German ministers call for 'urgent action' to save €49 transport ticket

Imogen Goodman
Imogen Goodman - [email protected]
German ministers call for 'urgent action' to save €49 transport ticket
A little town in Saxony-Anhalt is the first German municipality to withdraw from the €49 ticket. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Sebastian Gollnow

The future of Germany's €49 public transport pass hangs in the balance after a meeting of federal and state transport ministers on Wednesday and Thursday failed to reach a resolution.


Less than six months after the €49 monthly transport ticket launched in Germany, the future of the travel deal is facing an existential threat.

On Wednesday and Thursday, Federal Transport Minister Volker Wissing, of the Free Democrats (FDP) met with state transport ministers to try and reach a resolution on the financing of the ticket - with little success.

In a resolution published on the second day of the conference, state transport ministers said they were willing to finance half of the subsidy needed for the ticket on a permanent basis. 

In return, the federal government should also commit to putting up half of the costs needed to provide the ticket, the ministers said.

The conference resolution described the €49 ticket - which provides unlimited travel throughout Germany on local and regional transport - as a joint success of the state and federal governments.

"It must be continued jointly and financed sustainably," the ministers claimed.

For the past few months, state transport ministers have been butting heads with Wissing over the additional funding needed to continue offering the subsidised deal.


When the ticket was launched back in May, both state and federal governments agreed to inject €1.5 billion of funding into the project and also put up half of any additional costs incurred by the local transport companies.

Though the €3 billion is guaranteed for 2024 and 2025, transport ministers are at a deadlock over the additional subsidies required in the coming years.

READ ALSO: Why the future of Germany's €49 public transport pass is up in the air

Transport companies have been hit by rising energy and staffing costs and an estimated €1.1 billion of extra funding will be required to offer the ticket in its current form next year.

Hopes had been pinned on October's transport minister conference to find a resolution, but two days of discussion ended without a commitment from Wissing to continue to finance the ticket.

Transport Minister Volker Wissing

Transport Minister Volker Wissing (FDP) speaks at an event for family businesses in Berlin. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Britta Pedersen

"There is enough money for 2023, but not for 2024 and beyond," Bavarian transport minister Christian Bernreiter told regional media outlet Bayern 2 on Thursday.

"If no provision is made, then we will let it expire at the end of the year. This is not an empty threat."

The states claim they need the additional federal funding to enable them to plan financially for the coming years. However, FDP parliamentarians claim that the states are solely responsible for financing their transport offers. 

Speaking to TAZ on Thursday, North Rhine-Wesphalia's transport minister, Oliver Krischer (Greens), said the onus was now on Wissing and the federal government to secure the future of the ticket.

READ ALSO: Public transport use in Germany goes up 'thanks to €49 ticket'


"At this conference, we managed to make the Federal Minister of Transport understand the need for urgent action," Krischer said.

Transport ministers are now set to meet with Chancellor Olaf Scholz, of the Social Democrats (SPD) on November 6th to thrash out a deal to rescue the Deutschlandticket.

Krischer, who chairs the transport ministers' conference, said this was currently the best hope of finding a resolution. 


Join the conversation in our comments section below. Share your own views and experience and if you have a question or suggestion for our journalists then email us at [email protected].
Please keep comments civil, constructive and on topic – and make sure to read our terms of use before getting involved.

Please log in to leave a comment.

See Also