Status: 07/23/2022 08:32
Demand for the €9 note is still huge, but it expires at the end of August. There are still a few challenges ahead on the way to a successor model. Funding and timing are still unclear.
Prior to its introduction, the €9 ticket was met with a great deal of skepticism – it is now considered a success as it has persuaded millions to switch to buses and trains. This means that customers can use local public transport inexpensively throughout Germany. In June alone, more than 20 million €9 tickets were sold. There are also those who already had a subscription to public transport and who benefit from the reduced rate. In the discussion about a successor model, however, there are still several open points.
It already seems clear: in the long term, there will probably no longer be a national public transport ticket at nine euros per month. This cannot be financed in the long term – “also in view of the sharp increase in energy, personnel and material costs for transport companies”, according to the Association of German Transport Companies (VDV). The VDV, which brings together various regional transport companies, therefore offers a “climate ticket” at 69 euros per month.
Bavarian Prime Minister Markus Söder (CSU) has come out in favor of an annual public transport subscription of 365 euros, which would cost around 30 euros per month. In addition, there are also requests to simply extend the existing 9 euro ticket permanently at the current price.
The Confederation is currently financing the additional costs of the 9 euro note as part of its energy aid plan. For the months of June to August, the Federal Ministry of Transport forecasts costs amounting to 2.5 billion euros.
How a successor model could be funded is currently still open. Federal Transport Minister Volker Wissing (FDP) sees the Länder on the train: “Now we have to see how the Länder want to finance it, because it is up to the Länder to organize public transport”, said Mr Wissing . With its proposal for a ticket at 69 euros, the VDV expects an additional cost “of the order of two billion euros” per year, but also underlines: “It will not work without the federal government”.
Federal Finance Minister Christian Lindner rejects further financing of the 9 euro note or a follow-up offer. “The 9 euro note is a temporary measure, just like the discount on the tank,” the FDP leader told the newspapers of the Funke media group. “Therefore, neither a continuation of the tank discount nor funds for a follow-up settlement for the 9-euro note are provided for in the federal budget.”
The 9 euro note will expire in a few weeks on August 31. A permanent successor model that then seamlessly connects to the current ticket seems unlikely. Because Federal Transport Minister Wissing does not expect data on experiences with the ticket before the beginning of November, on the basis of which a successor should be decided.
From the beginning of 2023 there could be a national public transport ticket again. However, there is no specific timeline for this. VDV is picking up the pace because the shipping industry needs advance notice. The association proposes an extension of the ticket to 9 euros for a transitional period of two months.
Even before the introduction of the €9 ticket, there had been a strong call for more investment in public transport. The higher number of passengers increases the pressure to act. It also becomes clear how different problem situations are in urban and rural areas. While in town the price is more a factor in attracting road users to buses and trains, the low density and frequency of the transport network poses a problem in the countryside.
This conflict of interests between the city and the countryside is illustrated by the divergent positions of the association of cities and towns and the district council. While the Association of Towns and Municipalities advocates a successor model to the €9 note, the District Council rejects such concepts – on the grounds that public funds for the expansion of public transport would be lacking. Transport companies, Deutsche Bahn and the federal government all stress the importance of infrastructure investment.