The most beloved ticket in Germany is back, and it will stay for the long run — but expect to pay more this time.
Undoubtedly, the 9-euro ticket was a game-changer for summer travelers throughout Germany. It made headlines worldwide and became one of the most beloved government programs of the past decade. No wonder why! Unlimited travel on most forms of public transport throughout Germany for only €9 per month sounded more like wishful thinking rather than a genuine option provided by the German government to ease the cost of living crisis.
But it happened. It was real. Over 52 million tickets were sold, and the experiment was a success. Germany reported fewer traffic jams and lower carbon emissions and experienced a massive boom in local tourism. The ticket price pushed down inflation and provided a financial boost to citizens impacted by rising energy costs in 2022.
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But it wasn’t all perfect. The rise in demand exposed some long-standing flaws in the German public transport infrastructure. People complained of long delays, broken air conditioning, and crowded trains throughout the summer.
Nevertheless, the federal government and German citizens want the unlimited public transportation ticket back after the pilot program ended on August 31. Even though such an incredibly cheap ticket isn’t feasible (the 9-euro scheme cost the government €2.5 billion in three months), a successor to the 9-euro ticket was finally approved last week: the Deutschlandticket.
What is the Deutschlandticket?
The Deutschlandticket is the follow-up to the 9-euro ticket: a fixed-price ticket on public transport — but this time it comes with a higher price point. When it is introduced next year travelers will be able to use most forms of public transport throughout Germany, including buses, U-Bahns, S-Bahns, trams, and local and regional trains for one calendar month for just €49.
True, the cost is just over 5-times more than the beloved 9-euro ticket, but keep in mind that this price is still a fraction of what travelers used to pay before the German government launched the pilot program. And if Germany is to tackle some of the issues with its public transport infrastructure, it needs more money in the pot.
Just like the 9-euro ticket, you can take as many rides as you want, but similar to its predecessor, it does not include long-distance trains like the IC or ICE trains, nor does it cover journeys on buses and trains from private companies like Flixbus/Flixtrain.
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When can I use my Deutschlandticket?
When exactly will the ticket come out? Where can I get my Deutschlandticket? And how long will the Deutschlandticket be available are questions that still need to be answered.
Implementing the Deutschlandticket requires a lot of negotiations among several government entities. The price of €49 per ticket is still not enough to cover the costs of such a program in the long run. So far, the German government will pay half of the costs, the Deutschlandticket should be available from the first quarter of 2023 until at least the end of 2024, and the price of €49 will gradually increase as the years pass by.
Nevertheless, this is the next step to more sustainable and affordable transport in Europe, and at least we know that in 2023, the most beloved train ticket in Germany will be back.
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Can tourists avail of the scheme?
Yes, but if you’re only in the country for a very short-term visit (like a weekend break), you won’t benefit from this offer. That’s because there are better and cheaper options available: 24-hour tickets in Berlin cost €8.80, and a train ride to the Berlin airport is just €3.60. However, if you plan to visit several cities across Germany or arrange day trips from any of its major cities, the Deutschlandticket can help you reduce your travel costs significantly.
The best way to use your Deutschlandticket is to combine it with an Interrail Pass. That way, you can travel long distances using high-speed trains that your Interrail Pass gives you access to, and then you can plan your daily short-term journeys with the Deutschlandticket.