GERMANY’s federal government has reached an agreement with the states to continue funding the Deutschlandticket in 2024.

The ticket, which offers unlimited use of all regional and local transport in Germany for a flat fee of €49 per month, was introduced in May 2023 following the successful three-month 9-euro ticket initiative in summer 2022. However, there has been uncertainty over whether funding for the programme would be maintained.

Both the federal and the state governments confirmed a commitment of €1.5bn each to fund the ticket throughout 2024 following a meeting between the state prime ministers and the federal chancellor, Mr Olaf Scholz, on November 6. They say that this funding will compensate operators and states for loss of revenue. Unspent funding from 2023, estimated at €700m, will also carry over into 2024.

However, there is no mechanism within the agreement to release additional funds and there are fears that the compensation is insufficient to meet expected losses - analysis by the German Association of Transport Companies (VDV) projects a €2.3bn loss in 2023 after the ticket was introduced in May, and a loss of €4.1bn in 2024, indicating a potential funding gap of €400m.

The federal and state governments says that they want to agree on further financing in “good time,” including introducing a mechanism to increase the price of the ticket.  

Yet with uncertainty over long-term support, the government has been criticised for “endangering the acceptance of the Deutschlandticket” by the travelling public by not ruling out the possibility of future price increases.

“With this decision, the debate about the future of the ticket is being extended,” says VDV president, Mr Ingo Wortmann. “What is now of central importance is what the agreed concept for the further development of the Deutschlandticket will look like in concrete terms in order to make the ticket a long-term success.”

Federal transport minister, Mr Volker Wissing, welcomed the agreement and described the Deutschlandticket as a “great success.” He urged the states to develop a long-term concept for the ticket that could be in place by the first anniversary of its introduction on May 1 2024.

“I now call on the state transport ministers to work objectively on the success of the Deutschlandticket and to stop questioning it unnecessarily, he says.