On June, July and August, local public transport in Germany will only cost nine euros per month.
People across Germany will be able to use local and regional public transport such as bus, subway, tram, ferries, and suburban trains with an unlimited number of journeys during June, July, and August for 9 euros a month.
Germans who already have public transport subscriptions will see their prices reduced to 9 euros as well. Long-distance train tickets or travels from private companies like FlixTrain or FlixBus are excluded from the program.
Transportation companies have started to make the tickets for sale, which will be valid starting June 1.
And in the early hours of Monday morning, 50,000 tickets were already sold online by Deutsche Bahn, the national railway company of Germany, a spokeswoman said. On Friday, Berliner Verkehrsbetriebe, which manages public underground railway, tram, bus, and ferry networks of Berlin, sold 35,000 tickets in just 12 hours.
Overall, around 30 million users of the nine-euro ticket per month are expected.
The measure has been adopted by the Bundestag on May 19 as a “direct financial relief to citizens due to the sharply rising costs of electricity, food, heating and mobility“. Part of the second relief package, the federal government also sees it as an incentive to switch to public transport and to save fuel.
The federated states will receive 3.7 billion euros from the federal government for the financing of local public transport as part of the regionalization law, among which 2.5 billion euros ($2.67 billion) are provisioned for the implementation of the nine-euro ticket from June to August this year. Each state will be responsible to implement it.
Another 1.2 billion euros are sent to help compensate financial losses caused by the COVID-19 pandemic as public transport lost 10 to 15% of its customers during the pandemic. The Hamburg Transport Association for instance counted 707 million trips for a revenue of 686 million euros ($731 million) in 2020 when it had more than a billion passengers and a turnover of 890 million euros (-23%) before COVID-19.
The Bundesrat, the Federal Council representing the sixteen Länder then approved the law last Friday as well as 11 others, including the introduction of a flat-rate energy price.
For Jens Hilgenberg from BUND, a German NGO dedicated to protecting nature and the environment, the measure may only be a “flash in the pan” if there is no investment of public transport infrastructures, arguing for instance the ticket would mostly benefit people who are already well connected.
And as the Association of German Transport Companies warns, “the short-term implementation of the 9-euro ticket poses major challenges for local public transport, especially with regard to the available capacity.” It advises to have flexible travel times during the period of summer holidays while most of local journeys are made with no reservations.
In Austria, a KlimaTicket, or Climate ticket, was released last October as a tool to curb carbon emissions. Priced at 1,095 euros for a year, people can use all scheduled services – public and private rail, city and public transport – across Austria.
Austria Minister of Climate action and Energy Leonore Gewessler said last Thursday that 160,000 climate tickets have been sold so far, more than the 120,000 the government foresaw. The ticket has now become more expensive but about 5,000 new customers are added each month. And it can create frustration from commuters who are also experiencing overcrowded public transport.