What's the plan for Germany's 9-euro monthly public transport ticket?
As part of a package of measures to relieve consumers in Germany from high energy costs, the government recently announced that it would be offering discounted monthly tickets for public transport. Here’s what we know so far about the plan.
What is the 9 for 90 public transport ticket in Germany?
The German federal government announced last week that, in the face of the war in Ukraine and skyrocketing utility bills, it had put together a relief package to support people struggling with costs.
Alongside measures like a one-off 300-euro grant to all people who pay taxes in Germany and a tax cut on the price of fuel, the government has also promised to temporarily - but significantly - reduce the cost of monthly tickets for trains, buses and trams. The “9 for 90” scheme will offer public transport tickets for 9 euros per month for 90 days (so 27 euros in total for three months) in a bid to encourage people to opt for public transport over driving.
“In the current situation especially, public transport is for many citizens a necessary, efficient and cost-effective alternative to their own cars and at the same time the most environmentally-friendly means of transport next to the bicycle,” the coalition government’s resolution paper states.
Who is funding the discounted monthly pass?
The initiative is projected to cost transport associations in Germany around 2,5 billion euros, a sum that will be entirely covered by the federal government. This money will be transferred to the federal states, who are actually responsible for public transport, and so will be the ones to implement the scheme.
When will the special ticket be available?
The idea of the 9 for 90 ticket seems to have been thought up relatively recently, and so it remains to be seen how quickly the plan can actually be implemented. According to government spokesperson Christiane Hoffmann, the process should start “as quickly as possible”. May 1 has been put forward as a potential start date, but this has not been confirmed.
Where will the ticket be valid?
Questions have been raised about where the 9-euro ticket will be valid: in one’s local area, across the entire regional network, the federal state, or nationwide? This is further complicated by the fact that some public transport operators in Germany cover only small regions, while others stretch across multiple federal states. Hopefully, this point will be clarified in the coming weeks.
How will people be able to buy it?
The public transport network in Germany is complicated, to say the least, managed by over 100 transport associations across different cities and federal states, and encompassing hundreds of different types of tickets, zones, subscriptions and so on.
To make the sale of tickets as uncomplicated as possible, Federal Transport Minister Volker Wissing has a digital solution in mind: the 9-euro tickets will only be sold via the internet to keep the administrative effort low. A special portal will likely be set up to facilitate the sale of tickets.
What about people who already have a travel pass (Abo)?
Wissing also said that passengers who already have a monthly or annual travel subscription (Abo) will not lose out on the offer. He suggested that season ticket holders might be refunded the difference for the three months, but didn’t provide any more details than that.
The public transport operator in Berlin, BVG, has urged customers not to cancel their subscriptions, but wait for more details on the scheme. One plan under discussion is to give regular subscribers three months of free travel.
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