The sale of cheap tickets for regional transport throughout Germany is to start next Monday. But first the law must be sealed. Can everything still burst?
In the preparations for the 9-euro monthly tickets for buses and trains over the summer, the federal states are still under pressure to approve. On Tuesday, the Bundestag’s transport committee approved the draft law by the SPD, Greens and FDP to finance the special campaign.
Accordingly, 2.5 billion euros are still planned to compensate for loss of income, as the press service of the Bundestag announced. The federal government wants to give a further 1.2 billion euros to compensate for losses at transport providers due to the Corona crisis, in which passengers stayed away. The countries demanded more money. However, representatives of the traffic light coalition are now campaigning for support.
Law in the Bundestag and Bundesrat this week
The Bundestag is to pass the law this Thursday, and the Bundesrat will decide on Friday. SPD parliamentary group deputy Detlef Müller called on the states to approve. “Then ticket sales can start on Monday,” he told the German Press Agency. He knows that the federal states structurally need more funds for local public transport. “But it’s not wise to risk the ticket failing with tactical games right to the end.” FDP parliamentary group leader Christian Dürr said that with the ticket you can use local transport in an uncomplicated and very cheap way. “Everyone is encouraged to try it out. And the Federal Council should also pave the way for this.”
The federal states had repeatedly demanded that the federal government increase the so-called regionalization funds even more, with which transport services can be ordered from providers. Some states had already threatened to reject it in the Bundesrat. The transport industry also called for additional financial commitments beyond the special campaign. Because in addition to a loss of income, there will be additional expenses in operation – for example for additional staff and vehicles if there is an expected large number of passengers.
In June, July and August, the special tickets are intended to enable travel in local and regional transport throughout Germany – for 9 euros a month each, which is much cheaper than normal monthly tickets. This is part of the coalition’s relief package for high energy prices. At the same time, it should be a trial campaign to attract more passengers and encourage them to switch from their cars.
Ticket as a relief measure
SPD faction deputy Müller thanked the transport associations across the country, which “get such a mega-project off the ground in no time at all”. The many municipal transport companies have made enormous efforts that should now be rewarded. In general, better financial support for public transport is needed, as is also stated in the coalition agreement. “And we stand by what was agreed.” At the same time, the ticket is also a relief measure in view of the price increases resulting from the Ukraine war. “If the countries don’t want that, they have to explain it to their citizens.”
Saxony-Anhalt wants to approve the plans in the Bundesrat, as a government spokesman announced after an agreement in the cabinet. Saxony and Thuringia left their voting behavior open for the time being. Baden-Württemberg’s Prime Minister Winfried Kretschmann (Greens) demanded more money from the federal government and made it clear that the ticket would not solve the general financing problems of public transport. “There’s no point in lighting a flash in the pan and then it breaks out again afterwards.” He would like a longer-term perspective. It is nevertheless clear that the 9-euro ticket must now also be implemented. “People have already prepared for it.”
Irrespective of the additional funds now planned, the federal government is providing around ten billion euros for local transport this year.