The German Association of Cities has called on the federal government to contribute to the expected additional costs of the Deutschlandticket next year.

“The fact that Federal Transport Minister Volker Wissing rejects the financing of the deficit from 2024 beyond the current federal share of 1.5 billion euros and further discussions with the states is absolutely unacceptable,” said managing director Helmut Dedy to the newspapers of the Funke media group. “Without financial guarantees from the federal and state governments, the Deutschlandticket is on the verge of extinction.”

How has the ticket been financed so far?

This year, the federal and state governments each financed half of the loss of income through the cheap ticket of up to three billion euros. But it is foreseeable that the deficits could increase to more than four billion euros next year, said Dedy. At the special conference of transport ministers on Thursday there was no agreement on further financing. “Time is of the essence,” said Dedy. “The federal government must quickly give up its blockade.” A solution is necessary by the end of the year. “Otherwise the Germany ticket will remain a one-off field test for a few months.”

The federal and state governments have decided on the Deutschlandticket and now have to permanently compensate for the shortfall in revenue. “The cities and their transport companies have done everything they can to introduce the ticket as quickly as possible and to make it a success,” said Dedy. “However, we cannot compensate for the deficits resulting from the reduced ticket price.”

The ticket, which has been available since May for 49 euros per month, is a digitally bookable, monthly-cancellable subscription for local transport throughout Germany. However, in the dispute over further financing, the fronts between the federal and state governments have hardened for a long time.

Additional costs are controversial

The possible additional costs of the ticket are controversial. In the first year, the cost increases should be shared in half – but this “obligation to make additional contributions” is open from 2024. The Association of German Transport Companies expects additional costs for the Deutschlandticket to amount to 1.1 billion euros in 2024. The states have agreed to pay half of the additional costs in 2024 and 2025. The federal government must make the same commitment, they demand.

According to the managing director of the Stuttgart Transport Association (VVS), Thomas Hachenberger, time is running out. “We are absolutely at the deadline,” he told the “Stuttgarter Nachrichten” and the “Stuttgarter Zeitung”. “If the Germany ticket were to fail, we would have to turn our entire tariff system inside out again.” In his view, failure would be “a real disaster” for the political climate in the country. “Politicians would lose an enormous amount of trust with citizens.”