Left calls for nationwide 365-euro ticket to follow up 9-euro ticket in 2023
The 9-euro ticket has barely got started in Germany and already there is talk of extending the offer of discounted public transportation. Instead of ending at the beginning of August, the Left party has called for the ticket to be extended until the end of the year, and then replaced with an annual pass costing just 365 euros.
365-euro ticket should take over where 9-euro ticket leaves off, says Left
“The Pentecost weekend showed that there is a huge need for cheap ticket prices,” said the Left’s transport advisor, Bernd Riexinger, in an interview with RND. “However, it would be a joke if after three months the prices rose above average, because of the high energy costs.”
There has been some speculation that the cost of public transport in Germany will rise dramatically after the 9-euro-ticket scheme ends, as transport associations attempt to make up for lost earnings and battle rising costs.
The Left’s proposed solution, to ensure the 9-euro ticket isn’t just a flash in the pan, is to introduce a “follow-up model” at the beginning of 2023: a new nationwide ticket costing just 365 euros per year, to bring long-term subscribers and income to transport companies, while also incentivising trains, buses and trams over driving. They would also supplement the 365-euro ticket with a free ticket for school children, trainees, people studying in Germany, and low-income households.
Transport companies in Germany unsure about funding
This is not the first time a 365-euro ticket has been proposed in Germany. Back in 2019, several cities in Germany made headlines when they began to trial annual public transport tickets for just one euro per day, including Berlin, Bonn, Munich and Leipzig. For several months, the SPD floated the idea of extending the scheme nationwide, but it has since been put on the back burner.
While broadly popular with the public, the 365-euro-ticket proposal is not without its critics. Sceptics argue that public transport would need to be massively expanded to cope with the extra demand - and with finances for transport in Germany already overstretched, it’s not exactly clear how this could be achieved while massively slashing ticket prices.
Indeed, the Left’s most recent attempt to revive the debate on the ticket has been dismissed by the Landkreistag, the umbrella organisation for all district administrations in Germany, which argued, “The corona-related loss of income and the existing investment backlog alone are a heavy burden on the transport associations and thus on the districts and cities.”
President Reinhard Sager clarified: “There is a lack of financial strength to increase services or expand offers, [and] with massively discounted tickets the financial basis is further weakened.”