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Germany’s €9 ticket goes on sale nationwide

With just over a week to go before the start of the three-month public transport campaign, sales of the €9 monthly ticket are beginning nationwide, with strong demand expected.

A passenger holds the €9 ticket in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Bavaria.
A passenger holds the €9 ticket in front of a train and the Wetterstein mountains in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Bavaria. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Angelika Warmuth

German rail operator Deutsche Bahn, as well as several other transport associations, started selling the cheap travel deal on Monday. The ticket is valid from June 1st. 

The ticket was available on the DB Navigator rail app from “the early hours of the morning”, a Deutsche Bahn spokesperson said.

Sales were also due to start in DB travel centres “as soon as they open”, the spokesperson said. 

Some transport operators started selling the tickets last week. In Berlin, the €9 deal was available on Friday. Up to and including Sunday, 130,000 tickets had been sold, about 60 percent of them online, a spokesperson said. 

In Hamburg local transport provider HVV, which has been offering the €9 ticket since Saturday, said it had sold around 56,000 of tickets via the app and online shop in the first 24 hours.

Munich’s local transport provider said it had sold 15,500 tickets between Sunday and Monday afternoon alone, not counting online sales.

Transport associations in Saxony, Thuringia and North Rhine-Westphalia also reported strong demand. 

In Wuppertal, customers were even able to get their hands on the ticket last Wednesday – two days before the German parliament and states gave their official approval to the initiative.

The Bundestag and Bundesrat gave the green light on Friday for the heavily discounted monthly ticket, which is intended to relieve consumers of the rising costs of living for the next three months.

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

It is also hoped the offer will convince more people to leave their cars at home and use climate-friendly transport.

The ticket will be available from June to August, and it can be used on all local public transport in Germany – including buses, underground trains and regional trains. It costs €9 per calendar month or €27 for the whole period. It’s not valid on long-distance transport like high speed ICE trains and Flixbus services.

Those who already have a monthly or annual subscription – known as an Abo in Germany – should benefit from the offer without having to take action.

“Reductions will be made automatically for existing subscriptions, so that only the nine euros per month will be charged,” said the Berlin-Brandenburg transport association.

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

Transport Minister Volker Wissing (FDP) spoke of an opportunity for local public transport and climate-friendly mobility.

The German government is ploughing €2.5 billion into states to fund the reduced ticket, and transport companies can also keep the cash from €9 ticket sales.

But states had argued that they needed more funding to improve public transport. 

At the weekend Wissing said the ticket was “fully financed” for the summer months – and to provide enough buses and trains.

“We have put everything on the table that the federal states need, namely full compensation for the ticket shortfalls during this period,” Wissing said.

“What the states want in terms of more money, we will talk about in the autumn. That’s about the financing of local public transport in the next few years. That has nothing to do with the nine euro ticket.”

Local and regional transport in Germany is expected to be very busy during the three month period, with full trains to tourist destinations expected. 

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

Vocabulary

Transport associations – (die) Verkehrsverbünde or (der) Verkehrsverbund

Sale – (der) Verkauf 

Passengers (die) Fahrgäste

Climate friendly mobility/transport – (die) klimafreundliche Mobilität

We’re aiming to help our readers improve their German by translating vocabulary from some of our news stories. Did you find this article useful? Let us know.

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TRAVEL NEWS

UPDATE: When will Germany’s €49 ticket start?

Germany announced a €49 monthly ticket for local and regional public transport earlier this month, but the hoped-for launch date of January 2023 looks increasingly unlikely.

UPDATE: When will Germany's €49 ticket start?

Following the popularity of the €9 train ticket over the summer, the German federal and state governments finally agreed on a successor offer at the beginning of November.

The travel card – dubbed the “Deutschlandticket” – will cost €49 and enable people to travel on regional trains, trams and buses up and down the country.

There had been hopes that the discount travel offer would start up in January 2023, but that now seems very unlikely.

READ ALSO: What you need to know about Germany’s €49 ticket

Martin Burkert, Head of the German Rail and Transport Union (EVG) now expects the €49 ticket to be introduced in the spring.

“From our point of view, it seems realistic to introduce the Deutschlandticket on April 1st, because some implementation issues are still unresolved”, Burkert told the Redaktionsnetzwerk Deutschland on Monday. The Association of German Transport Companies, on the other hand, said on Wednesday that they believe the beginning of May will be a more realistic start date.

The federal and state transport ministers have set their sights on an April deadline, but this depends on whether funding and technical issues can be sorted out by then. In short, the only thing that seems clear regarding the start date is that it will be launched at some point in 2023. 

Why the delay?

Financing for the ticket continues to cause disagreements between the federal and state governments and, from the point of view of the transport companies, financing issues are also still open.

The federal government has agreed to stump up €1.5 billion for the new ticket, which the states will match out of their own budgets. That brings the total funding for the offer up to €3 billion. 

But according to Bremen’s transport minister Maike Schaefer, the actual cost of the ticket is likely to be closer to €4.7 billion – especially during the initial implementation phase – leaving a €1.7 billion hole in finances.

Transport companies are concerned that it will fall to them to take the financial hit if the government doesn’t provide enough funding. They say this will be impossible for them to shoulder. 

Burkert from EVG is calling on the federal government to provide more than the €1.5 billion originally earmarked for the ticket if necessary.

“Six months after the launch of the Deutschlandticket at the latest, the federal government must evaluate the costs incurred to date with the states and, if necessary, provide additional funding,” he said. 

READ ALSO: OPINION: Why Germany’s €49 travel ticket is far better than the previous €9 ticket

Meanwhile, Deutsche Bahn has warned that the network is not prepared to cope with extra demand. 

Berthold Huber, the member of the Deutsche Bahn Board of Management responsible for infrastructure, told the Welt am Sonntag newspaper that a big part of the problem is the network is “structurally outdated” and its “susceptibility to faults is increasing.” 

Accordingly, Huber said that there is currently “no room for additional trains in regional traffic around the major hub stations” and, while adding more seats on trains could be a short terms solution, “here, too, you run up against limits,” Huber said.

So, what now? 

Well, it seems that the federal states are happy to pay half of whatever the ticket actually costs – but so far, the federal government has been slow to make the same offer.

With the two crucial ministries – the Finance Ministry and the Transport Ministry – headed up by politicians from the liberal FDP, environment groups are accusing the party of blocking the ticket by proxy. 

According to Jürgen Resch, the director of German Environment Aid, Finance Minister Christian Lindner and Transport Minister Volker Wissing are deliberately withholding the necessary financial support for the states.

Wissing has also come under fire from the opposition CDU/CSU parties after failing to turn up to a transport committee meeting on Wednesday. 

The conservatives had narrowly failed in a motion to summon the minister to the meeting and demand a report on the progress of the €49 ticket.

“The members of the Bundestag have many unanswered questions and time is pressing,” said CDU transport politician Thomas Bareiß, adding that the ticket had falling victim to a “false start”. 

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