People in Berlin can use local public transport for longer with a 29-euro ticket than previously planned. "The 29-euro ticket will be extended until the end of March," announced Mayor Franziska Giffey (SPD) on Tuesday after a Senate session.
The low-cost ticket financed by the state for 29 euros a month has been available since October as a successor to the 9-euro ticket from the summer. So far it was planned to offer it up to and including December.
Since, according to Giffey, the Senate no longer assumes that the envisaged nationwide uniform tariff solution for public transport will come on January 1, 2023, the 29-euro ticket will initially be extended for three months. In addition, from January there will also be a social ticket in Berlin for 9 euros a month until at least the end of March.
The circle of beneficiaries should also be significantly expanded compared to the current social ticket for a good 27 euros. According to the Senate, around 650,000 people with less money in their wallets should be entitled to the new ticket for 9 euros a month.
How things will continue from April 2023 is open and depends not least on which nationwide solution the federal and state governments agree on. Most recently, there was talk of a 49-euro ticket, but there were still open questions about financing.
According to mobility senator Bettina Jarasch (Greens), one consideration is to “put on the 49-euro ticket in some places” and to discount it for Berlin from other financial pots. She also repeated her idea of developing a socially graded public transport tariff structure in the region together with the Verkehrsverbund Berlin-Brandenburg (VBB).
The inexpensive public transport tickets are part of the state's package of measures to relieve people, public institutions and companies of high energy prices. Both Giffey and Jarasch and Senator for Culture Klaus Lederer for the left underlined that this is a concrete and quickly implementable relief and help for many people. And it makes sense in terms of climate policy, because switching to public transport can save many tank fillings in cars, says Jarasch.
The state's 1.6 billion euro aid package, the state's share of almost one billion euros in federal aid and other additional expenditure will be financed with the help of a supplementary budget. The 2.6 billion euro draft of this supplementary budget was passed by the Senate on Tuesday, and the decision in the House of Representatives is scheduled for November 14th.
According to Finance Senator Daniel Wesener (Greens), no additional debt should be taken on. Wesener said the Senate was implementing the relief measures it had promised. Giffey said about the supplementary budget: “Our message is: We will not leave Berliners alone in this crisis. We take care of this city.”
In the supplementary budget, 500 million euros are earmarked for discounted public transport tickets. A further 250 million euros are available to support private households – including a hardship fund for people who can no longer pay their electricity or gas bills.
250 million are earmarked for energy cost subsidies to the state's service providers such as transport companies, and 200 million for aid to the economy and increased solar subsidies. 180 million euros are to finance additional energy costs in public buildings, 130 million euros are intended for independent providers, for example in the social sector, 50 million euros for an emergency fund for state-owned companies.
CDU faction leader Kai Wegner criticized the draft budget. The economy has been "forgotten", only 200 million euros are available for them. "I call on the Senate to reconsider the plans," said Wegner. "Anyone who can spend millions on their transport dreams must also think of those who form Berlin's economic backbone." The FDP finance expert Sibylle Meister, on the other hand, gave the plans a generally positive assessment.
But the supplementary budget is not just about high energy prices: 39 million euros are planned for the repeat election to the House of Representatives, which is likely to take place in February, and a partial repeat of the Bundestag elections in Berlin.