Actually, everyone thinks that the new ticket for nationwide local transport, which has been used millions of times, is a success. But for weeks there has been a problem with money – as has often been the case. Is an agreement in sight?
In the dispute over the future of the Deutschlandticket, the states have committed to continuing the offer and have submitted a solution proposal to the federal government for 2024.
Lower Saxony’s Prime Minister Stephan Weil (SPD) said in Berlin that, according to the states’ ideas – if the federal government participates – funds not used this year could be transferred. This creates the basis for the ticket to continue next year. “The transport ministers have to tell us whether and in what form this will have an impact on pricing.” In the evening, the states wanted to discuss this with Chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD).
Deutschlandticket as a successful model
The ticket is a successful model and we want to continue it, said the chairman of the Prime Minister’s Conference, Boris Rhein (CDU) from Hesse. “But we now have to send a signal to the transport associations.” According to an agreement at the end of 2022, the federal and state governments will contribute 1.5 billion euros each in 2023 and 2024 to compensate for loss of income for transport companies due to the cheap ticket. As agreed for the introductory year 2023, the states recently also demanded a federal commitment to cover half of possible additional costs for 2024. However, this was not found in a preliminary result report from the Prime Minister in the evening.
According to the paper, the states now wanted to recommend to the federal government as a joint decision that the transport ministers be commissioned to “develop a timely concept for implementing the Deutschlandticket from 2024. This can rule out any further obligation to make additional contributions by the federal and state governments in 2024.” The federal and state governments should also agree “in good time in 2024 on the further financing of the Deutschlandticket and a mechanism for updating the ticket price.” The mechanism should continue to provide for joint agreements on the financial responsibility of the federal and state governments as well as on the level of the uniform ticket price.
The D-Ticket can be used on local buses and trains for 49 euros per month since May 1st – as a digitally bookable, monthly-cancelable subscription throughout Germany. The 49 euros are expressly considered the “introductory price”. According to a forecast by the Association of Transport Companies, the losses for the industry are likely to be 2.3 billion euros in 2023 because of the ticket launch in May, and then 4.1 billion euros for the full year 2024. With two times three billion euros in public subsidies for 2023 and 2024, the bottom line would be a financial gap of 400 million euros.
Uncertainty about costs
The industry had once again applied pressure before the consultations. “If the federal government does not give up its blockade stance regarding further financing, then with the Deutschlandticket we will soon no longer be talking about a historic moment, but rather about a missed opportunity,” said the general manager of the Association of Transport Companies, Oliver Wolff, to the German Press Agency. An appeal is being made to the Prime Minister’s Conference and the Chancellor to also decide on an “obligation to make additional contributions” for 2024 so that any real losses in income that arise are actually completely compensated for.
When it came to state demands in recent weeks, the federal government had referred to the agreements that had already been made. Transport Minister Volker Wissing (FDP) made it clear several times that there were currently no precise calculations of additional costs. The 1.5 billion euros promised annually by the federal government have already been set for 2025.