Dispute over local transport continues – politics

The signal from the state transport ministers was clear this afternoon. With sixteen votes to zero, the state department heads accepted a decision, the Federal Minister of Transport Volker Wissing should show where to go. On two sides and in seven points holds the paper that the Süddeutsche Zeitung available, how fierce things got to the point at the special transport ministers’ conference. Because the clear message from the federal states was: There will only be a successor solution for the 9-euro ticket if a total of 3.2 billion euros more in rescue aid flow into the clammy local transport system each year.

The countries fear for the future of local transport. Due to skyrocketing energy costs and rising personnel costs, many local transport companies across Germany are in danger of getting into financial difficulties. “We also want a nationwide ticket,” says Bremen’s Senator for Transport Maike Schäfer (Greens), the current chairwoman of the Conference of Transport Ministers. “This relief would ultimately reach people’s wallets directly.” For this, however, a lot more money would have to flow into the system overall.

However, there was no agreement on a successor solution during the multi-hour video meeting between the federal and state governments on Monday. So far, the federal and state governments have only agreed that a successor solution should be in place by January 1st if possible. On the crucial question of financing, however, the two sides hardly came any closer. Although Wissing signaled readiness for higher local transport. However, he cannot meet the billions in demand from the federal states. The budget will not provide such sums this year or next.

As a result, anger is growing in many communities. Because the local transport suffers from extremely tight budgets, although the federal government had actually promised higher funds. Countries are already openly warning that bus or train lines will have to be discontinued in the coming months or that clocks will have to be thinned out. Without financial aid, there is a “danger that public transport services will have to be reduced due to drastic cost increases,” warns Baden-Württemberg’s Minister of Transport, Winfried Hermann (Greens). If necessary, some countries would even burst a follow-up ticket because of the financial crisis. “Where there is no train, where there is no bus, no ticket, no matter how cheap, will get us anywhere,” said Brandenburg’s Transport Minister Guido Beermann (CDU).

A working group should now set it up

As part of the third relief package, the coalition decided on a nationwide ticket for local public transport at the beginning of September. In the federal states, there is dissatisfaction with the fact that the federal government had also decided to relieve citizens at their expense. Because the federal government had set the state participation of 1.5 billion euros without consultation. In June, July and August, the nine-euro ticket enabled travel by bus and train nationwide for one month.

It is also controversial what a new nationwide ticket should cost the passengers. Tariffs between 49 and 69 euros are under discussion. A federal and state working group is now to come together to discuss the details and find quick solutions. He hopes that there will be decisions at the next conference of transport ministers on October 12th and 13th, said Wissing.

Consumer advocates sharply criticized the ongoing dispute on Monday. “It’s a disappointment,” said Ramona Pop, head of the Federal Consumer Association. The transport ministers would have missed the opportunity to relieve consumers in the long term with well-developed local public transport and a cheap and simple tariff and at the same time to achieve the climate goals. “All the more incomprehensible that the federal and state governments are not sending a clear signal for a successor solution,” said Pop. The association demands a 29-euro ticket per month, valid for everyone nationwide.

Wissing’s party friend and Federal Finance Minister Christian Lindner made it clear on Monday that the high wishes of the federal states would meet with resistance in Berlin. The Federal Minister of Transport “set a clear line,” said Lindner. First of all, it is about simplifying the tariff and a digital booking option. “And the federal government is involved with 1.5 billion euros.” Securing local transport is “essentially a state task,” said Lindner. “In this respect, we go beyond the allocation of competences in the state,” he emphasized, with a view to the 1.5 billion euros. Otherwise, the scope in the federal budget is limited. “And I’ll add: You couldn’t and shouldn’t lift the debt brake for a local transport ticket of any kind.”

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