For members


‘Deutschlandticket’: What you need to know about Germany’s new €49 travel ticket

Germany has officially welcomed the follow-up to this summer’s €9 travel ticket: a nationwide €49 monthly ticket set to come into effect early next year. Here's what you need to know.

'Deutschlandticket': What you need to know about Germany's new €49 travel ticket
A regional train in Groß Brütz, Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Jens Büttner

The new ticket was agreed upon Wednesday between Germany’s federal and state governments.

The newly dubbed “Deutschlandticket” is slated to come into circulation at the beginning of January, said Federal Transport Minister Volker Wissing (FDP) at the discussion round.

“Now the way is clear for the biggest public transport fare reform in Germany,” he said.

However, some of the ministers, such as Baden-Württemberg state premier Winfried Kretschmann of the Greens, remained sceptical that the ticket would really be issued by the slated date, stating that the spring of 2023 was more likely for a roll-out.

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

How does it work?

The digital Deutschlandticket, which is to be valid all throughout Germany, will be available for an introductory price of €49 per month through a subscription that can be cancelled monthly, as opposed to yearly like other existing transport subscriptions.

While it’s not yet possible to purchase the ticket, sales will likely begin two weeks before the ticket is introduced. 

As with its €9 predecessor, it can be used for all local transport (U-Bahn, S-Bahn, and trams) as well as Deutsche Bahn regional trains.

The aim of the ticket, according to the state and federal ministers, is to boost the attractiveness of public transport while also massively cutting down on carbon emissions. 

But for people in Germany, its biggest goal is to relieve the financial burden of public transport, with many local tickets alone costing between €80 and €100 per month. 

The Deutschlandticket itself is expected to cost the government a total of €3 million, with half to be taken up at the federal level and half at the state level.

The new ticket ties in with a larger plan to bolster public transport. The government has also vowed to set aside a further billion per year for the regional expansion of local transport. From 2023 onward, this is to be increased by three percent a year.

Passengers exit an U-Bahn train in Berlin

Passengers exit an U-Bahn train at Zoologischer Garten. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Jörg Carstensen

Could the ticket become more expensive (or cheaper)?

Germany’s transport ministers are planning a two-year introductory phase for the Deutschlandticket. Starting the second year, however, the ticket could become more expensive in order to compensate for inflation.

The ministers also said they hoped the ticket itself would help keep inflation in check – but economists were more sceptical.

Holger Schmieding, chief economist at Berenberg Bank, said that the inflation rate – currently a staggering 10 percent — will be depressed “only to a small extent,” “perhaps by 0.1 percentage points.”

Some were also critical that the new ticket was too expensive, pointing out that not all people in Germany could afford to fork out over €49 a month.

 “That’s why we continue to call for a €365 ticket. One euro per day for mobility, that would really be socially acceptable,” said Germany’s Sozialverband after the meeting.

Picking up speed

The managing director of the Pro-Rail Alliance, Dirk Flege, said the new ticket showed that the €9 ticket in the summer was not a one-time phenomenon. 

“Rather, the federal and state governments are now jointly taking into account the will of the people, who have impressively demonstrated that they want to take more buses and trains if the framework conditions are right,” he said.

In June, July and August, the €9 ticket allowed passengers to travel on buses and trains for one month each. A full 50 million were sold, covering one billion trips per month. 

A total of 1.8 million tonnes of CO2 were also saved during the three month period, according to German transport companies association (VDV). 

As a successor, the state of Berlin has already introduced a €29 ticket, as well as a €9 ‘social ticket’, which is also set to go into effect next year.

READ ALSO: How will Berlin’s new 29 travel ticket work?

Jens Hilgenberg, head of transport policy at BUND, said that public transport is the backbone of the ‘mobility turnaround’ and therefore needs further, additional sources of funding. Among other things, revenue from a toll for trucks would have to be used to support its expansion. 

According to a survey conducted by the opinion research institute Civey for Spiegel, most Germans are looking forward to the ticket: 55 percent of people rated the new ticket ‘very or somewhat’ positive, with only 23 percent giving it a negative assessment. Only 23 percent view the ticket negatively.

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For members


5 tips for stress-free train travel in Germany over Christmas

Despite laying on more trains, Germany’s national rail operator Deutsche Bahn is still expecting delays and full carriages over the holiday season. Here's what's going on and how you can save money and stress on your travels.

5 tips for stress-free train travel in Germany over Christmas

What will the train travel situation look like over Christmas?

In mid-December, Deutsche Bahn’s new timetable will start, meaning an additional 40,000 seats will be available over Christmas. About 800 new employees will also join the service team by December 24th.

Deutsche Bahn’s board member for long-distance transport told Bild am Sonntag that these measures mean that Deutsche Bahn “is well prepared for Christmas”.

READ ALSO: EXPLAINED: How Germany’s long-distance train services will change from December

Karl-Peter Naumann, Chairman of the passenger association Pro Bahn is also advising travellers to take the train instead of the car over the holidays: “It’s probably even more crowded on the roads,” he said.

However, December is always a very busy time on the trains and both Deutsche Bahn and Pro Bahn advise travellers to be prepared for delays and busy trains. Here are five useful tips for travellers to keep in mind.

1. Book in advance

Train travel over the holidays is popular, which means tickets sell out fast or get expensive very quickly.

Ticket prices are also about to increase, as the so-called flex fares will rise by an average of almost seven percent from December 11th.

A man enters a train carriage in Lübeck. Photo: picture alliance/dpa/dpa-tmn | Christin Klose

However, the saver and super-saver prices will remain unchanged, so if you book early enough you might even snap up a ticket on a long route for €17.90.

2. Book a seat

If you don’t want to stand for three hours or be asked to move halfway through your journey by another passenger telling you “that’s my seat” – book your seat in advance.

On most Deutsche Bahn trains, the ticket itself doesn’t include a seat and you need to add this as an extra. Prices for seats start at €4.50 and you can usually choose which type of carriage you want to sit in and whether you have a window, aisle or table seat.

Families with young children can also book a “Familienbereich” for €9, which is a closed-off section which includes enough space for a pram, and built-in toys.

3. Avoid travel at the busiest times

If you want to book a ticket from Berlin to Cologne on the Friday afternoon before Christmas Eve you will have to fork out at least €100, even at the super saver price. Such popular times are expensive and have already been booked way in advance – so it’s worth considering travelling at a less popular time.

On the display in the DB Navigator app, a travel plan indicates the possibly high capacity for the connection between Berlin-Gesundbrunnen and Stralsund. Photo: picture alliance/dpa/dpa-Zentralbild | Georg Hilgemann

If you can, try to avoid the Friday and Saturday before the holidays and take a day’s holiday earlier, when tickets are cheaper and the trains aren’t so full.

It’s also worth considering travelling during off-peak hours. “You can also leave at five in the morning and continue sleeping on the train,” says Karl-Peter Naumann from Pro Bahn.

4. Plan for delays

Plan for longer connecting times or book direct connections if possible, as every change of train involves a risk.

READ ALSO: Rail travel chaos looms in Germany’s most populous state

When booking your train online, you can see how many connections are included in the trip and also how long you will have to change trains. If the change time is less than ten minutes, it may be worth booking an earlier connecting train, as delays could lead to you missing the next train.

5. Stay informed

Just because you now have a seat and are on the booked train doesn’t mean there can’t be any more surprises. Stay up to date, by activating “Trip notifications” in the DB Navigator app and check the local transport authority’s website the day before you travel. 

READ ALSO: ‘Deutschlandticket’: What you need to know about Germany’s new €49 travel ticket