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TRAVEL NEWS

Berlin gets green light to launch €29 transport ticket

The German capital's plans for a successor to the €9 ticket got the green light on Thursday, as neighbouring state Brandenburg lifted its opposition.

Passengers use Berlin's U-Bahn network.
Passengers use Berlin's U-Bahn network. The city is bringing in a '€29 ticket' as a follow-up to the €9 ticket. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Jörg Carstensen

After a political struggle, the Berlin-Brandenburg Transport Association (VBB) has agreed to a temporary €29 ticket for the AB fare zone in Berlin. The neighbouring state of Brandenburg, however, will not participate in the ticket.

The plans from the Berlin coalition of Social Democrats (SPD) the Greens and the Left for the €29 ticket had previously been blocked by the district administrator of the Märkisch-Oderland district, Gernot Schmidt. But he announced that he was lifting his veto in an emergency meeting of the VBB supervisory board this Thursday.

READ ALSO: Berlin pushes for €29 regional public transport ticket

A formal decision still has to follow, but the VBB transport authority said the written procedure will be “initiated immediately” and that they will work “at full speed” to get the ticket up and running.

When will the ticket go on sale?

The €29 ticket will be valid for three months – from October until the end of December this year – in Berlin’s AB fare zone. It is intended to bridge the gap until a nationwide successor to the €9 ticket comes into force. 

It is hoped the nationwide ticket will be in place from next year, although no details have been firmed up. 

The €9 monthly ticket was brought in for the months of June, July and August to help people in Germany with rising energy costs. 

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

Under the plan, holders of a Berlin AB season ticket  – known as Abo – will benefit from the discount. Anyone who takes out a new AB subscription will also receive the discount for the three months – and will get a “special right of termination” on December 31st.

However, subscribers to the ABC ticket and the BC ticket will not benefit, as fare zone C is in Brandenburg. According to Rundfunk Berlin Brandenburg, around 850,000 people currently have an AB subscription, including schoolchildren, who get the ticket free of charge. Around 70,000 people have an ABC or a BC season ticket.

READ ALSO: Why some transport users in Germany still haven’t benefited from the €9 ticket 

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TRAIN TRAVEL

Germany’s Deutsche Bahn to raise ticket prices by almost five percent

The cost of long-distance train travel in Germany is to go up significantly from December.

Germany's Deutsche Bahn to raise ticket prices by almost five percent

The price of tickets for long distance rail services run by Deutsche Bahn (DB) in Germany are to go up by an average of 4.9 percent this winter, it has emerged. 

The company said the hikes, which will come into force from December 11th, are in response to high inflation.

Some tickets will see an even higher increase. The price of Flex tickets, which aren’t tied to a specific train and can be cancelled, will increase by an average of 6.9 percent.

The cost of BahnCards 25, 50 and 100, which frequent travellers can use for discounted rates, are also going up by around 4.9 percent.

Super Saver and Saver fares – Sparpreise – are, however, staying the same. They start at €17.90 (or €12.90 for people who are 27 or younger), although these tickets are not offered on every train and come with some restrictions.

Seat reservations will also remain at the same level. It costs €4.50 for second-class seat reservations.

The changes will apply to DB’s long-distance trains – Intercity and Intercity Express (IC and ICE).

READ ALSO: German rail operator plans huge modernisation 

The company said the hikes were happening because of inflation. Like many other companies, Deutsche Bahn was “forced to react to the massive inflation by adjusting its prices,” but the firm said this was still well below the current inflation rate of eight percent.

DB added that the German Tariff Association said at the beginning of September that regional services would see a price increase of four percent on average.

The new long-distance timetable – which will apply from December 11th – can be booked in advance from October 12th, according to Deutsche Bahn.

Up to and including December 10th, the new offers can still be booked at the old price.

Despite major problems with the punctuality of its trains, Deutsche Bahn has recently been able to significantly increase its passenger numbers back to the level it reached before the Covid crisis. However, as one of the biggest consumers of electricity in Germany, it has also been hit hard by rising energy costs. The additional costs for the coming year have been put at two billion euros, said the firm. 

It comes as federal and state leaders are widely expected to agree to a new nationwide successor to the €9 euro ticket, which would cover all regional public transport – including DB’s regional trains – around the country.

According to Transport Minister Volker Wissing (FDP), the government is aiming to introduce the new travel offer by January 1st, 2023. 

READ ALSO: Germany sets out plans for €49 public transport ticket in October

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