Consumers can buy the so-called 9-euro monthly ticket from Deutsche Bahn from May 23 – provided that the Bundestag and Bundesrat approve the project this week. The ticket is then available via the DB Navigator app and all other digital rail channels, as the group announced on Sunday. “It will also be available at around 5,500 Deutsche Bahn ticket machines and in over 400 DB travel centers in train stations,” it said.
With the monthly ticket, passengers can use local public transport nationwide for nine euros – in all cities and across all network borders. Tickets can also be bought online or at the counter from other transport companies. Many associations have already announced that they also want to start selling on May 23rd.
However, the project of the traffic light coalition of SPD, Greens and FDP still has to be decided on Thursday by the Bundestag and a day later by the Bundesrat. But there are still bitter disputes over funding. The federal government is financing the project by transferring 2.5 billion euros to the states to compensate for the loss of income. That’s not enough for them.
The federal states want the federal government to significantly increase the regionalization funds – this is money that the federal government makes available to the federal states every year to finance local rail passenger transport.
“If the federal government believes that it can be applauded on the back of the federal states for a three-month consolation and that others should pay the bill, then it was very wrong,” said Bavaria’s Minister of Transport Christian Bernreiter (CSU) of the German Press Agency. If the federal government does not fully compensate for the costs of the ticket and does not significantly increase the regionalization funds, it will run into a wall in the Bundesrat.
“Under the current conditions, I don’t see Bavaria being able to approve the law in the Bundesrat. A real relief for the citizens would be a permanent strengthening of local public transport through more federal funds for a better offer,” says Bernreiter. Instead, the federal government offers “a flash in the pan”, at the end of which there is a risk of significant performance restrictions.
The chairwoman of the conference of transport ministers, Bremen’s Senator Maike Schaefer (Greens), emphasized on Sunday that the federal states had repeatedly called for an increase in funding for public transport.
Federal Transport Minister Volker Wissing (FDP) should have known after the transport ministers’ conference in Bremen at the beginning of May at the latest that the approval of the federal states is shaky. “If the nine-euro ticket, to which the citizens of Germany have high expectations, is now overturned, the Federal Minister of Transport will have to take responsibility,” said Schaefer.
Baden-Württemberg’s Minister of Transport, Winfried Hermann, emphasized that if the federal government were not willing to increase regionalization funds, the overall package of fuel discounts and 9-euro tickets could fail in the Bundesrat. An informal mediation process could still prevent the impending blockade, said the Green politician.
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 and thus much less than with normal monthly tickets. This is part of the relief package with which the traffic light coalition is reacting to the high energy prices. At the same time, it should be a taster offer to win more customers for buses and trains.
The 9-euro ticket gives “the unique opportunity to get more people excited about local public transport and climate-friendly rail in the long term,” said Jörg Sandvoß, head of the responsible railway subsidiary DB Regio, on Sunday.
According to Deutsche Bahn, the 9-euro ticket will always be valid from the first to the last day of each month. So if you only access it in the middle of the month, you can only drive around with it for the remaining half of the month. From the start of sales on May 23, it should be possible to buy tickets for all three months at the same time.
The private bus industry warned of negative effects, especially on long-distance bus trips. Due to the nationwide validity of the ticket, in addition to its function as a relief for commuters, it is also a “long-distance flat rate”, explained the Federal Association of German Bus Companies in a statement for the Bundestag. It is therefore to be expected that many people would opt for the 9-euro ticket and not the long-distance bus when planning their trip. “And that after more than two years of Corona-related passenger cancellations.”
The association explained that bus rentals should also feel competition from the 9-euro ticket. “Many school trips, school trips or club trips are no longer carried out by coach, but are planned in such a way that they can also be carried out with regional train services.”