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Deutschlandticket display in Cologne (symbolic image): Federal Transport Minister Wissing sees the ball in the court of the federal states when it comes to the price of the Deutschlandticket

Photo: Ying Tang / NurPhoto / Getty Images

In the dispute over the Deutschlandticket, the federal and state governments agreed on an essential point on Tuesday night: the ticket should continue to exist - and it should be clarified by next spring how the ticket will be financed in the longer term. Above all, however, it remains to be seen how long the ticket, which allows travel across the country, will continue to be offered at 49 euros per month and whether it will soon become more expensive.

The plan now stipulates that subsidies that have not been used this year may be used in the coming year to compensate for financial disadvantages suffered by transport companies caused by the cheaper ticket. The Conference of Transport Ministers is to develop a concept for further financing.

NRW minister does not rule out higher price

However, the financial framework that has now been set restricts many things and could lead to the fact that the introductory price will no longer be sustainable from May 2024, said the chairman of the state transport ministers, Oliver Krischer (Greens) from North Rhine-Westphalia. At least in the first year after the introduction, i.e. until the end of April 2024, there will be no price increase, emphasized Lower Saxony's head of department Olaf Lies (SPD).

"The additional funds now available for 2024 are a good signal and an important step for the short-term continued existence of the Deutschlandticket," said Ingo Wortmann, President of the Association of German Transport Companies (VDV). "However, this does not provide a conclusive and complete answer to the question of financing." The funds now made available would probably not be sufficient for the entire coming year. "With this decision, the debate about the future of the ticket is going into overtime," Wortmann continued.

In the traffic light coalition, the Greens immediately campaigned for a stable price. Inflation makes life expensive for many, and the ticket is attractive because of its low price. "That's why it's important that the Deutschlandticket remains a 49-euro ticket," said parliamentary group leader Katharina Dröge.

However, the environmental organization Greenpeace warned: "If customers expect a price increase at any time, then this will stifle the success of the ticket before it has even really arrived." The consumer advice centres warned that this would make the ticket neither more attractive nor more reliable. The price of 49 euros is already the pain threshold for many. The ADAC demanded that the future price should not deviate significantly from the current one. Affordability is a good and important argument for public transport.

"It's a bad joke that this MPK ends without a clear rejection of price increases for the Deutschlandticket," said Svenja Appuhn, co-head of the Green Party's youth organization.

Federal Transport Minister Volker Wissing, however, welcomed the decision taken by the federal and state governments. The decision shows that the debate initiated by the Länder on the financing of the ticket was completely superfluous. "Apart from unsettling consumers, they have achieved nothing," said the FDP politician. He called on his country colleagues "to work objectively on the success of the Deutschlandticket and to stop questioning it without need."