According to initial data, only 3% of Germans have left their car for the 9-euro ticket

Germany's 9-euro ticket might have led to more CO2 emissions

Germany's 9-euro ticket might have led to more CO2 emissions

Preliminary data for the effects of the discount ticket could pull the breaks on expanding the scheme in the future

At the end of May, the German federal government voted to introduce a 9-euro monthly ticket that would apply to all public transport, including regional trains. The measure was supposed to help citizens with the rising fuel prices, while also shifting people’s perceptions towards public transport and convincing them to move away from cars.

Two months in, the evaluation of the scheme’s success is still ongoing, while Transport Minister Volker Wissing deemed the project a win. Nevertheless, preliminary data suggests that the 9-euro ticket might have actually led to more CO2 emissions, as the DPA (German Press Agency) reports.

Preliminary data shows that people travel more

One of the groups doing research on the effects of the 9-euro ticket is Agora Verkehrswende, a climate think tank dedicated to traffic issues. The Public Transport Manager Philipp Kosok explained that the preliminary data needs to be taken with a grain of salt, however, as initial results seem alarming.

He continued by saying that the data suggest that the 9-euro ticket has hardly shifted people towards sustainable mobility. There are currently no indicators of positive climate effects, in fact, it might even generate more carbon emissions.

Recent surveys, one by the Association of German Transport Companies (VDV) and one in the Munich area recently revealed that only around 3% of respondents left their cars behind in favour of local public transport.

Christian Böttger, a rail expert at the Berlin University of Applied Sciences, explained that the ticket has led to uneven and selective use of public transport, so much so that it has led to a traffic collapse on some routes. Data from the Federal Statistical Office, on the other hand, suggested that rail travel has gone up by 42% in June, compared to June 2019.

At the same time, the VDV claims that around a quarter of journeys with public transport would not have been made without the ticket. These are what they call additional journeys, not substitute journeys.

The Munich data seems to corroborate these claims, as according to that survey, 35% of people used public transport more often, but only 3% used their own vehicles less often.

Klaus Bogenberger who headed the study at the Technical University of Munich, however, pointed out that dramatic behavioural shirts were not expected in the first phase of the programme anyway. Yet, he pointed out that merely introducing public transport into people’s lives was a significant first step.  

The future of the 9-euro ticket

This puts the 9-euro ticket’s continued existence at risk, as it fuels sceptics’ opinion within the ruling coalition in the Bundestag. Initially, the reduced ticket scheme was supposed to run for three months in the summer, however, the Greens are working on ways to extend that schedule, albeit with tickets for between 29 and 50 or 60 euros.

Their most concrete proposition was reported by ARD with a 29-euro regional ticket and a 49-euro federal ticket. It also envisions the country to be divided into 8 regions with some overlap over big cities. An example is Hamburg, which will be covered in two zones, meaning that people could travel both with one 29-euro ticket.

Party leader Richard Lang was quoted by Tagesschau, explaining that the measure is hugely popular, with 80% of people polled responding they approve of reduced rates for public transport.

Finance Minister Christian Lindner, has, however, described the scheme as unfair. This is because rural communities without access to trains or public transport, end up financing cheaper trips for urban populations, as the scheme is heavily subsidized by the Federal Government.



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