Actually, everyone thinks that the new ticket for buses and trains throughout the country, which has been used millions of times, is a success. But for weeks there was a severe problem with money. Now a way out comes into view.
In the dispute over the future of the Deutschlandticket in local transport, the federal and state governments have agreed on further steps to finance it. Funds not used this year should therefore be able to be used in 2024 to compensate for financial disadvantages from the ticket, as the German Press Agency learned from participants from the federal and state governments during discussions that evening in Berlin.
In addition, the transport ministers should be commissioned to present a concept for implementing the ticket from 2024. The price of 49 euros per month, which was referred to as the “introductory price” from the outset, also comes into focus.
The federal and state governments should agree in good time in 2024 on further financing, including a mechanism for updating the ticket price, “which may also include an increase,” according to the information. The Deutschlandticket has been valid on local buses and trains since May 1st – as a digitally bookable, monthly-cancelable subscription throughout Germany. Consumer advocates had already warned of price increases.
Because: Ticket is a successful model
Lower Saxony’s Prime Minister Stephan Weil (SPD) said before the states discussed with Chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD) that the transfer of unused funds from 2023 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.” 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.
The federal and state governments confirmed that, as in 2023, they would allocate 1.5 billion euros in 2024 to compensate for loss of income for transport companies due to the cheap ticket. As agreed for the introductory year of 2023, in the past few weeks the states had also demanded that the federal government promise to cover half of any possible additional costs for 2024. Now it is said that the planned regulation for 2024 should exclude any further “obligation to make additional contributions” by the federal and state governments next year. A change in the law is necessary for the intended reallocation of funds.
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.
The transport industry is putting pressure on us
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.