Deutsche Bahn and numerous transport associations in Germany began selling nine-euro monthly tickets on Monday. In the early hours of the morning alone, around 50,000 tickets were sold via Deutsche Bahn's channels, according to a company spokesperson. In the morning, the site was repeatedly overloaded due to high demand.
The nine-euro ticket was also available via the DB Navigator rail app on Monday. Anyone who booked a trip on regional transport via the mobile app came across the offer during the process.
However, some transport companies and cities had already started selling them in the previous days. In Wuppertal, interested parties were even able to buy the ticket on Wednesday before it was approved by the Bundestag and Bundesrat.
Starting next month, passengers will be able to use the monthly ticket on local and regional public transport throughout Germany - in other words, on all public transport apart from long-distance trains, such as those operated by Deutsche Bahn or Flixtrain. It is valid in all cities and across all network boundaries. The special tickets are to be offered for June, July and August - for nine euros a month each and thus much cheaper than normal monthly tickets.
Despite criticism and skepticism from the federal states, the Bundesrat approved the plan on Friday. Interest is high, for example, the Berlin public transport company (BVG) announced on Saturday that it had already received almost 35,000 orders the day before.
Those who already have a monthly or annual subscription should not have to worry about anything else. "Reductions will be made automatically for existing subscriptions, so that only the nine euros per month will be charged," says the Berlin-Brandenburg transport association, for example. The reductions are later transferred back to the respective customer account.
The cheap tickets are part of the relief packages of the traffic light coalition because of the strongly risen energy prices. At the same time, they are supposed to be a big taster campaign to attract more passengers and encourage them to switch from their cars.
Federal Transport Minister Volker Wissing (FDP) spoke of an opportunity for local public transport (ÖPNV) and climate-friendly mobility. On Sunday, he defended the financing of the nine-euro ticket for commuters and other travelers against criticism from the federal states. The ticket is "fully financed," the FDP politician said on ARD television.
He added that everything the states needed would be provided, namely full compensation for the ticket shortfalls during this period. "What the states want in terms of more money, we'll talk about in the fall. That's when we'll be talking about the financing of local public transport in the next few years," Wissing announced.
Under the law passed on Friday, the federal government will provide the states with 2.5 billion euros, among other things, to compensate for lost revenue for transport providers.
The states must implement the plan with transport associations and companies. They had demanded a further 1.5 billion euros in view of increased energy and personnel costs, but were unable to get their way. However, payments of 1.2 billion euros to compensate for losses due to the Corona pandemic are anchored in the law.
Rail and bus operators and the transport associations are preparing for a greater rush of passengers - full trains to excursion destinations are expected, especially on weekends.