German government finalises 49-euro ticket and one-time December gas payment
“Biggest public transport tariff reform in Germany”
Following initial plans made in October, at a Wednesday meeting between Chancellor Olaf Scholz and leaders of Germany's 16 federal states, the terms of the nationwide 49-euro ticket were agreed. The 49-euro ticket, a follow-up to the popular 9-euro ticket which was available during the summer, will allow travellers to use local transport in any German city and longer-distance regional public transport across the country for 49 euros per month.
After a prolonged dispute over how the transport relief measure would be funded, ministers suggested that the ticket price of 49 euros would only hold for an “introductory phase”, after which the price would increase. According to Transport Minister Volker Wissing and the dpa, the ticket is expected to go on sale “as soon as possible” and is likely to be available next year. Wissing called the policy “the biggest public transport tariff reform in Germany.”
German federal states unite on energy caps
At the summit, leaders also decided on gas and electricity levies intended to soften the blow of Germany’s ongoing energy crisis. Chancellor Olaf Scholz said that gas prices would be limited to 12 cents per kilowatt hour and electricity to 40 cents, with the government stepping in to pay the difference between the consumer price, and what providers actually pay.
Scholz said that while larger businesses, hospitals and schools would see the benefits of the policy as early as January 2023, private households and smaller businesses would have to wait until March next year before the levy would impact their utility bills.
Following the 300-euro relief payments in September, the federal states also agreed that German households and small businesses would receive a one-off payment for their gas utilities in December.
An academic study published this week by The Hertie School in Berlin found that German private households, businesses and industry have all considerably reduced their gas consumption in the past year. Researchers concluded that the change was due to gas price hikes and "increased public attention on the topic of gas savings”.
At a press conference following the Wednesday summit, Scholz stressed that amid the chaos of the country’s energy crisis, people in Germany must remember that, “When we are talking about the consequences of the war, we mustn't forget that the cause of all these problems, and for the huge challenge that we face, is Putin’s war.”