The Association of German Transport Companies (VDV) called on the government to introduce a permanent €69 ticket as a replacement for the €9 ticket after the summer.
Much like the €9 ticket, the €69 ticket would be usable across Germany on local and regional transport. It would be branded the ‘climate ticket’ (or Klimaticket) and function in a similar way to Austria’s heavily subsidised public transport offer of the same name.
“Based on the premise that the public transport fares of the transport associations will continue to be attractive for the majority of passengers, we propose a nationwide public transport climate ticket for €69 per month as a single 2nd class travel entitlement, especially for those who have proven to be a relevant target group in market research – car drivers who are willing to pay,” announced VDV Executive Director Oliver Wolff.
€2 billion per year
Unlike the €9 ticket, the €69 ticket would not automatically replace the ordinary Abo for subscription and season-ticket holders.
Instead, transport users would have to opt for the deal they thought was best.
“The industry is in a position to offer such a climate ticket from September 1st,” Wolff said. “However, we would need the corresponding mandate from the politicians very quickly.”
Transport companies estimated that the new scheme would cost around €2 billion per year and could be financed in 2022 by the remainder of the funds from the government’s Covid rescue package.
As part of its relief package to tackle rising energy costs, the government launched the €9 ticket for three months from June to August, enabling customers to use local and regional public transport anywhere in the country for less than €10 per month.
According to the VDV, 31 million people took advantage of the low fare in June, including ten million season ticket holders who automatically receive the discounted ticket.
There is also evidence that traffic and congestion has been reduced on Germany’s roads.
‘It must be worthwhile’
Politicians have been debating a potential successor to the €9 ticket in recent weeks, with Transport Minister Volker Wissing (FDP) speaking out in favour of a simplified tariff system that allows people to travel anywhere in Germany.
“If the complicated tariff zones disappear and tickets are valid nationwide, public transport will be used much more,” he said.
Green Party leader Ricarda Lang has also signaled support for a “fair” transport offer to replace the outgoing summer deal.
“We will discuss the model in the coalition, but one thing is clear: there needs to be a follow-up ticket that applies as uniformly as possible, as proposed by the Federal Minister of Transport, and that is cheap,” she told FAZ on Friday.
However, she said, the government is faced with the task of having to achieve two goals at the same time.
“We want a cheap ticket and at the same time want to improve the quality of the offer, which means investing in the infrastructure.”
The Greens had previously put forward the idea of a €29 ticket that they argued would offer similar benefits to the €9 ticket but also provide sustainable funding for the transport system.
SPD parliamentary group vice-chairman Detlef Müller has also joined Green Party politicians in calling for a successor to the €9 ticket in recent days.
“Whether the new ticket costs €39, €49 or €69 is secondary,” he told RND on Thursday. “But it must be within a framework that has a psychological effect and makes it worthwhile for people to leave their cars behind.”
Müller suggested developing a proposal for a continuation of the ticket and its financing by the conference of transport ministers in autumn. However, he warned against underfunding the transport system due to the cut-price deal.
“It is clear that an inexpensive ticket offer cannot be financed at the expense of the expansion and operation of public transport,” he said.