Quarrel over finances continues: countries want Germany ticket for April 1st

First it was January, then March, and finally May.

Quarrel over finances continues: countries want Germany ticket for April 1st

First it was January, then March, and finally May. Now the transport ministers agree on April 1st as the start for the 49-euro ticket. The federal, state and transport companies blame each other for the delays in operations.

The federal states are aiming to start the 49-euro ticket in local and regional traffic on April 1st. That came out in the evening from a decision paper of the conference of transport ministers, which is available to the dpa. At the same time, the federal states warn that open financing questions with the federal government about the Germany ticket must be clarified. The conference of transport ministers expects from the federal government that any additional costs that may arise would be shared equally between the federal and state governments and borne jointly, the paper says. The countries are ready for this half takeover. Should additional costs exceed the three billion euros agreed annually, talks between the federal and state governments on their financing should be held "immediately".

Federal Transport Minister Volker Wissing originally stated that the goal for the introduction of the ticket was early 2023. The Association of German Transport Companies does not consider an introduction until May 1st to be realistic, as it said the day before. He had previously described March 1 as feasible. The digital, nationwide valid ticket is intended for an introductory price of 49 euros per month in a monthly cancellable subscription - that has been decided in principle. The ticket is the successor to the 9-euro ticket from the summer, which sold millions of times.

The VDV criticized that the federal and state governments had put a lid on the financing of the ticket. There is no so-called obligation to make additional payments if the costs should rise - these remain with the companies in a situation that is already tense due to high energy costs.

The Rhineland-Palatinate Green Transport Minister Katrin Eder said on the radio program SWR Aktuell that there are estimates that the ticket will cost a total of 1.5 billion euros more than originally estimated by the federal government. She would like the federal government to take over, as the states are facing significant problems: "Energy costs have gone through the roof, as have the wages for bus drivers and train drivers. The costs for public transport are simply getting out of control."

The FDP transport politician Bernd Reuther, on the other hand, called for action on the part of the federal states. The federal government provides additional money for the ticket, he said. "It is now up to the countries to follow through on their promises and to make their contribution to the success of this project." In times of budget surpluses in different countries, the resources should be there.

SPD faction deputy Detlef Müller said that the federal, state, local authorities and local transport companies must seek solidarity and come to an agreement quickly. The 1.5 billion euros promised by the federal and state governments should be available next year regardless of the specific date of introduction and should not be reduced proportionally. "The concern about financing gaps would be taken away from local transport companies and municipalities."