Volker Wissing under pressure because of follow-up regulations

The co-boss of SPD-Linken, Sebastian Roloff, told the Handelsblatt: “The Federal Minister of Transport should not evade responsibility here.” The federal government must “at least act in a coordinating manner,” added the member of the Bundestag. “Because we want to prevent that there will be a fragmentation according to national borders in the end.”

The Greens transport politician Stefan Gelbhaar reminded that according to the regionalization law the federal government is responsible for the financing of local transport. “So it’s not possible to get a slim foot,” he told the Handelsblatt. The minister is obliged to develop and present a proposal, including financing, for a successor arrangement with Finance Minister Christian Lindner (FDP). “He should bring in the states, municipalities and transport companies for this.”

Wissing had emphasized several times that the design of local public transport was a matter for the federal states. “I can’t even design a ticket, the countries have to do it,” he said FDP-Politician on Wednesday in ARD– “Morning magazine”. In the situation of the Ukraine war, the federal government made a one-off proposal for relief and also financed the ticket for three months. “Now you have to see how the countries want to finance it.”

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The nine-euro tickets launched in June are still valid in July and August and allow unlimited travel on local buses and trains throughout Germany for one month.

Consumer advocates want a decision in July

The federal government is financing the campaign with 2.5 billion euros to compensate for loss of income at transport companies – in addition to the regular 9.4 billion this year in so-called regionalization funds, with which the federal states and associations order transport services from the providers. In addition, there is another billion from another federal pot.

>> Read also: Nine-euro ticket has an effect: inflation rate falls

Wissing recently announced that a follow-up offer could be developed by the end of the year or early 2023 in order to relieve passengers of energy costs and give them incentives to switch to local public transport. Among other things, there are suggestions for a 365-euro annual ticket or a 69-euro monthly ticket.

The Federal Association of Consumers (VZBV) is pushing for a quick decision. “By the end of the month, the federal and state governments must agree on the perpetuation of a nationwide valid ticket for local transport,” said VZBV mobility expert Marion Jungbluth to the Handelsblatt. The benchmark must be the simple booking and use of such a ticket. “The VZBV proposes a 29-euro monthly ticket for this, i.e. around one euro per day.”

As a reason, Jungbluth referred to the success of the nine-euro ticket. “Rarely has a political measure met with such great support from the people,” she said. “The ticket relieves the burden in the crisis, especially households with little money.” A big advantage is also the “overcoming of the tariff confusion”, which is one of the biggest hurdles to switching to buses and trains.

Greater use of buses and trains is also required for climate policy reasons. It is therefore all the more important that public transport is also a “reliable alternative and fallback option to the private car”. To do this, it must be expanded and improved.

Majority of Germans for a connection offer.

Of the SPDPolitician Roloff also argues with the “huge success” of the nine-euro ticket and warned that good follow-up regulations should be found quickly. “People can rightly expect that.” Roloff has sympathy for the VZBV proposal. “I think a €29 monthly ticket is an excellent idea,” he said.

>> Read also: Why a big question mark has to be placed behind the success of the nine-euro ticket

Of the ADAC warned against a narrowing down to a pure price debate. “The state must help those who find it difficult to continue paying for public transport,” said Transport President Gerhard Hillebrand of the dpa news agency. “But he must also be able to invest sufficient funds in expansion and improvement.”

Therefore, sticking to a nationwide nine-euro monthly ticket for everyone is not expedient. This would make it more difficult to improve the range of services and make buses and trains more attractive over the long term.
The Association for the Environment and Nature Conservation Germany (BUND) called for a follow-up regulation that is directly connected to the nine-euro ticket. “It must be avoided that people who now use public transport switch to cars in September,” said traffic expert Jens Hilgenberg of the dpa.

The best solution would be a 365-euro annual ticket, which can also be purchased on a monthly basis. In order to make public transport a more attractive alternative for even more people, not only cheap offers but also significantly better timetables, a modernization of vehicle fleets and an increase in public transport staff were needed.

In general, according to a survey, a large majority of Germans would be in favor of a connection offer. 72 percent would basically support a successor solution, as the survey by the opinion research institute Yougov showed.

According to this, 16 percent would reject it, eleven percent make no statement. According to the information, 3697 people aged 18 and over were interviewed on July 19.

More: Driving bans, speed limits, expansion of public transport – politicians are discussing these energy-saving measures

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