13 Oct 2023, 13:23
Benjamin Wehrmann

Future funding of Germany’s nationwide public transport ticket hanging in balance

Tageszeitung (taz)

A meeting of Germany’s state ministers for transport has not produced an agreement on securing future funding of the country’s new nationwide public transport ticket, newspaper Tageszeitung (taz) reported. Half of the costs caused by the “Germany Ticket,” which arose from an initiative to support commuters in the energy crisis and currently is priced at 49 euros per month, could be financed through state budgets, the minsters agreed. However, the federal government has yet to greenlight funding of the other half. “There must be a way to continue funding and put it onto a sustainable footing,” the state ministers said in a joint statement seen by the newspaper. In 2023 and 2024, both the states and the federal government support the ticket with 1.5 billion euros each. However, the current scheme lacks funding for rising costs for staff and energy that add to the current calculation, with federal transport minister Volker Wissing so far ruling out any additional transfers from his ministry’s budget. Carina Konrad, MP for Wissing’s pro-business Free Democrats (FDP), told taz that “funding a safe, affordable and clean public transport system is a duty of the states.” Oliver Krischer, Green Party transport minister from North Rhine-Westphalia, said chancellor Olaf Scholz should take the initiative and find an agreement with the states at a meeting on 6 November. Ramona Pop, head of consumer protection organisation vzbv, said it would be a “particularly damaging signal for the transport transition” if funding for the ‘Germany Ticket’ remains hanging in the balance. “Those who want people to switch to public transport have to make it affordable and reliable,” she argued.

The nationwide ticket that allows use of buses, regional trains and other public transport options so far has not led to a significant reduction in car use, said a report by the Technical University of Munich. Data collected via surveys and smartphone apps show that only one in five new subscribers have used their car less. However, the measure has generally been well received by citizens, with one in three saying they are interested in using the scheme.

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