The federal and state governments have long struggled to finance the Deutschlandticket. Now transport ministers are increasing pressure on the federal government. If the federal government does not pay the promised 350 million euros, the German banknote will no longer be able to cost 49 euros. This is clear from a resolution document of the Conference of Transport Ministers in Münster.

The Deutschlandticket for 49 euros per month can be used nationwide on local and regional transport from May 1, 2023. Recently, around eleven million tickets have been sold each month. Money from the federal and state governments is needed to make up for transportation companies' lost revenue due to cheaper tickets compared to previous offers.

According to the Regionalization Law, the federal government will pay 1.5 billion euros per year until 2025, like all federal states. The distribution of costs has been the subject of tough debates in recent months. The transport ministers of the federal states recently met in Münster for consultations. Federal Transport Minister Volker Wissing (FDP) was represented by state secretaries.

And after the meeting it became clear: the financing of the German banknote is probably in danger. Millions of reduced subscription customers would be affected.

Ticket prices in Germany could increase “significantly.”

According to an agreement reached by transport ministers in January, the price should remain stable at 49 euros per month until 2024. But that no longer seems to be entirely certain.

Bavarian Transport Minister Christian Bernreiter (CSU) stated before the Conference of Transport Ministers that the basis for the then decision was the promise of Chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD) that the remaining funds from the previous year could be transferred to this year. If Scholz does not keep his word, the price of 49 euros cannot be maintained.

In total, the Deutschland Ticket has a funding gap of 350 million euros. Countries urgently need the money. But nothing has happened here since November, says Bernreiter.

The costs apparently even exceed three billion euros

At the beginning of the year, the Association of German Transport Companies (VDV) estimated the real cost of the Deutschland Ticket at 4.1 billion euros. Apparently, the states can cover part of this through additional funding. Customers have to make up the shortfall by increasing prices.

The proposal at the time: the ticket for Germany should increase to 54 euros in May 2024 and then the price should be adjusted annually to meet needs.

Will the price even rise to 69 euros?

The VDV even suggested a price of 69 euros for the German ticket in its annual report for 2023. This was intended to establish “an adequate business anchoring point,” stressed the then general director of the VDV, Oliver Wolff. This number is based on the needs of each transportation company and the average number of potential customers.

“The sector needs a safe and reliable perspective for the urgent expansion and modernization of infrastructure and vehicles, as well as financial resources for the expansion of services nationwide,” adds Alexander Möller, general director responsible for local public transport at the VDV.

Ticket to Germany only for employees?

The Deutschlandticket is not just an incentive to switch to public transport, said North Rhine-Westphalia Transport Minister Oliver Krischer (Greens) as chairman of the Conference of Transport Ministers.

“It also contributes to climate protection and reduces the burden on travelers by billions. This also has a dampening effect on inflation. That's why I'm very satisfied with the first year. But there is still work to be done: permanent financing remains a problem,” said Krischer.

The idea of ​​the NRW Transport Minister? Set the strongest ticket as a work ticket. The costs should be borne proportionately by employers. However, this would harm pensioners, recipients of citizen benefits and the self-employed. This is what legal experts explained to the FOCUS online question: Further expansion of the German banknote as a work banknote would mean that many people might no longer be able to use it.

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