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TRAIN TRAVEL

What we know so far about the successor to Germany’s €9 ticket

In a €65 billion relief package announced on Sunday, the German government confirmed that a successor to the €9 ticket was on its way - but a lot is still up in the air. Here's what we know so far about the next travel deal.

Erfurt central train station
A billboard in Erfurt Hauptbahnhof advertises the €9 ticket. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Martin Schutt

When Germany’s governing traffic-light coalition announced its decision to launch a €9 per month ticket over summer, nobody predicted what a stir the ultra-cheap travel deal would create.

According to the Association of German Transport Companies (VDV), 52 million tickets were sold between June and August, with around one billion journeys being made on the public transport networks each month. 

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In fact, the €9 ticket has been so popular that the government is now under huge pressure to replace it with another attractive offer. And while this hasn’t happened immediately, it appears that a new ticket is definitely in the pipeline. 

Unfortunately, we havent been given all the juicy details yet – but there are some initial hints about what it might look like. Here’s what we know so far.

What has the government announced?

In its €65 billion relief package announced on Sunday, the traffic-light coalition said it would set aside €1.5 billion for a “cheap and nationally valid successor to the €9 ticket”.

“The temporary €9 ticket for the months of June to September was a great success,” it stated in its summary of relief measures. “It was well received by citizens and significantly curbed their spending on mobility. Therefore, a nationwide local transport ticket is to be introduced.”

Transport Minister Volker Wissing (FDP) has said he expects the federal states to match the government’s €1.5 billion investment – bringing the total state funding for the new ticket up to a minimum of €3 billion.

Of course, there’s no guarantee that the states will be happy with this, so there could be fireworks at the next transport ministers’ meeting in October. 

How much will the ticket cost?

Given that the cost of the €9 ticket was one of its major selling points, it’s slightly odd that we haven’t yet heard how much the new ticket will actually be sold for.

However, the summary of relief measures states that the price is likely to be somewhere between €49 and €69. According to a report in Business Insider, the lower-end price of €49 is apparently favoured by the Greens and SPD, but €60 is currently the most likely price. 

The Association of German Transport Companies previously pitched an idea for €69 national transport ticket. 

A lot depends on how much funding the states are willing to pour into the transport networks to make up for the shortfall, which means nothing is set in stone right now. 

Where would the ticket be valid? 

The new ticket has been described as a “nationwide local transport ticket”, which sounds fairly similar to the €9 ticket. 

It means that the ticket would be valid all over Germany, but only on the local transport networks rather than long-distance trains. At the moment it’s unclear whether it would also be valid for regional trains like the €9 ticket was. 

Passengers board a tram in Halle, Saxony-Anhalt.

Passengers board a tram in Halle, Saxony-Anhalt. The new ticket is set to be valid on local transport nationwide. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Jens Schlüter

It seems that a priority for the government is simplifying the tariff system in general to make it more understandable and usable for customers. The Greens have already pitched a simplified version of Germany’s tariff system that would see multiple transport regions – such as Berlin and Brandenburg – merged together to form just eight zones. 

READ ALSO: How the Greens want to replace Germany’s €9 ticket deal

Wissing has also repeatedly stressed the need to simplify the current price structure. 

“We need more digitalisation, more simplification, better tickets, and of course the pricing must also be attractive in the end,” the FDP politician said in a recent interview with Deutschlandfunk. “There has to be another more modern ticket, and that is why we will work to ensure that there is no reversion to the old fare structures.”

The summary of relief measures states that the federal and state governments “will promptly develop a joint concept for a nationwide, digitally bookable subscription ticket”, adding that “various models are being discussed”. 

When will it arrive?

According to the Transport Ministry, the aim is to bring in the new ticket by January 1st, 2023, leaving the federal and state governments just under four months to thrash out the details and sort out the logistical stuff.

When will we know more? 

Since local transport is the domain of the federal states, many of the current questions will have to be clarified at the meeting of the federal and state transport ministers on October 12th and 13th.

That means we should hopefully get some clarity on things like the price of the new ticket around the middle of October.

Of course, that partly depends on how cooperative the state governments are: back in spring, when the government was attempting to launch the €9 ticket, the states threatened to block the new deal over funding squabbles.

Given the success of the €9 ticket over summer, however, things are likely to be slightly different this time around. We’ll keep you updated. 

READ ALSO: Germany will see €9 ticket follow-up, says Transport Minister 

Member comments

  1. Idea: Make a 50/70 price but add a season discount. 20% cheaper in the summer and 20% more expensive in the winter.

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TRAVEL NEWS

EXPLAINED: How will Berlin’s new €29 transport ticket work?

Germany’s capital launched its follow-up to the €9 ticket on Tuesday, but the ticket will only be valid for those with subscriptions. Here’s what you need to know.

EXPLAINED: How will Berlin’s new €29 transport ticket work?

Tickets for the new €29 Berlin city ticket went on sale on Tuesday and eager passengers will be wondering how they can get their hands on the discount offer. However, unlike the nationwide €9 ticket, Berlin’s travel deal will only be valid in the AB fare zone of Berlin and for customers with a yearly subscription.

Why has Berlin brought in the ticket?

The Berlin state government and transport companies in Berlin developed the ticket to set an example for climate protection and make public transportation more attractive for Berliners. The state of Berlin is financing the offer which will bridge the gap between the end of the €9 ticket offer and a nationwide successor which should arrive in January.

READ ALSO: Berlin gets green light to launch €29 transport ticket

Where and when will the ticket be valid?

The €29 ticket will be valid on all buses, trams, U-bahns and S-bahns within the AB fare zone in the city of Berlin. Those wanting to travel into the C zone will need to buy an extension ticket.

Who is the ticket for?

Some people might be disappointed to find out that the ticket will only be available as part of a yearly subscription. All other tickets will retain their usual prices.

That means that people won’t be able to buy a monthly ticket for €29 unless it’s part of a yearly package, so certain groups of people, such as tourists, may not benefit from the offer.

From October 1st to December 31st, 2022, the monthly price for the following subscriptions in the Berlin AB fare zone will be reduced to €29:

–   VBB-Umweltkarten subscriptions with monthly and annual payments

–   10 o’clock ticket subscriptions with monthly and annual payments

–   VBB company tickets with monthly and yearly payments

–   Education monthly subscription ticket with monthly payments

The offer will not apply to ABC semester tickets. 

How will payment for the ticket work?

According to information from BVG, subscribers who pay monthly will automatically be charged the lower amount, while compensation for those who pay annually is expected to arrive at the end of the promotional period.

Can I get a yearly subscription starting from October and still benefit?

Yes. If you sign up for a yearly subscription on the BVG or VBB website, starting from October, you will be charged the lower price for the first three months of the subscription. If you start in November or December, you will pay the lower price for just those months. 

What happens once the promotion is over?

For those who don’t cancel their subscription by December 31st, their subscription contract will run for a total of 12 months. However, passengers can also switch to another VBB fare product, to another fare zone or to the successor product to the €9 ticket, which is expected to be valid throughout Germany from January 1st.

READ ALSO: Germany to set out plans for €49 transport ticket in October

When can the subscription be cancelled?

It seems that people will be able to cancel their yearly subscriptions. The BVG website says: “If we were not able to convince you of our performance and you decide not to continue the subscription beyond the promotional period, you can cancel your subscription at any time at the end of the month without any disadvantages.”

Vocabulary

Subscription – (das) Abonnement

Extension ticket – (der) Anschlussfahrausweis

Yearly – jährlich

Monthly – monatlich

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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