The event with a ticket for 9 euros should not be repeated, says a German transport economist

The event with a ticket for 9 euros should not be repeated, says a German transport economist
The event with a ticket for 9 euros should not be repeated, says a German transport economist

Should there be a successor to the popular 9 euro ticket? A month to travel by train, public transport and buses all over Germany. The revolutionary offer, launched in our western neighbors from the first of June, was supposed to make citizens drive less – and also compensate them for the rising expenses for almost everything. However, the question of such a low price causes strong discussions in Germany. Transport economist Christian Böttger explains why, in his opinion, the continued validity of the €9 ticket is irresponsible. Many Czechs also used the hypercheap tickets.

For several weeks now, calls have been made for a successor to the €9 ticket, which was only available until the end of August. The FDP was opposed for a long time. Now Federal Transport Minister Volker Wissing of the FDP is apparently ready to act. However, the ideas of the parties differ on the question of how much a potential successor should cost.

The SPD proposes a nationally valid public transport ticket for 49 euros per month. According to the SPD proposal, the federal and state governments should bear half of the costs. In addition to the national ticket for 49 euros, the Greens also propose a regional ticket for 29 euros. Both are to be financed by canceling the company car allowance.

The association of transport companies submitted a proposal for a ticket for 69 euros. The State Secretary of the Federal Ministry of Transport Michael Theurer (FDP) recently stated that he is open to a €69 ticket.

It’s irresponsible

Christian Böttger, a transport economist and professor at the Berlin University of Applied Sciences, does not think well of the proposals: “Continuing the €9 ticket would be irresponsible,” said Böttger in an interview with the German weekly Focus.

Regardless of the price, the transport economist is against subsidizing the uniform ticket for public transport. According to him, there are practical, financial and climatic reasons against its continuation.

Costs cannot yet be estimated

The effects of a ticket for 9 euros are not only positive.

“With a ticket for 9 euros, the railway has reached its limits. Employees are exhausted by the overloading of the railways,” says Böttger.

In implementing the successor model, the federal government faces a major task.

“For a successor, you would have to completely reorganize the huge system or really throw it in the trash,” says Böttger.

This is because local transport is currently the responsibility of the municipalities, while long-distance transport is funded by the federal government through the Länder. Only after the restructuring of the system will it be possible to estimate costs.

“If the federal government was sensible, it would have to wait and see how much the restructuring will cost. I consider it irresponsible how politicians promote this idea without saying how much the implementation will cost,” explains the transport economist.

Succession model for students

According to Böttger, the consequences of the single ticket were not sufficiently thought through. For students, the successor model could become more expensive than the current semester ticket.

“Currently, students travel with a semester ticket for 30 to 40 euros per month. If politicians introduce a national ticket for 49 euros, they will not be able to push through another half-yearly ticket in the vote,” warns Böttger.

He adds that the semester ticket is often part of the semester fee and many students hardly ever take the train.

“With a ticket for 49 euros, which would not be automatically included in the semester fee, the railway would first lose a million customers,” says the transport economist.

If the public transport ticket was not automatically included in the semester fee, many students would pass up the offer of the €49 ticket, according to Böttger.

According to the federal government, the planned relief measures are mainly intended to relieve people with low incomes and those affected by inflation.

“For a ticket for 49 euros, this argument would be complete nonsense. 49 euros would certainly be too much for people with low incomes,” says Böttger.

In his opinion, targeted offers for people with low incomes would make more sense.

Worst CO2 measures in a long time

The Association of Transport Companies (VGV) evaluates the 9-Euro ticket positively. according to him, 10 percent of trips with a ticket for 9 euros replaced a trip that would otherwise have been made by car. This is said to have saved 1.8 million tonnes of CO2, which according to the VGV is almost as much as a 130 km/h speed limit on motorways would bring for an entire year.

However, transport economist Böttger has his doubts: “No comprehensive data set has been published on this issue. I have doubts about these numbers.’

From the point of view of CO2 savings, according to Böttger, the €9 ticket is disappointing.

“For 3.5 billion euros, 1.8 million tons should have been saved, which would correspond to 1,400 euros per ton saved. This is truly the worst CO2 measure in a long time.”

Lack of funds for infrastructure development

According to Böttger, public transport has improved in recent decades, but this alone is not enough to change the mindset of a significant number of car drivers.

“Even if public transport were free, it would not lead to a significant change in mobility,” says the transport economist.

In his opinion, the money should be invested in further infrastructure development. Currently, €2 billion per year in federal funds is available for railway expansion. According to Böttger, however, 120 billion is needed for urgent transport projects throughout Germany.

“And then to spend 2.5 billion on a €9 ticket and now maybe 5 billion on another ticket when there are so few funds available to expand public transport, I find it irresponsible,” Böttger said.

To make public transport more attractive, politicians would first of all have to make driving more expensive and reduce massive subsidies.

“If the cost of parking in the city center, individual transport and air transport were to increase, while improving public transport, the positive impact would be much higher than a cheap ticket,” the economist further asserts. According to him, the problem is that “politicians don’t dare to do this because they lose elections”.


The article is in Czech

Tags: event ticket euros repeated German transport economist

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