It was immensely popular, inspired many people to use public transport and demanded a sequel: the German 9 euro ticket. As states wrestle with the national government over how much a tracking ticket can cost and who will pay, Berlin is already presenting a 29-euro ticket today. The criticism is still there.
While most people stamp their tickets, activist Leo Maurer ignores the stamping machine on the platform of Berlin’s Friedrichstraße station. She does it on principle. And she is not alone.
Maurer simply thinks German public transport is too expensive and is taking action against it. At the beginning of September, she founded the so-called 9EuroFonds together with seven other activists. An initiative to promote the popular 9 euro note, expired August 31extend.
New group of travelers
The concept works as follows: you pay nine euros per month to the solidarity fund, and you travel on public transport without a valid transport ticket. If you are checked without a fine, the fund will pay your fine or your procedure. In one month, more than 8,000 people registered and more than 300 fines were paid.
Pricing, or encouraging it, is of course illegal. But the 9EuroFonds is above all a call for politicians to make public transport accessible.
Research by transport company association VDV also shows that the 9 euro ticket has increased accessibility. More than a quarter of the 52 million tickets sold were bought by people who normally use public transport less than once a month. The call for an affordable successor to the 9 euro note remains strong.
Disagreement on follow-up ticket
What this follow-up ticket should look like remains unclear so far. To do this, the Länder and the national government must first agree on funding.
The federal government is making 1.5 billion euros available, but the federated states are demanding more. Tickets should not only be cheaper, but the existing public transport offer should also be improved and expanded. In some sparsely populated areas, for example, there are no buses at all. Some federal states may find this even more important than a cheap ticket.
Most likely, politicians won’t make a decision until mid-October. The introduction of a new public transport ticket will then take place in January. But people can’t wait any longer.
“A 29 euro note is still way too much money for a lot of people,” says Maurer. “It’s a trial balloon that empties again after 3 months. People need a cheap and durable ticket.”
However, anyone who speaks to travelers during peak hours hears mostly positive reactions about the ticket: “I think it’s good that there is the possibility to use this ticket”, says one of them, “especially for people who suffer from high prices”. It’s a bright spot.”