German Finance Minister rejects €9 ticket follow-up

Almost 80 percent of Germans would like to see a continuation of low-cost local and regional travel when the €9 travel ticket expires at the end of August, a recent poll showed, but Finance Minister Christian Lindner has rejected this idea so far.

Deutsche Bahn regional trains leave Munich station
Regional trains of German rail operator Deutsche Bahn leave the main train station in Munich, southern Germany, on March 28, 2022. (Photo by Christof STACHE / AFP)

A poll carried out by the Kantar institute for Focus news magazine found that 79 percent would like to see a similar state-subsidised ticket once the €9 ticket initiative ends.

This rose to 90 percent in the under-30 age group.

Sixteen percent did not want the initiative – or a similar one – to continue.

With the cut-price ticket set to expire at the end of August, the matter has been a topic of hot debate recently with politicians disagreeing about a follow-up and transport chiefs calling for a short extension.

READ ALSO: Germany’s €9 ticket should be extended by two months, say transport chiefs

Finance Minister Christian Linder has rejected the idea of any subsidised travel tickets continuing beyond August as it is too expensive.

“The €9 ticket is a time-limited measure, just like the tax relief at petrol stations. Therefore, neither a continuation of the petrol station discount nor funds for a follow-up arrangement to the €9 ticket are provided for in the federal budget,” the FDP leader told the Funke media group.

Taxpayers finance the cost of these tickets as they do not cover costs; this means that even those who cannot use them – such as those who live in rural areas less well-served by public transport – also pay for them, he explained.

But Green party head Ricarda Lang saw it differently: “Obviously, the potential for affordable public transport in Germany is huge and the nationwide €9 ticket is a successful model for which we should find a follow-up arrangement – not least from a climate policy point of view,” she told the Tagesspiegel on Sunday.

She said the party would always be ready to talk about getting rid of subsidies that damage the environment and the climate to find the funds for continuing the initiative.

Meanwhile, the €9 ticket is causing difficulties for other transport sectors.

Around half of all coach and long-distance bus companies reported a drop in demand in a quick survey carried out by their own association, the Federal Association of German Bus Companies said, according to German newswire DPA.

Because of the cheap public transport tickets, in June, organisers booked private buses or coaches for class and club trips far less frequently.

Demand from these two key groups fell by more than half on average and by more than two-thirds in a third important customer group – older people.

The €9 tickets were introduced June and are also available in July and August. They allow people to travel across Germany for a month on buses and local trains.


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Pay women footballers the same as men, says German chancellor

Chancellor Olaf Scholz on Tuesday made a push for equal pay for men and women international footballers after Germany's successful run at the recent European Championships.

Pay women footballers the same as men, says German chancellor

“My position on this is clear,” Scholz said after a meeting with the German Football Association (DFB) to discuss the issue.

“We talked about how we can continue to help more girls and women get excited about football. Of course, the wages at such tournaments play a major role in this,” he said.

“That’s why it makes sense to discuss equal pay. I made the suggestion and I’m very grateful that there is a willingness to discuss this issue.”

Germany scored their biggest major tournament success since 2015 at this year’s European Championships, losing to England in the final at Wembley.

Scholz attended the final and also supported the women’s team by tweeting: “It’s 2022, and women and men should be paid equally. This also applies to sport, especially for national teams.”

READ ALSO: Scholz to cheer on Germany at Euro 2022 final

Chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD) visits the DFP headquarters on Tuesday.

Chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD) visits the DFP (German Football Association) headquarters on Tuesday. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Sebastian Gollnow

Germany’s women would have received €60,000 each if they had triumphed at the tournament, while the men would have received €400,000 each had they prevailed at the Euros last year.

Bernd Neuendorf, president of the DFB, said he understood the argument “that equal work and success should also have the same value”.

“I’m willing to discuss in our committees whether our payment system is up to date or whether it should be adjusted,” he said.

Germany coach Martina Voss-Tecklenburg suggested that international footballers’ wages could be evened out by paying women more and men less.

Officials must now “follow up with action” after the meeting, she said in an interview with the ZDF broadcaster.

Scholz said he was “very, very proud” of the women’s performance at the Euros, even if “it didn’t quite work out”.

“I hope it will have a long-lasting effect, not only on the players themselves… but also on football in Germany,” he said.