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Up to 2600 euros savings per year - the completely underestimated 49-euro ticket

From the point of view of the Prime Minister of Lower Saxony, Stephan Weil (SPD), it was the central message of the federal-state meeting on Wednesday: "The 49-euro ticket will come, if possible on January 1st, otherwise as soon as possible in 2023.

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Up to 2600 euros savings per year - the completely underestimated 49-euro ticket

From the point of view of the Prime Minister of Lower Saxony, Stephan Weil (SPD), it was the central message of the federal-state meeting on Wednesday: "The 49-euro ticket will come, if possible on January 1st, otherwise as soon as possible in 2023." he said when he presented the decisions of the Prime Ministers' Conference together with Chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD) and North Rhine-Westphalian colleague Hendrik Wüst (CDU). The so-called Deutschlandticket is “an important practical improvement for the lives of many people”.

The price may be a disappointment for those who used the 9-euro ticket for weekend trips by regional train in summer. But for all commuters who travel longer distances to work by bus or train, the Deutschlandticket is a generous relief measure, even at the price of 49 euros, as example calculations show.

Depending on the region and commuting distance, the new nationwide ticket brings you savings of more than 2000 euros a year. Anyone who commutes the approximately 60 kilometers between the Aachen area and Cologne currently pays 265.80 euros for their monthly pass as a subscription, which is 3189.60 euros a year. With the 49-euro ticket, these commuters would only have to pay 588 euros for the whole of 2023. That is a saving of 2601.60 euros.

Commuters who drive daily from Wörrstadt in Rhenish Hesse, with its approximately 8,000 inhabitants, to Wiesbaden, the Hessian state capital about an hour away, pay 144.30 euros a month or 1732 euros a year. With the new Deutschlandticket you will have to pay 1144 euros less in the coming year.

Public transport users who live in the outskirts of large cities are therefore among the winners, but city dwellers themselves are not necessarily among the winners. For example, anyone who travels exclusively by bus and train in the Munich city area today pays 561 euros a year – that is 17 euros less than the Deutschlandticket will cost in twelve months.

After all, the Hamburgers save 114 euros. In the Hanseatic city, the subscription to a monthly ticket costs EUR 58.50. This is 702 euros per year. According to the transport company, the annual ticket in Berlin has so far cost 761 euros. With the 49-euro ticket, Berliners will therefore pay 173 euros less for their transport within twelve months.

According to the Federal Statistical Office, around 15 percent of the almost 20 million commuters, i.e. around three million people, have something from the new ticket. They use buses and trains to get to work. In contrast, 70 percent or 14 million working people commute by car.

This was the aim of the CDU transport politician Michael Donth with his criticism on the day after the federal-state agreement. "The ticket will only be an attractive offer for customers who have already subscribed to monthly tickets and who now receive the same service at a lower price," he said. Occasional drivers and users of long-distance transport would not benefit, just like people in rural areas, without well-developed public transport.

Similar criticism came from the AfD. "The so-called Deutschlandticket hardly really helps anyone," said Dirk Spaniel, spokesman for transport policy for the parliamentary group. The three billion euros that are planned for subsidizing the Germany ticket should rather be used for a new tank discount for all those who are dependent on the car.

Social associations, on the other hand, were bothered by the price. "The 49-euro ticket has now been launched - but unfortunately this does not achieve affordable mobility for poor people and low earners," said Franz Schrewe, NRW state chairman of the German social association.

The North Rhine-Westphalian Environment and Transport Minister Oliver Krischer (Greens) meanwhile welcomed the agreement. "The ticket suddenly makes traveling by train and bus attractive for millions of people," he explained.

"Where previously a monthly pass for commuting between two cities cost a higher three-digit amount, I can now travel for 49 euros and that also nationwide." This will "radically clear the completely outdated and customer-hostile tariff jungle in Germany".

It is unclear whether the new ticket will actually be valid from January 1st. In the case of the transport associations, this is considered impossible. "Transport companies and associations will do everything they can to implement this decision as quickly as possible, but it is clear that January 1st will not be adhered to because crucial questions have remained unanswered," said Oliver Wolff, Managing Director of the Association of German Transport Companies ( VDV).

From his point of view, the contribution of the federal and state governments of 1.5 billion euros each is not enough. "The risk of a higher loss and the necessary start-up investments have been shifted to the entrepreneurial risk of the company, that's not possible," said Wolff.

The fact that the Deutschlandticket can be canceled on a monthly basis also leads to considerable income risks, which increase the need for compensation. Negotiations must be made immediately as to who will bear the actual costs.

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