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Could Germany’s €49 public transport ticket soon get more expensive?

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The Local ([email protected])
Could Germany’s €49 public transport ticket soon get more expensive?
Passengers enter the U-Bahn train in Stuttgart. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Bernd Weißbrod

The Deutschlandticket, which allows bearers to use all local and regional public transport nationwide for €49 a month, isn’t even a month old. Despite its popularity, it could already be in for some changes – including a price hike.

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After months of delays and wrangling between federal and state governments, Deutsche Bahn, as well local and regional transport associations, saw a launch this month that crashed websites and overwhelmed service centres with demand.

Munich’s MVG transport authority alone recently sold its 250,000th Deutschlandticket. Nationwide, over three million people have bought it at last count. That includes at least 750,000 people who have never taken out a public transport subscription before.

READ ALSO: Demand for Germany's €49 transport ticket crashes Deutsche Bahn website

After the initial chaos of the ticket’s rollout, people in Germany may have been hoping for a honeymoon period of cheap, uncomplicated public transport.

But MVG boss Ingo Wortmann says it’ll likely be short-lived. He’s expecting a price hike already for January 2024 – less than a year after the €49 ticket was introduced.

Ultimately, it comes down to the fact that local and regional transport companies are taking in way less in income from ticket sales than they used to. “So far politics has absorbed this difference,” he told Munich’s Abendzeitung.

But he says that probably won’t last forever, given higher inflation, material costs, and personnel costs from having to pay higher wages to keep up with cost of living. Unless federal and state governments are willing to keep picking up the tab, there would be no choice but to raise the price.

READ ALSO: INTERVIEW: ‘Germany’s €49 public transport ticket is not a game changer’

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What other changes could the Deutschlandticket potentially see?

On a more positive note, the nationwide Deutschlandticket could see one big change that would bring it more in line with other public transport subscriptions available locally or regionally – the ability to take someone with you at certain times.

Many public transport associations in Germany have monthly subscriptions that allow you to bring one other adult and up to three children between the ages of six and 14 with you on weekends, holidays, or after 8pm on weekdays. So far though, this isn’t available for Deutschlandticket subscribers. The ticket only ever covers them and no one else.

There’s a chance that could change next year.

The federal traffic light coalition is currently working on a “family-friendly rule” for the Deutschlandticket, to come into effect from January 2024.

“It’ll be a big help for families who have to organise their lives without a car,” says Julia Verlinden, Deputy Chief Whip of the Greens in the Bundestag.

All changes, however, whether relating to any increases in price or family-friendly tickets – would have to be agreed between the federal and state governments, as well as the country’s hundreds of transport companies.

READ ALSO: How Berlin could reintroduce the €29 ticket for residents

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