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What's the deadline for ordering - or cancelling - Germany's €49 travel ticket?

Imogen Goodman
Imogen Goodman - [email protected]
What's the deadline for ordering - or cancelling - Germany's €49 travel ticket?
A man holds a phone with his digital 'D-ticket' at a train station in Essen. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Fabian Strauch

Germany's much-awaited €49 transport ticket is on its way, but a lot of people are unaware that there are strict deadlines for setting up (and terminating) your Abo. Here's how to navigate those oh-so-German subscription rules.

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In less than a week's time, the €49 'Deutschlandticket' will launch in Germany. As the follow-up to last year's €9 ticket, it promises to simplify the transport tariffs and offer nationwide travel for an affordable monthly price.

But there are key differences. Whereas you could pick up your €9 ticket on a whim at any U-Bahn or train station - or simply grab a mobile ticket on the go - the €49 ticket has to be purchased as an 'Abo'.

That means that you'll need to purchase it the month before you want to use it, and if you don't cancel in time, you'll be billed for another month after that. 

READ ALSO: Reader Question: Can I take an ICE train in Germany with a €49 ticket?

Anyone who's been in Germany a little while will know that the rules around subscriptions and other contracts can be pretty strict. Unfortunately, the €49 ticket is no exception - and in this case some of the rules also seem a little bit, well, odd.

If you're keen to get hold of the Deutschlandticket - or are wondering about cancelling it - here are the deadlines you need to know.

Setting up your subscription

There are a few different ways to get hold of the €49 ticket: online on the Deutsche Bahn website or via their app, or alternatively via a local transport operator like Munich's MVV, Frankfurt's RMV or Berlin and Brandenburg's BVG. 

Though the ticket was originally conceived as a mobile only ticket, federal and state transport ministers ultimately decided to make it more accessible by offering a chip card alternative that you can purchase at ticket offices in train stations.

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To make things just that little bit more confusing, however, it's recently become clear that different rules apply when purchasing the ticket from different operators. 

In Berlin, for example, people usually have to set up their subscription for the next month by the 10th of the previous month. However, to give people a bit more leeway, this was extended to the 20th April for people who wanted to purchase their Deutschlandticket ('D-ticket') for May. 

People who missed this deadline have still been given the chance to get a chip card at a ticket office until May 1st, but those who were keen for a mobile ticket have unfortunately missed the boat.

A slightly more relaxed deadline applies in Munich: people who want to buy their ticket for May via MVV have until April 25th to do so. But what happens if you miss out and still want to travel with the €49 ticket next month?

READ ALSO: State by state: Who will get a discount on Germany's €49 transport ticket?

An S-Bahn train in Cologne.

An S-Bahn train in Cologne. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Henning Kaiser

Well, the good news is that you still have options. Deutsche Bahn, for example, lets you set up a subscription anytime before the beginning of May - so those who've missed the deadline can simply use the DB app or website to get their ticket. 

There are also alternative apps such as Mo.pla, which allow you to purchase a ticket not only anytime in the previous month, but anytime in the current month as well. Since the D-ticket is organised by calendar months, you won't get a full month of travel even if you buy your May ticket halfway through May, but it could still be worth it if you're planning a long trip. 

Cancelling your subscription

For anyone planning to switch to the €49 ticket long-term, the process is pretty simple: you set up your subscription and let it renew automatically each month. 

But what if you'll be abroad for a month and want to cancel the subscription temporarily? Or if you only need the ticket for a month or two of train travel over summer? 

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Well, the good news is that the ticket is available on a rolling monthly basis - so if you just need it for a short time, you'll be fully entitled to cancel it. 

The bad news, though, is that the deadline for doing so is the 10th calendar day of the previous month. So, for example, if you only want the ticket for June and not July, you'll need to cancel by June 10th to avoid the subscription renewing automatically. 

This rule is likely to catch quite a few people out. 

READ ALSO: Who benefits the most (and least) from Germany’s new €49 ticket?

Plans to rejig the Deutschlandticket

Even ahead of its launch, there are plans afoot to tweak the way the €49 ticket works in the future.

As it stands, the ticket is organised in a similar way to last summer's €9 ticket in that it's valid for the calendar month rather than than a four-week or 30-day period after purchase.

Berlin's S-Bahn in summer.

Berlin's S-Bahn in summer. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Christoph Soeder

That of course means that if you manage to get hold of a ticket on May 17th, for example, you would pay full price for the last two weeks or the month and would then need to buy a new ticket.

This could all change in 2024. At the turn of the year, the government plans to switch to a more flexible model where customers can purchase their Deutschlandticket halfway through the month and it will run through to the same date next month. 

This is similar to how most other transport subscriptions run in Germany at the moment. 

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Useful vocabulary

subscription - (das) Abo

cancel - kündigen 

deadline - (die) Frist

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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Comments (1)

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himmelKommt 2023/04/25 14:58
wow so nice of you to publish this article 5 days before May, when all the deadlines have passed. Would not it be better to publish it 3 weeks before?
  • Imogen Goodman 2023/04/26 10:37
    Hi there. This is something we ourselves were only made aware of in recent days, but as the article explains, there are still options for buying the ticket on the DB app or on other mobile apps, or as a chip card as ticket offices - even as late as next month. We think that's helpful information for people who may have missed the other deadlines and are unsure what to do.

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