The federal government is currently not willing to renegotiate the agreed financial support for the Deutschlandticket.

Federal Transport Minister Volker Wissing (FDP) made this clear immediately after the Transport Ministers' Conference on Tuesday evening.

"The financial questions have already been clarified between the Federal Chancellor and the Prime Minister," said Wissing.

There is a clear commitment for the Germany ticket.

"We expect the state transport ministers to now constructively implement the order from the MPK."

Corinna Budras

Business correspondent in Berlin.

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In doing so, he rebuffed the states with their demand that the federal government should take over half of possible additional costs beyond the already expected three billion euros.

The reason for the debate is the plans of the federal and state governments to make all local public transport (ÖPNV) available to citizens in Germany for a savings price of 49 euros a month, probably from April next year.

The plans seemed to be on the right track, but in the past few days an old conflict about the financing of the Germany ticket has broken out because the costs could possibly be 1.7 billion euros higher than previously forecast.

“The federal government must have an understanding”

"We cannot leave the transport companies out in the rain," said Bremen Mobility Senator Maike Schaefer, who will chair the Transport Ministers' Conference until the end of the year.

In the special meeting scheduled at short notice on Tuesday, the federal states therefore decided to take on half of the additional costs that might be incurred, she emphasized.

"We expect the federal government to take over the other half," demanded the Greens politician.

"I believe that the federal government must have understanding if the Germany ticket is to come - and we are all assuming that now."

The discussion about the financing of public transport has been fermenting for months.

The introduction of the Deutschlandticket has given it new impetus.

In a long-awaited Prime Ministers' Conference (MPK) at the beginning of November, the heads of the federal states and Chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD) agreed on a significant and long-term increase in the so-called regionalization funds, with which the federal government supports the federal states in financing public transport.

In addition, the federal and state governments have agreed to pay 1.5 billion euros each year to compensate for the expected loss of revenue.

At 49 euros a month, the Deutschlandticket is considerably cheaper than the average subscription in the transport associations.

Wissing more optimistic than the transport associations

The question of whether the money is enough depends largely on how many people decide to buy the ticket.

The federal and state governments had already agreed to take a closer look at the financing at the end of 2024.

Federal Transport Minister Wissing (FDP) is obviously more optimistic than the transport associations.

He even hopes for additional income: "The faster the ticket comes, the better," he thinks.

The Association of German Transport Companies (VDV) is more pessimistic.

In the meantime, he even expects losses of up to 4.7 billion euros, 1.7 billion euros more than the original forecast was based on.

The reason for this is the "massive conversion and start-up costs" in the first year, as a VDV spokesman explained.

All control devices must be adapted, standardized or newly procured just to ensure that tickets can be checked nationwide.

To do this, the machines would have to be reprogrammed and the subscriptions would have to be changed.

This would require customer information and additional service personnel.

These costs alone amounted to an estimated 1.1 billion euros.

Problems are also caused by the fact that the MPK did not agree with the Chancellor on an annual subscription, but on a subscription that can be canceled monthly, the spokesman explained.

According to our forecasts, this will increase the revenue losses by a further 500 to 600 million euros.

In addition, there is considerable additional work for the administration of the monthly tickets.

Bremen's Senator Schaefer emphasized that these are "new findings" that must now be dealt with.

The federal states unanimously decided to bear half of the additional costs.

The Minister of Transport from North Rhine-Westphalia, Oliver Krischer (Greens), had previously warned in an interview with the FAZ of a "fully comprehensive mentality" when introducing the Deutschlandticket.

There is not a single tariff in Germany that is free of financial risk.

In addition, the public transport system could be made even more efficient.