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Reader question: Will tourists or visitors in Germany be able to use the €49 ticket?

Aaron Burnett
Aaron Burnett - [email protected]
Reader question: Will tourists or visitors in Germany be able to use the €49 ticket?
Passengers wait for the train in Frankfurt. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Arne Dedert

With a rollout now announced for May 1st, there’s nothing – so far – saying that visitors can’t use the national public transport ticket along with residents. But some practicalities might make it harder.


Federal and state transport ministers have finally laid to rest the ongoing question of when the €49 successor to last summer’s popular €9 ticket will start. Over the weekend, they pledged that the ticket would – as rumoured – come into effect May 1st.

The ticket will allow holders to travel on local and regional public transport anywhere around the country for €49 a month. Higher speed trains though, like Inter-City trains on Deutsche Bahn, will be exempt from the ticket. So if you want one of those, you’ll have to pay full fare as normal.

In general, the ticket will require a subscription. But you can cancel that on a monthly basis. So if you were willing to pay at least €49 for a full month, could you theoretically use it as a visitor for a month and just cancel it for when you left the country?


The Local contacted regional public transport authorities around the country and received replies from Cologne, Frankfurt, Munich, and Berlin and Brandenburg’s combined VBB.

As of now, the authorities say, there is no rule against a non-resident purchasing and using a €49 ticket when it becomes available - although it's still not precisely clear when the ticket will go on sale ahead of the May 1st rollout.

However, the subscription model and logistical setup of the ticket could make it difficult to access for anyone who doesn’t have a German – or at least European – bank account.

A regional train in Hamburg.

A regional train in Hamburg. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Daniel Bockwoldt

This can depend on where you purchase the ticket. A €49 ticket, once bought and subscribed to, can be used anywhere around the country. But you'll still have to buy it from a regional transport authority. Berlin and Brandenburg’s VBB only allows you to pay for subscription tickets using a direct debit from your bank account. They don’t take credit cards. What’s more, according to their online form, that bank account must be European.

READ ALSO: How employees in Germany could get a discount on the €49 ticket

Generally, someone who wants to open a bank account in Germany must first be registered as a resident in Germany. That means many visitors to Germany may simply not have the payment method to actually buy the ticket from VBB.

Frankfurt, however, may be a different story. The RMV transport authority there tells The Local the €49 ticket will be available for purchase within its app – where, you can either provide your bank info for a direct debt or a credit card. Depending on what credit cards they accept, it may end up being practically possible for a visitor to Germany to buy a €49 ticket from Frankfurt but not from Berlin – even though the ticket itself is valid in both these places.

Where can you buy it and how will it be available?

Not all transport authorities will allow you to buy subscription tickets from ticket machines. Berlin, for example, only allows you to subscribe to its current €29 ticket online or in a service centre after you fill out the necessary forms.

This may be different depending on the city, so it’s worth checking the local situation wherever you land.

Lastly, it’s important to note that local and regional transport authorities are still working to iron out several details before May 1st, including precisely how the ticket will be available – such as whether a paper ticket will be available as a transitional measure. Certain details could change between now and then.

READ ALSO: Will Germany’s €49 public transport ticket launch on May 1st? 



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Deb Turner 2023/02/01 06:27
Thank You Aaron!!

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