A week after the introduction of the nine-euro ticket, Federal Transport Minister Volker Wissing (FDP) announced far-reaching reforms for permanently more attractive local public transport in Germany. “We have to seize the opportunity to get more people excited about public transport,” he told the German Press Agency. “Our public transport offer should be more understandable, more uniform and thus more customer-friendly.”
Wissing spoke out in favor of user-friendly local transport apps and simpler tariffs. In addition, small-scale structures would have to be broken up. “Uniform tariffs, offers across transport associations, that is also real added value for customers,” said the minister. “People don’t live in tariff zones. People want to get from A to B. All the technical things that play a role in the background have to become invisible to users.”
With the nine-euro ticket, you can use all local trains nationwide in June, July and August. On the first weekend after the introduction, the trains were sometimes overcrowded. “During the peak travel times, demand on the main routes was so high that trains could not depart,” said Karl-Peter Naumann from the Pro Bahn passenger association. In some cases, bicycle transport has been suspended.
Before the expected wave of return trips on Monday, Deutsche Bahn only said: “As expected, there were and are regional peaks in passenger numbers, especially to tourist destinations.” Overall, stable rail operations are recorded nationwide.
The transport policy spokeswoman for the SPD in the Bundestag, Dorothee Martin, told the Tagesspiegel: “Nobody expected empty trains on the Pentecost weekend. The launch of the nine-euro ticket is a huge success.” She welcomes the fact that there is now a fundamental debate about the future of public transport. “Tickets and fare systems are still too complicated, especially in many non-city states, and need to be simplified and standardized. I see the state transport ministers and their transport associations as having a primary responsibility here,” said Martin.
The transport policy spokesman for the Greens, Stefan Gelbhaar, made a similar statement: “The transport associations must provide more buses and trains and work on common, simple ticket prices,” he told the Tagesspiegel. By 2030, passenger numbers will need to double in order to achieve the Paris climate targets.
SPD politician Martin believes that a “social design of ticket prices” is necessary. “The federal government must get more involved in public transport financing, but the federal states and local authorities are also required to do so.”
The Berliner Verkehrsbetriebe (BVG) do not think much of the continuation of the nationwide uniform tariff offer. Internally, there is concern that the company could permanently lose high income from tourists from Germany.
The basis for the acceptance is the evaluation of the “Germany subscription”, with which public transport subscribers were able to use local transport throughout Germany for two weeks last year. The Berlin Senate Transport Administration recently wrote in a report to the House of Representatives that there was “significantly greater use in metropolises and above all in Berlin”. The losses were not compensated then as now.