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Global Economy

Transport companies are asking for an extension

The local transport industry is campaigning for the 9-euro ticket to be extended by two more months. "We need a successor solution quickly," said Oliver Wolff, general manager of the Association of German Transport Companies (VDV), the "Süddeutsche Zeitung". "It would be best to extend the campaign by another two months as a temporary solution.

The ticket could continue to be valid in September and October, thus relieving citizens of the high energy prices," emphasized Wolff. The 9-euro tickets launched in June are still valid in July and August and allow one-month trips on trains nationwide and local and regional buses – for just nine euros a month.

"People shouldn't fall into a hole"

The debate about a successor regulation following the 9-euro ticket has been going on for some time. According to Wolff, the transitional solution of two months could give politicians and the industry time to develop a permanent offer for a nationwide local transport ticket. He called on the federal and state governments to get together quickly: "People shouldn't fall into a hole at the end of August." After all, energy prices are still high.

Transport Minister Volker Wissing announced this week that he believes a follow-up offer is possible from the end of the year or early 2023. He wants to wait until early November for data on the ticket to help with the assessment. At the moment there are still many unanswered questions. However, it was too late for a solution by January 1, 2023, warned VDV President Wolff. In view of the great demand of more than 31 million tickets sold in June alone, calls for a follow-up regulation to relieve households in the face of high inflation and to promote the transport turnaround are increasing.

Most recently, the VDV proposed a nationwide valid 69-euro ticket. Politicians could lower this monthly price "for socio-political considerations – for example for the duration of the war – to 29 or 39 euros for the needy," Wolff explained to the "SZ". The Federal Ministry of Transport reacted cautiously. The ministry announced that there was a fixed procedure for advising on the future and financing of local transport.

A question of funding

Wissing does not see the federal government as responsible for a successor to the 9-euro ticket, which the state will subsidize with around 2.5 billion euros this summer. Instead, the responsibility for further action lies with the federal states. "The public transport and the tariff structure are a matter for the federal states and not for the federal government," said the FDP politician on Wednesday in the ARD morning magazine. That is what the constitution provides.

The question of how things can continue after the phase-out is primarily a question of financing. The federal states necessarily see the federal government on board. A continuation, especially with regard to a socially graded ticket, will only be possible with a massive increase in regionalization funds by the federal government, said the chair of the conference of transport ministers, Bremen's Senator Maike Schaefer, recently to the dpa. According to the Regionalization Act, this is responsible for financing local public transport.

According to the transport company, the industry will be able to offer a climate ticket for 69 euros from September. The annual additional costs would be around two billion euros. For this year, these costs could still be financed through the negotiated rescue package. Alternative suggestions are a 365 euro annual ticket or a monthly ticket for 29 euros.

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