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Will Germany's €49 ticket be continued?

The Local Germany
The Local Germany - [email protected]
Will Germany's €49 ticket be continued?
A man holds a smartphone featuring the new "D-Ticket", which went on sale Monday, April 3rd. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Fabian Strauch

There were weeks of controversy and even warnings of its cancellation: but on early Tuesday morning, federal and state governments decided on further steps to fund Germany’s €49 ticket, or Deutschlandticket. 

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For example, unspent funds from state budgets 2023 can be used in the coming year to cover any additional costs. 

The monthly ticket allows for unlimited travel around Germany on all local and regional transport, and currently counts more than 11 million subscribers, according to the ADAC travel association. 

In early 2024, the federal and Germany's 16 state governments want to reach an agreement on further funding "including a mechanism for updating the ticket price, which may also include an increase", they added. 

They also emphasis that they want “to simplify the ticket and make it more digital.” Currently the D-Ticket, as it is also dubbed, can already be purchased through various apps, with the QR code scanned every time a person is controlled on public transport.

Additional funding

The federal and state governments also reaffirmed their commitment to provide €1.5 billion each for the ticket in the coming year. The money is to be used to compensate for the loss of revenue for bus and rail operators - and to avoid additional funding by using the remaining funds from 2023.

It is not yet possible to quantify the actual additional costs. The governments are therefore aiming for a precise "peak calculation" for 2023 and 2024, which will be made by the states once final data is available for both years.

According to a forecast by the Association of Transport Companies, the losses for the industry as a whole are likely to amount to €2.3 billion this year. The Deutschlandticket was launched at the beginning of May 2023.

By the end of 2024, the figure is expected to rise €4.1 billion. With €6 billion in subsidies for 2023 and 2024, the bottom line could be a gap of €400 million.

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Still, Federal Transport Minister Volker Wissing (FDP) welcomed the agreement between the federal and state governments. 

"I am now calling on the state transport ministers to work objectively on the success of the Deutschlandticket and to stop unnecessarily  questioning it," he said. 

“Apart from creating uncertainty among consumers, nothing has been achieved." Wissing said.

Criticism from Greenpeace

The Chairman of the Conference of Minister Presidents, Boris Rhein (CDU) from Hesse, also reaffirmed his commitment to continue the ticket. "We want to continue it," he said at the meeting.

The environmental organization Greenpeace promptly criticized Scholz for praising the Deutschlandticket, but not wanting to pay enough for its costs to stay at the €49 price.

"If customers have to expect a price increase at any time, this will stifle the success of the ticket before it has even really taken off," said Greenpeace transport spokesperson Clara Thompson.

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