campaign period falls during the summer holidays, which are usually used for construction work. This is planned in the long term by the network operator (Deutsche Bahn) and can’t be postponed at short notice. The VBB therefore has urged all users to inform themselves about the route before they travel.

READ ALSO: What is Sylt and why is it terrified of Germany’s €9 holidaymakers?

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€9 for 90: Everything you need to know about Germany’s cheap travel deal

Germany's €9 monthly transport ticket is coming. Here's everything you should know about the deal that will allow you to to travel the country for next to nothing this summer.

€9 for 90: Everything you need to know about Germany's cheap travel deal

What’s all this about cheap transport?

Germany is about to launch a mega cheap transport ticket – and a lot of people are getting very excited about it.

The “€9 for 90” ticket is a monthly travel card that people can buy for just €9 per month over a three-month period. It’s a fraction of the price of a normal monthly travel card and – even more incredibly – can be used anywhere in the country on local and regional transport. 

The deal was initially announced back in April as part of an energy relief package put together by the government. And despite some anger from state leaders over funding for the scheme, the ticket cleared its final hurdle in the Bundesrat on Friday.

READ ALSO: German states threaten to block the €9 ticket in the Bundesrat

So far, the €9 ticket has received a lot of publicity and attention. That’s probably because it’s one of the more fun measures to combat the energy crisis – one that doesn’t involve complicated claims and write-offs in your tax return.

Instead, the government is hoping that the new ticket will cut monthly transport costs for households and encourage people to use more eco-friendly transport options. With fuel prices spiralling, it’s a great time to leave the car at home and travel around for next to nothing, while doing your bit for the environment. 

Sounds great. Can everyone buy it?

Yes! It doesn’t matter whether you’re a tourist on a weekend trip from Austria, a part-time Germany resident or Chancellor Olaf Scholz himself: everyone will be able to purchase the €9 ticket. (We imagine Olaf may already have his own transport, though.) 

It will, however, have your name on it, so it can’t be pooled between friends (as tempting as an even cheaper travel deal would be). 

READ ALSO: What tourists in Germany need to know about the €9 public transport ticket

Busy train in Stuttgart

People board a busy train in Stuttgart. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Marijan Murat

When will it be available?

It’s currently available in a handful of cities, including Hamburg, Stuttgart and Freiburg – but everyone else will be able to purchase it from May 23rd onwards. 

The deal itself will be a summer travel offer. That means the first monthly ticket will be valid from June 1st and the last monthly ticket will expire on August 31st. Each of the tickets will be valid for the full calendar month so you won’t be able to mix and match with existing tickets.

For example, if you’ve already bought a ticket that’s expiring in mid-June, you wouldn’t then be able to buy a €9 ticket running from the middle of June to the middle of August.

Instead, you would require two €9 tickets  for June and July – though you can get a refund for the part of the prior ticket you didn’t end up using.

Where can I get hold of it?

The ticket will be available via Deutsche Bahn’s DB Navigator app, on the DB website, at in-station terminals and at ticket desks and offices.

Regional transport operators are likely to have their own ticket purchasing options as well – most likely online, but in some cases also at ticket machines and in-station offices. 

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

A regional train near Hornberg, in the Black Forest.

A regional train near Hornberg, in the Black Forest. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Philipp von Ditfurth

What types of public transport can I use it on?

The ticket is valid throughout Germany, but only on regional and local transport.

That means you can use it on all local trains like the U-Bahn and S-Bahn, as well as on trams and buses. You can also travel on the Regionalverkehr (regional trains) across Germany. 

You can’t use the ticket for private services like Flixbus and Flixtrain or on other long-distance rail services like IC, EC and ICE trains. If you’re travelling around your state and aren’t sure if the ticket will be valid, check if the train you’re taking has an ‘RE’ in the name. That’s the shorthand for regional trains.

It probably goes without saying, but taxi services won’t be included in the price. And, yes, you will still need to pay for those e-scooters as well. 

