Billions in additional costs: Will the Germany ticket become more expensive?

As of: September 19, 2023 10:11 a.m

The VDV transport association estimates that financing the Deutschlandticket will be more than one billion euros more expensive in 2024. This is mainly due to loss of income from other tickets. Where the money will come from is unclear.

New calculations from the transport industry assume significant additional costs for the Deutschlandticket next year. The Association of German Transport Companies (VDV) forecasts a need for subsidies of over one billion euros more by 2024 – a total of 4.09 billion. This emerges from a VDV paper that is available to the German Press Agency.

Reduced revenue by converters

From the transport company’s perspective, a key reason for the higher financing requirement is the increasing number of passengers who are switching from other tickets to the flat-rate ticket in local and regional transport. According to the association, this leads to a reduction in income from previous subscriptions and the sale of single tickets or monthly tickets. The result is a “noticeable reduction in revenue” nationwide.

Overall, sales figures for the Deutschlandticket are in “ramp-up”. The VDV assumes there will be around 13 million regular users one year after the introduction – i.e. at the end of April 2024. The monthly termination option is being used more intensively than expected. This takes away planning security from transport companies.

The federal government no longer wants to pay

The numbers are likely to fuel the financial dispute between the federal and state governments. Since May 1st, the ticket can be purchased digitally throughout Germany for 49 euros per month as a monthly subscription. The federal and state governments each bear half of the associated losses in the industry. An initial three billion euros are earmarked for this between 2023 and 2025.

Any additional costs this year should also be split in half. However, this “obligation to make additional contributions” is open from 2024 onwards – that is what the dispute between the federal and state governments is about. Federal Transport Minister Volker Wissing rejects the federal government’s higher cost share and points to the states’ responsibility for regional transport.

The VDV’s calculations show a subsidy requirement of around 2.3 billion euros for 2023, given the shortened period of validity from May to December. The money promised by the federal and state governments is sufficient. Of the 4.09 billion in subsidies needed next year, only three billion have been firmly committed by the federal and state governments.

Price increase to 59 euros?

The association cites an increase in ticket prices and the acquisition of new users as potential measures to reduce the higher subsidy requirement. The association also warns against the end of the Germany ticket. Without “sufficient budgetary provisions or an obligation to make additional contributions,” it would not be possible for companies to continue issuing and recognizing the ticket.

In the present scenario, the VDV estimates a price increase for the Germany ticket to 59 euros per month. This would result in lower sales figures, but higher income. Depending on the timing of the price increase, the subsidy requirement from the federal and state governments would decrease. However, the extent of a negative customer reaction to the price increase cannot be estimated with certainty.

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