Deutschland-ticket launch may affect Berlin’s 29-euro ticket
The long-awaited 49-euro Deutschland-ticket will be available for purchase from 3 April 2023 on, in preparation for its launch, scheduled for 1 May 2023. Berliner Verkehrsbetriebe (BVG), Berlin’s main public transport company has an additional concern when it comes to the sale.
The BVG estimates that its existing ticket-sale technology will be too stretched to handle the traffic volumes that the new ticket launch will incur. As such, the BVG may need to implement a new technical distribution system.
This technological issue will also affect the availability of the Berlin-specific regional 29-euro-ticket, which was introduced in October of 2022. The discounted ticket offer expires at the end of April, which is when the Deutschland Ticket is set to go on sale. As such, the BVG considers it unrealistic for them to be able to seamlessly continue offering the 29-euro-ticket.
Berlin’s mayor, Franziska Giffey, however, wishes to introduce a more differentiated pricing model for the ticket, with the goal of keeping public transportation costs under one euro per day, according to the Berliner Morgenpost. It therefore remains to be seen whether Berlin will become an exception to the 49-euro rule.
The German Minister of transport Volker Wissing originally announced the Federal Government’s and the German states’ commitment to launching the Deutschland-ticket in a youtube short, following a meeting of transport ministers on October 13, 2022.
This ticket comes as the successor to the popular 9-euro ticket, a temporary monthly ticket that could be purchased during the summer months of June, July and August 2022 at a flat rate of 9 euros each. It was part of the third relief package rolled-out by the government in response to rising energy prices.
The roll-out of this ‘49-euro-ticket’ has been delayed several times, mainly due to financial considerations surrounding its funding by the federal and state governments. More specifically, the main issue was the financing of the 3-billion-euro initiative, to be split evenly between the federal and state governments. Should the plan come out as costing more, the federal states wanted reassurances from the federal government that they would commit to covering any shortfalls.
The Federal Government confirmed this on 22 March 2023, stating in a press release that: “If the federal share of 1.5 billion euros and the state share of the same amount are not sufficient to cover the costs in the introductory year 2023, the federal government will compensate half of the additional demand, it says. In subsequent years, the Federal Government and the Länder would have jointly agreed on how to ensure financing through ticket revenues and the agreed subsidies of 1.5 billion euros each.”
Close to the finish line
With these hurdles finally crossed, it seems that the ticket is finally on track to be implemented on 1 May 2023, following the pre-sale that will begin on 3 April 2023, though the European Commission has yet to approve the scheme. There are also still details which need to be ironed out. For instance, it remains to be seen if long distance buses, like Flixbus, will be later included in the 49-euro-ticket’s coverage. Additionally, details concerning the subscription switching procedure for passengers with existing local transport subscription or Jobticket are not yet available.
As of now, it is confirmed that this ticket will offer unlimited travel for 49 euros per month, thus the ‘49-euro-ticket’ nickname, and will be valid throughout Germany on all local public transport, excluding Deutsche Bahn long-distance trains such as the ICs, ICEs and ECs. The subscription can be cancelled on a monthly basis, and the ticket will be digital and personal and non-transferable. As such, passengers will need to be able to present identification upon request while using it.
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