Germany’s ‘Deutschlandticket’ or €49-pass for local and regional transport is now available. Sales began on Sunday April 2nd on the online platforms and apps of the regional transport companies and associations, as well as on Deutsche Bahn’s website. On Friday March 31st, the Bundesrat approved the project, thus removing the last political obstacle. There had been dissenting views in terms on how much the pass ought to cost, as well as how to finance it. But according to Euronews, transport ministers from 16 different German states agreed on the new €49 monthly fee.
The Deutschlandticket is a subscription issued as an online ticket or smart card and can be cancelled any month. It is valid on all public and regional transport throughout Germany; the pass may not be used on long-distance IC, EC, or ICE trains. The 49-euro pass, which can be used from May onwards, is seen as the successor to the 9-euro ticket, which was available last summer for three months. It should make regional and local public transport more affordable and thus attract more travelers. After months of struggle, the federal government and the Länder had agreed to each bear half the cost of the ticket.
In May of 2022, authorities in Germany decided to cut the price of public transport to encourage people to use it more often and save energy. During the months of June, July and August, a travel pass worth 9 euros per month could be used on buses, subways, streetcars, suburban trains and regional trains throughout Germany, regardless of the city in which it was purchased.
According to the Association of German Transport Companies (VDV), 52 million €9 rail passes were sold in Germany over the three months. The pass, which expired on August 31st, offered passengers unlimited use of local and regional German trains between the months of June and August. The VDV asked the German government to introduce a replacement for the rail pass arguing that around 1.8 million tons of CO2 were spared during the offer period, a reduction equivalent to planting 90 million trees.
One of its biggest attractions for users is that the €49 monthly pass will be valid on all of the country’s regional bus, train and streetcar networks, each of which has myriad fare options that many find bewildering to navigate. “What fabulous news,” Terry Reintke, co-president of the Greens in the European Parliament, wrote on her Twitter account. “And yes: we need to massively expand public transport.”
“With the 9-euro ticket we showed that simplicity is better,” Transport Minister Volker Wissing announced after a meeting with his counterparts from Germany’s 16 states. Wissing said the new ticket would not be printed and could be bought by the month or as a continuous pass.
Data from Germany’s federal statistical office Destatis has shown that short-distance train travel in Germany has increased over the past three months. Compared to the first quarter of the year (January to March), it went up 46%.
Some German states had already come up with affordable transport options. Berlin, for instance, had €29 ticket valid on public transport in the region. The ticket can no longer be bought as Berlin’s Transport Company (BVG) has begun to nudge users to switch to the new €49 ticket.