German Transport Minister promises 9-euro ticket follow-up, detail remains thin
Just as the 9-euro ticket comes to an end after 52 million sales and 1 billion journeys per month, German Transport Minister Volker Wissing has pledged that a follow-up offer will indeed come - it’s just not clear when or what it will look like.
Success of 9-euro ticket shows appetite for public transport in Germany
Speaking to Deutschlandfunk, Wissing said that the success of the 9-euro ticket had shown that the people in Germany have an appetite for discounted public transport, and that a future offer could be workable.
“People took the ticket to their hearts right from the start and saw the opportunity,” he said. “By buying many tickets, people voted that [public transport] shouldn’t stay this way, and that’s why I want us to simplify the public transport structures, digitalise them, and [give them] a better fare structure. There has to be something new.”
He emphasised that he had convinced his colleague, Finance Minister Christian Lindner, who previously dismissed the idea of extending the 9-euro ticket, that there had to be a new scheme for transport. “He [Lindner] too is behind the concept of doing something far better than what we have had in public transport so far,” Wissing said.
Price and validity of successor ticket to be determined by financing
However, it’s not clear exactly what this successor scheme would look like. When the interviewer asked Wissing if he favoured any of the ideas put forward so far - which have included, to name a few, a 365-euro annual ticket, a 29-euro monthly ticket, and, most recently, a 49-euro ticket - the transport minister was noncommittal.
Once again, the issue is coming down to the question of how the federal government and the federal states will finance any future scheme. Previously, the 9-euro ticket scheme almost faltered when the federal states dug in their heels over the financing split. Now, negotiations look set to restart - and the extent to which the government and states are prepared to cough up will shape the ticket’s validity and price.
Wissing told Deutschlandfunk: “If we know exactly what the structure of the ticket should be, how it should be distributed, then at the end of the day the question must be: How do we structure the price?”
On Wednesday this week, Lindner posted a picture of himself and Wissing on Twitter, writing, “Volker Wissing has convinced me: We can implement a nationwide, digital ticket with a fraction of the funding of the #9EuroTicket. Now it’s the states’ turn. When the funding issue is clear, the price can be set.”