Dhe 9-euro ticket was born in a nightly meeting of the coalition committee and implemented within just three months. A nationwide successor model, whether for 49 or 69 euros, will probably take much longer. The reason for this is a dispute between the federal and state governments over finances - not just in relation to the ticket itself, but in relation to the entire local public transport system.
This is at a special meeting of the transport ministers of the federal states with the federal transport minister Volker Wissing (FDP) became clear on Monday. In a unanimous decision, the federal states announced their intention to introduce such a nationwide ticket. For this purpose, however, a "top-class" working group should first be set up, which will determine the framework specifications for a follow-up ticket and its financing by the time of the regular conference of transport ministers on October 12th and 13th.
Based on model calculations, ticket models should then be submitted to the transport ministers for a decision. However, the transport ministers tied their decision to the fundamental demand that the federal government first dig much deeper into its pockets than it has done so far. According to the states, the 1.5 billion euros promised by Wissing are not enough. In addition to this amount, they are demanding a further 3.165 billion euros in regionalization funds in order to compensate for the rising energy costs and to be able to further expand the range of buses and trains in the future.
The share of the federal states is still open
"We need more money in the system," said Maike Schaefer, Senator for Mobility in Bremen and Chair of the Conference of Transport Ministers. How much the countries are willing to give is still open. Specific numbers were not given. The federal government has already transferred regionalization funds of 9.4 billion euros to the federal states this year, plus another billion to compensate for the losses in connection with the corona pandemic.
However, according to the countries, this is not even enough to maintain the status quo. The reason for this is the rapidly increasing energy prices, which are hitting the transport companies just as hard as many other companies. The federal states were disappointed that Wissing did not announce a further increase in regionalization funds at the meeting and once again recalled that these had been promised in the coalition agreement.
"Warm words are no longer enough for us," warned Schaefer. "We want butter on the fish." Since the coalition agreement, not only has the line of the coalition changed, but also the demands of the federal states. Only in August did they more than double their original demand of 1.5 billion euros to 3.165 billion euros, each for the current and the coming year.
Countries agreed rebate 'fist in the pocket'
With the demand on the federal government to further increase the regionalization funds, the transport ministers remain true to their line, which they always expressed before the introduction of the 9-euro ticket. "We won't reach our destinations if we still have a cheap ticket but don't drive buses," said Brandenburg Transport Minister Guido Beermann (CDU). As early as May, the federal states only approved the three-month nationwide discount “with their fists in their pockets”, as Bavaria still belligerently put it at the meeting of the Bundesrat in May on the introduction of the 9-euro ticket.
Conversely, Federal Transport Minister Wissing insists that the federal states disclose how much they invest in financing local public transport. This is currently also being clarified in a federal-state working group, which was founded in February after initial resistance from the states.
This body is also tasked with presenting results by the next conference of transport ministers in October. However, their mandate is much more fundamental than that of the new committee on the nationwide public transport ticket: This is about structuring the financing of local public transport in general in order to be able to set better priorities for future expansion.