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EU Urban Mobility Observatory
News article23 November 20233 min read

Germany’s €49 public transport ticket remains, but its price remains uncertain after 2024

The German federal and state governments have agreed: the Deutschlandticket (Germany ticket) should be retained. However, numerous uncertainties persist, primarily revolving around the future pricing structure of the ticket.

Introduced on 1 May 2023, the Deutschlandticket, also known as the D-Ticket, has garnered significant popularity. Currently priced at a flat rate of €49 per month, travellers across Germany enjoy access to regional and local public transport, irrespective of the state in which they travel or the transport association from which they acquired the ticket.

According to VDV, the German Association of Transport Companies, up to eleven million customers have taken advantage of the new offer since its introduction in May, with 8% being newcomers to public transport.

Stemming from the successful €9 ticket in the summer of 2022, which saw 52 million sales, the Deutschlandticket is intended to build on the success of this earlier temporary campaign. Aligned with the €9 ticket's objective, the Deutschlandticket seeks to ease the financial strain on citizens amid escalating energy prices. Simultaneously, it endeavors to enhance the appeal of public transport, and encourage a shift from private cars to buses and trains in support of climate goals.

Despite its success, the continuation of the Deutschlandticket beyond this year has been the subject of a lot of debate, with concerns over its financial sustainability and disagreement about the financial contributions to its operation that should be made by federal and state governments.

There have been weeks of debate, and there were even warnings about an end to the Deutschlandticket. However, the federal and state governments have now resolved their dispute and have identified critical steps for the future financing of the Deutschlandticket. An agreement stipulates the importance of the ticket's continuity, with plans to establish its long-term financing by the spring of 2024. However, it remains to be seen whether the ticket will still cost €49 per month.

However, it is now at least clear that financing for 2024 has been secured, as the federal and state governments are each making €1.5 billion available to fund the ticket and the additional costs for 2024 will be covered by funds that were not used in 2023. However, it is not yet possible to quantify what additional costs there will actually be. The federal and state governments are therefore aiming for a precise accounting for 2023 and 2024, once final data for both years are available. According to a forecast by VDV, losses for the industry this year are likely to be €2.3 billion, even though the ticket was only available from the beginning of May. For the whole of 2024, losses could be up to €4.1 billion. With €6 billion in subsidies identified for 2023 and 2024, there could still be a funding gap of €400 million.

The additional funds now available for 2024 are a good signal and an important step for the short-term survival of the Deutschlandticket,” said Ingo Wortmann, President of VDV. "However, this does not provide a final and complete answer to the financing question." The funds now made available would probably not be sufficient for the entire coming year. “With this decision, the debate about the future of the ticket is being extended,” Wortmann continued.

The Conference of Transport Ministers now needs to develop a concept for the implementation of the ticket from next year onwards. This is to be presented before 1 May 2024, when the ticket will be one year old. This will consider “including a mechanism for updating the ticket price, which may also include an increase,” according to government circles. In other words, the ticket will probably become more expensive so that it can continue to be offered. Behind the government scenes it is said: “We deliberately called the ticket D-Ticket and not 49-Ticket because a higher price could not be ruled out from the start.”

Sources

Details

Publication date
23 November 2023
Topic
  • Collective passenger transport
Country
  • Germany