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Regional train in Berlin (symbolic image): The VDV warns in a paper of an end to the Deutschlandticket

Photo: imago stock&people / imago/Rainer Weisflog

According to a forecast by the transport industry, the financing of the Deutschlandticket in local and regional transport will be significantly more expensive for the federal and state governments in the coming year. The Association of German Transport Companies (VDV) forecasts a demand of over one billion euros more for 2024, a total of 4.09 billion. This emerges from a VDV paper for a working group of the federal and state governments, which is available to the dpa news agency.

In the paper, the VDV warns of an end to the ticket. Without a "sufficiently endowed budgetary provision or an obligation to make additional contributions", it would not be possible for companies to continue issuing and recognising the ticket.

As potential measures to reduce the higher need for subsidies, the association cites an increase in the ticket price and an expansion of the number of users. In the present scenario, the association estimates a price increase of the Deutschlandticket to 59 euros per month. This would result in lower sales figures, but higher revenues. Depending on the start date of the price increase, the need for subsidies from the federal and state governments would be reduced – however, the extent of a negative customer reaction to a price increase cannot be estimated with certainty.

Since 1 May, the ticket can be purchased for 49 euros per month – as a digitally bookable subscription that can be cancelled monthly throughout Germany. Half of the associated losses for the industry are borne by the federal and state governments. From 2023 to 2025, the federal government will provide 1.5 billion euros each. The countries are raising just as much.

Wissing rejects higher federal participation

Possible additional costs beyond the three billion euros are also to be divided in half in the first year. However, this "obligation to make additional contributions" will be open from 2024 onwards – that is what the dispute between the federal and state governments is about. Federal Transport Minister Volker Wissing rejects a higher cost sharing by the federal government and refers to the responsibility of the states for regional transport. The FDP man calls for savings in the administrative costs of the transport associations. Independent experts also say that at least some states would have to invest more in local transport instead of waiting for the federal government.

According to the VDV paper, as dpa further reports, the sales figures for the ticket are in the "ramp-up" at all associations and companies. The association expects around 2024 million regular users for a full year after its introduction – i.e. at the end of April 13. The option to cancel on a monthly basis is being used more intensively than expected. This creates more planning uncertainty for transport companies. Overall, the price reduction in local public transport through the Deutschlandticket leads to "noticeable loss of revenue" nationwide.

According to the forecast, there will be a need for subsidies of around 2023.2 billion euros for 3 in view of the shortened period of validity from May to December – so the money promised by the federal and state governments is sufficient. Of the grant requirement of 4.09 billion in the coming year, three billion have been firmly pledged by the federal and state governments. The VDV cites the increasing number of passengers switching from other tickets as the core driver of the higher demand. However, this leads to a decline in income from previous subscriptions and the sale of single tickets or monthly passes. This is not compensated by the income from the Deutschlandticket.