Can I use it to travel first class?

If you’re hoping for a month of budget transport but also want to be treated like royalty whilst on board, we may have to disappoint you. The €9 ticket can only be used in second-class carriages.

This is largely because there’s likely to be huge demand for the budget offer – so there could be scuffles for first-class seats with that extra bit of legroom. 

READ ALSO: How to explore Germany by train with the €9 ticket

I’ve already got an Abo. What can I do?

This has been a big concern for the folk who have already opted to pay full price for their public transport. (What fools they were…) 

Luckily, this group of keen transport users won’t miss out either. According to the DB website, people who’ve already shelled out on a monthly or annual ticket will be contacted by their local transport provider and informed about how they can get a refund.

If you’ve got a standing order set up, the transport operator will likely just debit the €9 from your account instead of the usual amount. Otherwise, you may get sent a refund via direct debit. 

Your subscription ticket will be valid for local public transport throughout Germany during the three month offer period – not just in your area.

Will students also benefit from the ticket?

Absolutely – though this is one area where things may be a little less well-organised. If you’re a student with a semester ticket, you will be entitled to a refund of the extra amount you paid, which will likely be handled by your university. 

One thing that seems a little unclear is whether the semester ticket will suddenly be valid outside of your local region, just like the €9 ticket is. We assume it will, but we’ll try to clarify this with DB and other service providers in the coming weeks. 

Can I take my bike on board?

Unfortunately, bikes aren’t included in the offer – and this seems like a deliberate choice. 

DB is recommending that people leave their bikes at home during the three months that the €9 ticket is on offer. This is because trains are likely to be extremely busy and they can’t guarantee that they’ll have room for everyone, let alone a hundred or so bikes. Instead, you can usually hire a bike at your destination.

However, if you’ve already got a subscription that allows you to take your bike with you (i.e. a student semester ticket or another type of Abo), you’ll still be able to do so. 

What about my dog? 

You will unfortunately not be able to purchase a €9 ticket in the name of Rover T. Dog (well, you could try, but it probably won’t work). However, the usual rules will apply to travelling with a furry friend. 

In some places, you may need to buy an extra dog ticket for Rover, while in others, he’ll be able to accompany you free-of-charge. 

READ ALSO: Who benefits from Germany’s €9 public transport ticket offer?

A woman carries her dog through a Berlin train station

A woman carries her onesie-clad dog in a Berlin train station. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Annette Riedl

Do children need to pay for a ticket? 

Children under six can travel for free on public transport, while children over the age of six will need their own €9 ticket. 

What about seat reservations? 

Transport operators are trying to keep things as flexible as possible to cope with demand over summer, so you unfortunately won’t be able to use the ticket to reserve a seat in advance.

Won’t public transport be rammed? 

At the moment, nobody really knows. According to the Association of German Transport Companies (VDV), there could be as many as 30 million public transport users per month over summer – but this is only a rough estimate.

READ ALSO: How many people will use the €9 ticket?

One way around this is to try and travel on weekdays and off-peak services where possible and (as mentioned) to hire bikes rather than bringing them in the train.

It could also be helpful to familiarise yourself with different transport connections and routes in your area. 

The other thing that could help ease the crush on public transport is the fact that the government is also planning to cut taxes on fuel in tandem with the €9 ticket. That means that, for three months over summer, drivers will be able to get cheaper petrol and diesel – so some may indeed decide to take the car after all.

The ticket ends at the end of August. What happens next? 

Once again, it’s hard to say. Critics of the €9 ticket say that the scheme will leave gaping holes in transport budgets and could ultimately lead to ticket prices going up in autumn.

On the other hand, proponents of the offer believe that it could have the effect of luring people back to public transport after the Covid crisis. That would mean that more people would be buying subscriptions after summer and using local buses and trains, which can only be a good thing for transport budgets in the long-run. 

READ ALSO: ‘Fantastic’: Your verdict on Germany’s €9 transport ticket

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