€9 ticket boosted social participation of low-income households, alleviated loneliness – report
Clean Energy Wire
Germany’s €9 nationwide public transport ticket improved low-income households’ social participation and boosted their overall quality of life, a report has found. Researchers from the Institute of Transport and Space at the University of Applied Sciences Erfurt surveyed households in six districts and found that respondents enjoyed increased social contact, more activities outside the home and better access to services. This in turn led to a decrease in loneliness and overall increase in quality of life. The effects were particularly visible for those on lower incomes (under 1,250 euros net per month) and decreased significantly as the income of respondents increased.
The majority of respondents said they would like to see a follow-up offer to the €9 ticket, which was in place between June and August 2022, and that the maximum they would be willing to pay would be €25. “If people are lonely because the maintenance of personal contacts is decided by the ticket price, then this shows a glaring social grievance,” Dr. Claudia Hille, who led the study, said in a press release. “In view of the study results, a successor regulation should also be oriented towards the needs of the lower income groups, because for them the ticket has brought a real gain in terms of quality of life.”
German transport ministers have now agreed on a €49 follow-up ticket. While funding and final details still need to be clarified, the ticket should be valid on local trains and buses nationwide and ideally be introduced already by the start of 2023. The proposal is for a digital-only ticket that runs under a subscription model which can be cancelled on a monthly basis. The €9 ticket was first introduced in an effort to offset rising fuel costs and sold around 52 million tickets.