The successor to the 9-euro ticket will be available on May 1st: the 49-euro ticket.
It aims to attract more people to public transport.
But an expert has his doubts.
Berlin – The Deutschlandticket – popularly known as the 49-euro ticket because of its price – is coming.
It inherits the 9-euro ticket, which made local public transport cheaper than ever for three months in the summer of 2022.
"The Germany ticket is now to build on the success of this temporary campaign as a permanent offer," writes the federal government on an information page.
In this case, “permanently” means: initially two years.
The federal and state governments want to provide the money for that long.
It is unclear whether the price will remain permanently at 49 euros.
Politicians have high hopes for the Deutschlandticket: it is intended to relieve the financial burden on citizens.
It aims to make local public transport more affordable and therefore more attractive.
It aims to encourage people to switch from cars to buses and trains.
And it should help to achieve the climate goals.
In an interview with the Frankfurter Rundschau by IPPEN.MEDIA,
Christian Böttger expressed
doubts as to whether the Deutschlandticket is the right measure for this.
He is a professor at the Berlin University of Applied Sciences and does research on transport.
Even after the 9-euro ticket, he drew a bitter balance sheet.
Nevertheless, he has canceled his Bahncard 100 and wants to buy the ticket.
Traffic expert: 49-euro ticket mainly benefits the wealthy
Mr. Böttger, do we really need a 49-euro ticket?
No, we don't need it.
I think it's unreasonable.
It will cost an incredible amount of money that is more urgently needed for the expansion of public transport.
Currently, two billion euros flow into the expansion of the rail network every year.
The federal and state governments want to provide €4.7 billion a year for the 49-euro ticket – more than twice as much as for the expansion.
And you do without income from people who are already willing to pay more than the 49 euros.
The ticket is also not particularly socially fair: the biggest beneficiaries are long-distance commuters and people in the suburbs.
The biggest winners are the people in the commuter belt, so rather the wealthy.
It's a good package for them: I can afford my own single-family house with a garden, so that's why I commute in the morning, even if the monthly ticket costs 150 euros.
Precisely those who are willing to pay anyway are now relieved.
My cleaning lady in Berlin, on the other hand, will hardly notice anything.
She now pays 60 euros and will then pay 50, she hardly gets anything out of it.
In smaller towns, a monthly ticket already costs less than 50 euros, so it's not at all interesting for the people there.
This goes in the completely wrong direction from the topic of mobility and regional development.
One advantage of the 49-euro ticket is said to be the simplification of the ticket structures.
It's true that we have complicated ticket structures, and one should question whether this can be simplified.
However, I don't see that the 49-euro ticket will make things much easier for the majority of passengers.
It is particularly absurd that the 49-euro ticket hasn't even been introduced yet, but the countries are already thinking of special solutions that will increase the complexity again: Berlin, for example, wants to offer a 29-euro ticket for everyone, other countries or associations are planning cheaper offers for young and old or social tickets.
The alleged simplification is not achieved in this way.
In this respect, the 49-euro ticket is also a missed opportunity.
Professor Christian Böttger works at the University of Applied Sciences in Berlin.
© HTW Berlin
Expert on the 49-euro ticket: "Especially commuter routes to the big cities are overloaded"
If you put the money into the expansion of the railways instead of the Deutschlandticket, would the customers come by themselves?
No, you can put it that way.
You always have to fight for customers.
Public transport has lost customers since Corona.
Nevertheless, parts of the network are overloaded, especially the commuter routes to the big cities.
Therefore, it makes no sense to work with price measures where you cannot take additional people with you.
Where there is free capacity, the offer is not so attractive that many more customers can be won with lower prices.
That's why I don't see the shifting effect.
In addition, I keep hearing reports that regular customers have switched to cars because of the 9-euro ticket because they couldn't get on the overcrowded trains.
These sometimes chaotic conditions in the time of the 9-euro ticket: Can passengers hope that something has changed in the meantime?
The new ticket was specially designed so that the dramatic problems of congestion should no longer exist.
That's why it's a subscription and also more expensive than the 9-euro ticket.
So it's no longer the case that pensioners meet at the train station in the morning and say, "We'll buy a 9-euro ticket today, where are we going?" give previous year.
But there won't be any serious capacity expansions in the coming years either.
Even if more money were made available, it is impossible to rebuild in the short term.
Even if I have more trains, there's no more room on the rails.
We will have to live with the existing network for the next ten years.
This is a mistake of the past 20 years.
49-euro ticket: not suitable for traffic turnaround, according to experts
How could traffic be shifted from cars to rail instead?
Cities that have successfully shifted traffic have not done so through pricing measures.
Rather, they were concerned with expanding local transport, driving cars out of the cities, and then supporting the shift with price measures if necessary.
From Switzerland there is a shake of the head for the 49-euro ticket, where people think it makes no sense to lower prices for mobility.
So you don't see the 49-euro ticket as a tried-and-tested means of promoting the turnaround in traffic?
No not at all.
It is not a sensible measure from a transport policy, economic or social point of view.
The bad thing is that it will be difficult to get rid of the ticket again.
Taking something away from citizens and saying: “You have to pay more now” is politically extremely unpopular.
How can public transport become more attractive independently of flat rate offers?
I think it's right that you want to push back private transport from the inner cities.
But that will only succeed if attractive alternatives are created at the same time.
Vienna is a good example.
Local public transport was significantly expanded there, only then were thoroughfares closed in the city center and parking spaces became scarce.
The whole thing was flanked by a cheaper ticket offer.
Annoying and obstructing drivers is not a well thought-out traffic policy.
The traffic turnaround requires acceptance by a majority of citizens.
List of rubrics: © Hannes P. Albert/dpa