Price guarantee required: How long will the price remain for the 49-euro ticket?

As a short summer bargain, it once cost only 9 euros.

Price guarantee required: How long will the price remain for the 49-euro ticket?

As a short summer bargain, it once cost only 9 euros. A permanent 49-euro ticket will soon follow and encourage people to switch to buses and trains. Will it possibly soon become an over 50 euro ticket?

Millions of passengers can gradually assess it for themselves: Is the future Deutschlandticket worthwhile for all buses and trains in national local transport? It depends on practical conditions from ticket purchase to possible take-along options, which still have to be clarified. And there is not much time left until the planned start on May 1st.

But the price also counts, which is a tempting 49 euros per month for the introduction. This is clearly cheaper than what commuters usually pay for regional subscriptions. But one thing is uncertain: How long will the 49 euros stay? The consumer centers are demanding a multi-year price guarantee. The mobility expert of the Federal Association (VZBV), Marion Jungbluth, said that "a binding commitment from the federal and state governments is needed that the ticket price of 49 euros per month will remain stable until the end of 2025". Until then, federal funding has been promised. She warned against possibly even adjusting the price annually.

These would be devastating signals for the success of the ticket, which is “actually a Germany subscription”. Because if you now decide to change an existing subscription, passengers would need a "reliable price statement". In fact, the federal and state governments make no secret of the fact that the 49 euros are expressly an "introductory price". Later increases are therefore possible.

The official name is therefore also Germany ticket, not 49-euro ticket. A digitally bookable, monthly terminable subscription is planned. It is intended to build on the popular 9-euro ticket from the summer of 2022 and continue to bring relief in the high inflation. The new permanent offer is also an incentive to switch to bus and train - without any complex tariff zones and at a reasonable price. In order to lure people willing to switch, there are some price guarantees for electricity and gas, i.e. promises to keep prices stable for a certain period of time. With the Deutschlandticket, however, there are cautious signals from politics and the industry.

The Federal Ministry of Transport referred to earlier government statements that the 49 euros should last at least in the first year of 2023. The North Rhine-Westphalian department, which chairs the conference of state transport ministers, said that there are currently no plans for an increase. "The introductory price is set," said a spokesman on request. However, the federal and state governments have agreed to check the ticket price annually.

The background is that the offer can only be financed with extra billions from the state treasury. After a long struggle with the federal states, Federal Transport Minister Volker Wissing (FDP) introduced a bill to the Bundestag. According to this, the federal government wants to provide an additional 1.5 billion euros from 2023 to 2025 in order to compensate for half of the loss of income from transport providers. The federal states should pay for the other half.

The Association of German Transport Companies (VDV) explained that the federal and state governments decided on the ticket price. From the point of view of the providers and transport associations, a complete compensation for reduced income and increasing costs, for example for salaries and energy, must be guaranteed in the future. Bus and train operators should not get into financial difficulties and be forced to thin out or discontinue offers. "That would not be good for the passengers either," said general manager Oliver Wolff. In general, there could be even more diverse prices across the republic than 49 euros everywhere.

A spokesman for the Federal Ministry of Transport explained that for many, the price of the Germany ticket will be even cheaper, since it was designed from the start in such a way that the federal states can also make other concessions, for example for trainee, student or social tickets. This also applies to job tickets for employees. The first countries have announced corresponding tariffs, which is expressly welcomed.