Some things went wrong, it was too crowded here, you couldn’t get on, in Berlin a train was cleared and some people lost their nerve, but overall the first weekend of the nine-euro ticket Summers are seen as a success. Which is why it is not surprising that the first pre-notifications popped up on Sunday, after which an extension of the super-cheap package deal was demanded.
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“We don’t need a short public transport summer, but a nationwide public transport state,” said the general manager of the Association of Towns and Municipalities, Gerd Landsberg, to the “Handelsblatt” and pleaded for “a nationwide valid, uniform and discounted ticket to follow in the future “. Something similar was reported by the Federal Association of Consumers (vzbv), which called for “constantly cheap ticket prices” in order to strengthen local transport and retain passengers.
In fact, the short-term project, which was conceived as a relief measure for rising energy prices, could ensure that something actually changes in transport policy with the loud bang it produces. Because the idea that cheaper public transport tickets lead to more people using buses and trains is really old hat. And the approach has never been original – especially in the land of penny pinchers and bargain hunters.
But – Gerd Landsberg suggested it – in the enthusiasm that the nine-euro ticket triggered nationwide, not only the price played a role, but also the uniformity. Perhaps people simply long for simple solutions. In times when every coffee shop order comes with at least three modification questions (to-go or drink here? Small, medium, large? Regular milk or oats?), one breathes a sigh of relief when the only question is: buy or not. If there are no special tariffs, no combination bargains, no 4-trips-at-the-full-moon special tickets, in short: no best and therefore necessarily worst variants.
If the attractiveness of the nine-euro ticket includes the fact that there was no nine-euro plus variant with occasional access to first-class seats for ten euros, it would be important that when the three-month special was extended to note. You would have to leave it at the simple design and not start with special conditions in order to save a few euros more. It would be better to have the nine-euro ticket cost 20 euros from September – that’s less than seven single journeys on the subway in Berlin, so almost nothing for what’s on offer – and most people can do that well Afford.
However, there would still be a lot to be clarified on the question of financing. Especially because the public transport offer, as it is, cannot withstand a permanent rush. More users therefore mean investments in trains, buses, tracks and the entire local transport infrastructure. But since Friday, since the Bundeswehr special fund debt of 100 billion euros was fixed, everyone who is in favor of more state involvement, i.e. one financed from tax funds, has had a sledgehammer argument in their hands for a long time. Motto: If there are easily extra billions for tanks and fighter-bombers, why not for a fundamentally important transport transformation in the service of humanity’s task of saving the climate?
Vzbz interim boss Jutta Gurkmann already made concrete suggestions in the “Handelsblatt”. As an additional source of money, she suggested “beneficiary financing”, which would mean that employers, retailers or private individuals whose real estate increases in value, for example through good public transport connections, would participate separately in the financing. This can certainly be brushed aside immediately by pointing out that losses in real estate value are not compensated for by road construction measures.
But it would be better to first use the dynamics of the moment when the crust of lethargy from long-established debates has finally burst off, and first collect the suggestions that come up. Theoretically, you can still say no and leave everything as it is – even if that is the least obvious solution with a view to the climate issue.