DB said it had sold 200,000 tickets at nine euros on Monday through its reservation system by noon. Jörg Sandvoß, CEO of DB Regio, talks about a “historically significant” push into Deutsche Bahn systems at the start of ticket sales, which should be in effect from June. It’s an experiment without a blueprint, with seven weeks of preparation time in a very heterogeneous industry where all transportation associations have had to change their distribution systems. Therefore, it is difficult to make predictions.
Sandfoss said that in addition to the price, the main advantage of the ticket is its simplicity. Users do not have to think too much about where and when the nine euro ticket is valid. But the background is sad. It means the Ukraine war. Against the backdrop of skyrocketing energy prices, it’s absolutely right that we don’t just comfort people with cars. In addition, climate protection is enhanced with each person served on public transport. And this is at a point where it seems that the Corona crisis is slowly being overcome for the railways and people are returning to public transportation.
Sandfoss said it was clear that punctuality would be affected. But this is not a criterion for the success of the nine-euro card holders. The priority is to relieve people of costs. According to Sandvoß, with scientific support from the German Carriers’ Association (VDV), an assessment will be carried out in the fall to determine which customers have been able to keep their €9 ticket long-term.
Ticket control as before
Sandvoß assumes that there will be a greater rush for upcoming public holidays such as Ascension Day and Pentecost. But this is also the case outside of campaigns such as the nine-euro ticket – not unlike those on motorways. Sandfoss said the construction sites could not be kept free in the summer, because then the problem would be postponed.
In urban areas, the €9 card will probably work well, as many students and staff don’t have to commute during vacations and holidays. In tourist areas, the eruption is also likely due to the weather, Sandfoss said. There will be no vacation stops inside DB Regio. If necessary, additional work is requested or support is sought from outside companies. Tickets will be checked as usual.
Flat rate for public transportation
The ticket €9 has been on sale since Monday, and has been available from bahn.de since the morning. In the DB Navigator app, it can be obtained by selecting the view if a travel destination is selected within the transport union. The nine-euro ticket can be purchased directly in apps from carriers such as GVH or VBN.
With the ticket, any number of trips in the specified month is possible on domestic transport exclusively in second class. Children 6 years old and above cannot be taken for free, they need their own ticket. Dogs and bikes are also not included in the €9 ticket; Bicycle transportation is regulated differently depending on the transportation association. Season ticket subscribers on domestic transport receive a credit note or refund for the difference between the price of their subscription and a €9 ticket. This does not apply to long-distance transportation season tickets, such as the BahnCard 100.
The Minister of Transport for Baden-Württemberg, Winfried Hermann (the Greens), had already feared for weeks that from September, after the nine-euro campaign, public transport fares could increase due to increased energy costs and the upcoming expansion of regional rail transport. Federal Transportation Secretary Volker Wessing (FDP) has already announced that he wants to talk to federal states about this next fall. The expected revenue loss of €2.5 billion will be borne by the federal government, the Federal Council decided on Friday.
Evolution of ticket prices since 2015
According to the Federal Statistical Office, public transport ticket prices have increased significantly since 2015. In domestic transport, rail journeys rose by 19.0 percent, thus more than consumer prices as a whole, which rose by 16.2 percent. Prices for mass transit tickets, such as network tickets, increased 13.0 percent. The price of a single ticket or a daily ticket for the Transport Association increased by 14.4 percent for adults, and a monthly ticket by 12.9 percent.
Recently, ticket prices have gone up much less than consumer prices in general. In April 2022, passengers paid 2.6 percent more for a domestic train ticket than they did in the same month last year. Combined transportation tickets for passengers increased by 1.7 percent. Overall consumer prices rose 7.4% over the same period. The high rate of inflation is primarily due to significant increases in energy and food prices.