Thuringia: Passenger association is skeptical about the 9-euro ticket start

From Wednesday, people can travel anywhere in Thuringia for nine euros a month.

Thuringia: Passenger association is skeptical about the 9-euro ticket start

From Wednesday, people can travel anywhere in Thuringia for nine euros a month. All of Thuringia? No, because it gets complicated on one track. And that causes trouble.

Erfurt (dpa/th) - From the point of view of the Pro Bahn passenger association, the 9-euro ticket will not make people in Thuringia long-term users of buses and trains. "I don't think people are now switching to public transport en masse," said Olaf Behr, chairman of the German Press Agency. The approach to the cheap ticket is good - but the implementation is poorly prepared. And in the long run only better developed offers at lower prices would attract more people to public transport.

In Thuringia, for example, there had recently been discussions about which means of local transport the ticket can actually be used on. A Deutsche Bahn IC runs several times a day between Erfurt and Gera, which could previously be used with local transport tickets. The train is also displayed to travelers online as a regional express - however, the 9-euro ticket is not valid for this train, said a spokesman for the Thuringian Ministry of Transport. However, the country is in discussion with Deutsche Bahn and is trying to change the regulation.

"Exactly such customer-unfriendly regulations are what you don't want," said Behr. In addition, the offer on the already busy route between Gera and Erfurt will be further reduced: Anyone who has a 9-euro ticket will switch to other trains - and these will become even fuller. "It's completely counterproductive."

On the other hand, anyone who has a subscription to the Verkehrsverbund Mittelthüringen (VMT) can use the IC, said Managing Director Christoph Heuing. This will be converted into a 9-euro ticket. Even those who take out a new subscription now can drive on the IC route. In the first three months, this also only costs nine euros.

Passenger associations and transport companies are also concerned about the additional capacity utilization of some trains that are already full. This is a problem on the central Germany connection between Eisenach, Erfurt, Jena, Gera and Altenburg, said Behr. "We're worried that it could get really bad." The Franken-Thüringen-Express is also heavily frequented even without a cheap ticket. However, since Thuringia has few large cities, he does not assume that buses and trains will be overcrowded across the board.

The Ministry of Transport wants to increase train capacity in an emergency. "During the period of validity of the 9-euro ticket, the situation will be monitored and, depending on need and availability, the capacities will be increased with additional wagons," it said. The focus of the capacity expansion is primarily on the working days. On the upcoming Pentecost days, however, there could be a sharp increase in passenger numbers and thus capacity bottlenecks.

According to the managing director of the Verkehrsverbund Mittelthüringen (VMT), Christoph Heuing, it is not possible to increase the capacities in the short term. There is a lack of both vehicles and staff, he said. "The real problem is that local transport has not been able to really be there for people in recent years."

If Thuringia's Energy Minister Anja Siegesmund (Green Party) has her way, the three-month cheap 9-euro ticket should in future be replaced by a long-term cheap ticket: "A Thuringia-wide 365-euro ticket per person per year would be the lasting, noticeable relief that we put on the streets and have to bring the rails," she said.

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