Germany to make travel cheap again this summer


By AGENCY

Germany’s subways, regional trains, city buses and more forms of transport are set to come under the €49 (RM225) monthly pass from May 1. Photo: dpa/Arne Immanuel Bansch

Last year, the German government’s gift to tourists wanting to explore more of the country (as well as citizens struggling with inflation) was a €9 monthly (RM41) ticket granting unlimited access to all nationwide trains and buses except high-speed rail.

This year, after much wrangling and many calls for the experiment to be reinstated, the German government wants to make mobility affordable again, albeit this time at a higher price.

Germany’s federal and state governments agreed last Friday (Feb 3) to launch a €49 (RM225) monthly ticket on May 1.

“What many would like to see will become reality on May 1,” said the Chairman of the Conference of Transport Ministers, NRW Transport Minister Oliver Krischer (Greens), last Friday after the meeting of a federal-state working group.

Sales of the nationwide ticket, valid for both regional trains and public transport in cities, are set to start on April 3.

Any traveller in Germany can then buy this ticket to take a combination of regional trains between cities, as well as the local networks in those cities.

While not as cheap as 2022’s one-time-only €9 ticket, the €49 follow-up will still make for more affordable travel between cities, while also removing the headache of buying different kinds of tickets when travelling through federal states.

Travellers can, for example, take local buses and underground trains to explore Berlin or Munich, before taking regional trains to other cities like Hamburg or Cologne. High-speed trains such as the ICE are exempt, however.

The agreement is still subject to the EU Commission’s approval of the ticket. The project concerns questions of state aid law, which the Commission is currently reviewing.

It’s unclear if the ticket can again be bought in various travel service apps, or if a hard ticket is needed. According to dpa information, German officials have not yet reached an agreement on how digital the ticket will be.

Federal Transport Minister Volker Wissing (FDP) is aiming for an exclusively digital ticket. However, the Association of German Transport Companies (VDV) recently demanded that transport associations also be able to issue paper tickets, at least for the time being. – dpa

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