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9-euro ticket: the majority wants a 365


The 9-euro ticket lures millions into buses and trains - according to a SPIEGEL survey, most people are in favor of a slightly more expensive, permanent offer. Key players are increasingly open-minded.

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Regional train in Cologne: There was mostly no chaos caused by the 9-euro ticket

Photo: NurPhoto / NurPhoto / Getty Images

In Westerland on Sylt, a few punks hang around, between Berlin and the Baltic Sea and on other leisure routes, some passengers with bikes can no longer keep up - but all in all, the feared train chaos caused by the 9-euro monthly ticket has not materialized so far.

Around 21 million such tickets were sold for June, and according to the Association of German Transport Companies (VDV), there are also ten to twelve million people who have a subscription anyway.

The local transport system can withstand more than some people thought it was capable of - perhaps that's why the majority of Germans want a permanent, inexpensive ticket that can be used to travel throughout the country.

According to a Civey survey for SPIEGEL, 54 percent of those eligible to vote are in favor of a ticket that costs 365 euros a year and is valid nationwide on regional trains, trams and buses.

Only 26 percent are against, the rest are undecided.

The Bremen SPD had recently called for such a ticket, and proposals from the Left, from the Federal Environment Agency, consumer protection groups and the Association of Towns and Municipalities also pointed in the right direction.

"That would relieve everyone in the price crisis, but especially households with little money, and also give the necessary traffic turnaround more impetus," said Jutta Gurkmann, head of the Federal Association of Consumer Centers (vzbv).

The ticket has also been discussed as part of a “mobility pact” between the federal and state governments.

The proposal is popular across almost the entire political spectrum.

Green supporters in particular (84 to 7 percent) and those around the Left, SPD, FDP and Union (there still with 42 to 34 percent) approve more than reject him.

Only among AfD sympathizers is there less approval (29 percent) than rejection (46).

The transport industry itself was never really enthusiastic about cheap tickets.

But at least she is a little more open than three years ago.

At that time, the example of Vienna was discussed.

The Austrian capital has been offering a 365-euro ticket for years, but limited to the urban transport network.

"Such an offer would not throw us into chaos," a VDV spokesman told SPIEGEL.

The companies could only reach their limits at certain times and on certain routes, as is currently the case, but sometimes even without cheap tickets.

The SPIEGEL survey suggests that a 365-euro ticket would bring many new passengers to local transport in the long term.

According to her, 19 percent would buy the ticket "certainly", another 12 percent answered "rather yes".

Measured against the potentially up to 70 million subscribers assumed by the VDV, this would correspond to a good 20 million tickets.

In such a scenario, the companies would have to use more wagons and employees, according to the VDV spokesman.

It is also important to expand routes and stations in many places.

However, this could happen "parallel" to the introduction of a cheap ticket.

Three years ago, associations and experts mainly advocated strengthening the infrastructure first and then possibly lowering prices – if at all.

The success of the 9-euro ticket has obviously shown that a lot can happen at the same time.

As popular as a 365-euro ticket is among the general public, experts see it as having disadvantages.

"By a price reduction itself, a lot of money is initially withdrawn from the public transport system," says Henrik Malow, Managing Director of the Hamburg-based management consultancy BBA.

The VDV expects a loss of income of seven to eight billion euros a year.

There would also be additional costs for staff and more buses and trains.

Without firmly promised billions in injections from the state, the transport companies would probably resist a cheap ticket - especially since they would give up sovereignty over their own prices.

"It's better to invest in a stable infrastructure and an attractive offer than to lower prices," advises Malow.

This is based on the knowledge that is widespread in the industry: With low fares, car drivers in particular can only be persuaded in small numbers to switch.

The head of Hamburger Hochbahn AG, Henrik Falk, decided three years ago that owning a car is always more expensive than a monthly pass anyway.

From a socio-political point of view, a cheap subscription may therefore make sense - it doesn't do much for the climate as long as the public transport offer is not significantly improved.

The results of the SPIEGEL survey at least show a certain willingness to switch.

Three percent of the drivers surveyed would give up their vehicle if a 365-euro ticket came along.

Another 17 percent would often take the bus and train instead of the car.

But about three quarters would rarely or never do so.

Source: spiegel

All tech articles on 2022-07-01

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