Deutschlandticket to continue for a year, some funding modalities remain unclear
The heads of government of the federal states have agreed on further steps to ensure that the Deutschlandticket can continue to be used in local transport, at the Minister Presidents’ Conference in the Federal Chancellery in Berlin, on 6 November 2023.
The German news agency dpa reports that Federal Chancellor Olaf Scholz and the state premiers agreed that funding which was not used this year will be used in 2024 to compensate bus and rail operators for financial losses suffered as a result of the cheaper tickets. As agreed at the end of 2022, the federal and state governments will each pay 1.5 billion euros this year and the next, to compensate for loss of revenue. Unused money from 2023 will now serve as a buffer in case of additional costs, which will require an amendment to the law.
The actual additional costs are still unclear, however. The federal and state governments instructed the Conference of Transport Ministers to present a concept for the funding and a mechanism for updating the ticket price, which may also include an increase, reports Der Zeit. It is still unclear whether the price of 49 euros will be maintained.
Pro-Rail Alliance comments
The German Pro-Rail Alliance, Allianz pro Schiene, welcomes the commitment of the federal and state governments to continue the Deutschlandticket in the coming year but is also urging the governments to quickly reach an agreement on long-term funding and ticket costs for the coming years. Managing Director of the Pro-Rail Alliance, Dirk Flege, said on Tuesday in Berlin: “It is good that the Deutschlandticket is going ahead. But it is bad that key issues remain unresolved. The federal and state governments must agree on an overall package right at the start of the year that includes long-term funding, the introduction of a nationwide social ticket and the urgently needed expansion of public transport services.”
In particular, if the federal and state governments were to plan a price increase, standardised regulations for a discounted German ticket would be “all the more urgent”, said Flege: “In addition to a social ticket, we also need a nationwide student ticket – financed from the social budget. The transport of children should also be regulated. The Deutschlandticket must be affordable and easy to understand for everyone – then it will bring momentum to the transport transition.”