IT was a scheme designed to mitigate inflation and offer an alternative to filling up tanks at eye-watering prices. Now the uptake of the ‘9 Euro Ticket’ in Germany has sparked debate about its potential permanent impact worldwide.


The ‘9 Euro Ticket’?

The German Government introduced the scheme as part of a wider relief package in response to inflation and in particular, the soaring energy costs hitting householders trying to light, heat and function in their homes, as well as vehicle-owners trying to get from A to B. 


And how does it work?

As it says on the tin, for just nine Euros - around £7.63 - in June, July and August, passengers have been able to buy a ticket to travel across Germany on local or regional services. In a scheme subsidised by the government for around Euros 2.5 billion - £2.1 billion - they could jump on Berlin’s U-Bahn metro or take an above-ground train.


The idea?

As well as mitigating the cost-of-living crisis that has been fuelled further by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the impact on the climate was part of the experiment, to see if it encouraged car owners to switch their mode of transport. It was quite a deal, considering a monthly pass for Berlin’s inner city alone is usually 86 Euros.



So far, figures from Deutsche Bahn (DB), the country’s national railway, show that 38 million people bought the ticket, with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz declaring the initiative a "big success" and announcing talks for a follow-up scheme.


Costly, though?

Residents have asked for the scheme to continue, but Germany’s Finance Minister Christian Lindner said it would cost the country 14 billion Euros per year that would impact spending on other areas.



He said the success of the scheme showed many simply valued a a simpler ticketing system which in itself could encourage more use of public transport.



Research is ongoing into the impact of the ticket, with an in-depth study due in November, but early results show that in Munich alone, car congestion fell 3 per cent from May to June, while Germany’s Federal Statistical Office said one-fifth of Germans used public transport regularly for the first time and it also noted a 42% increase in rail travel through June and July compared with the same period pre-pandemic. Another study by the University of Potsdam recorded a fall in pollution of about 6 per cent in cities and separately, the Cologne Institute for Economic Research said the ticket helped keep inflation around two percentage points lower.


It’s not a new concept?

The 'KilmaTicket' in Austria allows travellers to use all scheduled services - public and private rail and city and public transport - in a specific area for a year, regional, cross-regional or nationwide. Described as "simple and inexpensive and a valuable contribution to the climate of our planet", it is also hailed as "the ticket with which we aim to reach the Paris climate goals together."



To address the cost-of-living, Spain is to introduce free rail journeys from September until the end of the year.


In the UK?

Strikes have crippled rail UK-wide and more are planned for the weeks ahead.