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Advertisement for the Deutschlandticket at Cologne Central Station

Photo: Thomas Banneyer / dpa

The Deutschlandticket should be used via app or chip card, according to the will of Transport Minister Volker Wissing (FDP) if possible as a completely digital offer. However, for transport companies that were not yet able to provide a digital ticket at the start in May, paper issuance was also allowed on a transitional basis. And as it now stands, the transition will continue. As the »Rheinische Post« reports, the states are considering an extension beyond 31 December. Until then, the option of issuing in paper form with a QR code was originally limited.

A paper ticket "also ensures broader participation within the population," explained a spokeswoman for the Ministry of Transport of North Rhine-Westphalia, which is chairing this year's Transport Ministers' Conference. In the context of the working sessions of the federal and state governments, the deadline is "currently being discussed".

The chairman of the Pro Bahn passenger association, Detlef Neuß, welcomed the possible extension of the paper option. Neuß told the »Rheinische Post« that there were difficulties with the digital implementation, especially with smaller transport companies. For example, there was still a lack of readers for the chip cards.

At least a small climate effect

Union parliamentary group vice-chairman Ulrich Lange (CSU) told the newspaper: "I think it is legitimate to offer the 49-euro ticket in paper form beyond 31 December." From the outset, it was pointed out that certain groups of people would be able to use the ticket in digital form "much more difficult or not at all – for example, senior citizens and primary school pupils," said Lange.

The Deutschlandticket has been valid since May and entitles the holder to travel on local and regional transport nationwide for 49 euros per month. It is designed as a subscription that can be cancelled monthly. The future financing is controversial between the federal and state governments. It is about the question of how the loss of revenue of the transport companies will be divided. According to the current agreement, the federal and state governments will each pay 1.5 billion euros for the years 2023 and 2024.

There is a dispute over the question of how additional costs are distributed. The states want the federal government to cover half of this additional financial requirement in 2024 as well as in 2023. The Federal Ministry of Transport points out that the extent of possible additional costs is not yet clear. The Association of German Transport Companies (VDV) sees at least a small climate effect of the ticket: About five percent of all journeys with the Deutschlandticket would have been made by car without the ticket, the association calculated in August.