The Deutschlandticket is being introduced as the successor of the 9-Euro-Ticket that was available for three months in the summer of 2022. The 9-Euro-Ticket had been planned as a temporary intervention to ease the rising cost of living and was successful at driving down the cost of public transportation and contributed to slowing inflation during this period. It proved to be sufficiently popular to spark demand for a replacement product. The new ticket is aimed at providing a permanent replacement for the 9-Euro-Ticket, replicating its validity across all tariff zones and on all local and regional public transport at an attractive price.
Lower prices for whom?Priced at 49 euros per month, the new Deutschlandticket is more expensive than its predecessor but will still be a savings compared to many monthly public transport tickets currently on offer. Among the cities where public transport users will be able to save the most are some of the largest in Germany, including Hamburg, Cologne, and Frankfurt. Meanwhile, the cost of a monthly ticket in some smaller to medium-sized municipalities already lies below 49 euros, but these are only valid within those specific city limits. Residents of Berlin have also been paying less for their monthly ticket in the past months. After the end of the 9-Euro-Ticket, Berlin introduced a monthly ticket for 29 euros for its city zone but is ending this offer at the end of April.
However, the price of the Deutschlandticket will primarily benefit people living in suburban areas that are outside of city boundary tariff zones and have so far been subject to often substantially higher prices when commuting by public transport. As tariff zones lose their relevance with the Deutschlandticket, these commuters can benefit particularly strongly. Interest in the ticket has also been shown to be highest among commuters who live ten to 25 kilometers away from their place of employment.
Employers are also able to offer the Deutschlandticket as a subsidized Jobticket to their employees. The subsidy is mostly paid for by the employer, with a small contribution from the state. The minimum subsidy requirement for this will bring the price for employees down to a maximum of 34.30 euros. Several states and cities are also planning to offer subsidized tickets for specific groups including children, students, and people on low incomes.
While there has been some criticism of the price of the Deutschlandticket as being too high, surveys have shown that that the price only ranks relatively low among reasons for not buying the ticket. The availability and quality of public transport appear to be far greater deterrents to purchasing the Deutschlandticket than the price. However, intentions to buy the ticket are lowest among households with low net incomes.
Will cheaper public transport mean more sustainable transport?Rail ridership in Germany increased substantially in the first month of the 9-Euro -Ticket both compared to previous months and compared to pre-pandemic figures from 2019. The Deutsche Bahn reported that this increase came primarily from short journeys on regional trains, while long-distance trains – which were excluded from the offer – continued to record lower than pre-pandemic passenger numbers. Passenger numbers were notably higher in rural touristic areas as well as on weekends, as many people used the ticket for day trips and holidays.
Yet, the overall road traffic volume did not substantially change during this period. This indicates that while more people were taking regional trains, these were not replacing journeys by car. There was simply an increase in the total number of journeys made during this period. It should also be noted however, that Germany was subsidizing car fuel during this period.
While the 9-Euro-Ticket predominantly encouraged more people to use public transportation on the weekends, the Deutschlandticket may also change other travel habits. Surveys have shown that interest in using the ticket for leisure travel remains high but the share of people intending to use the ticket for their commute is around twice as high compared to the 9-Euro-Ticket. The ticket may also bring new regular users to public transport, as another survey found that around a third of respondents, who were interested in the ticket, were not currently public transport season ticket holders. However, the wider impact on travel habits will only become clear in the months after the introduction of the ticket.