During the corona crisis, thousands of customers of the Berliner Verkehrsbetriebe (BVG) canceled their subscription – and the company expects them not to return quickly either.

In 2020, the state company had lost 1,500 regular customers with an environmental card or company ticket, compared to 14,800 last year. Corona has thus turned a long-standing growth trend for the time being.

“The subscribers lost during the pandemic cannot be fully regained,” states the recently published BVG annual report. “Customers have changed their mobility behavior during the pandemic and are keeping it to some extent.” People used more flexible ticket offers or switched to bicycles.

At the end of 2012, 290,000 passengers still had a BVG environmental card and 90,000 a company ticket, a spokesman said.

The fact that the total number of subscribers last year, at 868,660, was only 1,200 fewer than in the previous year has to do with the fact that around 372,000 free subscriptions for schoolchildren and the ticket for state employees are also included, as well as season tickets for trainees, senior citizens and 10- clock cards.

Subscriptions are an important factor for the national company. With around 277 million euros, they brought in a good half of the fare revenue last year.

The Verkehrsverbund Berlin-Brandenburg (VBB) is testing a “flex ticket” for occasional drivers. Eight personalized tickets are available for EUR 44 and can be used 24 hours a day in the city (tariff zone AB). Currently, however, the campaign ticket is cheaper for nine euros a month.

The pandemic continues to burden the business of the national company. It is assumed that this year it will again need almost 97 million euros in corona aid from the state.

The BVG also expects to have to spend more on electricity and diesel in the future. This year, however, the prices for 90 percent of the energy required are secured. It is feared that steel, cement and concrete for the company’s construction projects will continue to become more expensive. In the event of a longer-term shortage of materials, a maintenance and repair backlog is also possible.