Admittedly, the nine-euro ticket was a rush job, an ecological attempt to make amends for the not at all climate-friendly fuel discount, an alternative offer to all those who, in case of doubt, do not even own a car. Admittedly, the nine-euro ticket was anything but a cost-conscious, targeted relief for households that urgently need relief.

E-mobility, transport policy and future mobility: the briefing on transport and smart mobility. For decision makers

Nor does it make sense why it should be the task of the federal government and taxpayers to relieve crowds of foreign tourists. It is also very legitimate to ask what the best nine-euro ticket is for when the bus only comes twice a day and closes at 6 p.m.

Wherever there is a significant local public transport system, we have been thrown into a gigantic experiment costing over two billion euros. In the news we saw pictures of densely packed crowds of people on platforms that were too small, read reports of trains that could not depart because they were completely overcrowded or had to be evacuated in some cases. Chaos was the impression conveyed by this news.

So there is every reason to be skeptical shortly before the end of this experiment, in which 30 million people took part. So many tickets were sold. Yet. One thing is absolutely undeniable: people obviously love to use the train, to go on excursions – as I have observed, especially in groups, be they older people or younger people.

Even occasionally completely unacceptable conditions such as defective toilets, failed air conditioning and complete overcrowding of the trains could not do anything to detract from this. The political signal cannot be ignored: people like trains. It just has to be affordable.

It was certainly watering can politics that was practiced there. But I’m happy for every family, every young person and every pensioner who could finally afford a trip to the sea or the mountains. This is normally denied to millions of people on basic old-age security, on Hartz IV or with low earnings. And they will be denied it again after this ticket offer expires.

Yes, I have decided in favor of a follow-up regulation for the nine-euro ticket. Public transport prices must be affordable and should not overwhelm anyone. But they should also represent more than a symbolic payment. The concept of the €365 ticket, which amounts to €30 a month instead of €9, has been on the table for a long time and is a viable proposal.

It must be supplemented by family and social tariffs and free travel for all those who cannot afford even 30 euros because they have to live on small-scale social transfers. It must be flanked politically by the massive expansion of public transport in the city and, above all, in the countryside. Then the nine-euro ticket would have really made a difference.