The SPD, the Greens and the Left want to offer the 49-euro ticket, which the federal and state governments agreed on Thursday, as cheaply as possible in Berlin - but they set different accents. The governing mayor Franziska Giffey (SPD) praised on Friday the agreement on the 49-Euro-Ticket - that was a "good decision". However, Giffey then referred in particular to Berlin's 29-euro ticket, which is still valid until the end of December, and hinted at an extension. Berlin needs "mobility for one euro a day," Giffey said during a ride on the new 483/484 S-Bahn series. Demand is high, and she hears from many people who say they will switch to buses and trains if the offer is good, the governor said.
On Thursday, Federal Transport Minister Volker Wissing (FDP) and his 16 counterparts in the German states agreed in principle on the introduction of a 49-euro ticket that would be valid throughout Germany. The financing of the offer, which is to apply initially for two years, is still unclarified and is to be clarified on the coming Prime Minister conference. Whether the offer will already apply from January 1 is also uncertain.
Theoretically, Berlin could subsidize the 49-euro ticket, which will be valid from January, to 29 euros. The Berlin-Brandenburg Transport Association (VBB) did not want to comment on the modalities, saying that this was a matter for politicians.
Berlin's transport senator Bettina Jarasch (Greens) is calling for the 49-euro ticket to be subsidized and offered at a lower price, especially for people on low incomes. "It is a big step that 16 transport ministers and the federal minister have agreed on a concept," Jarasch told the Tagesspiegel newspaper. "But for many people in Berlin, even such an attractive offer is too expensive." The transport senator is receiving support from the Left Party, which is calling for "social price scales for people receiving transfer payments, students and senior citizens".
Jarasch confirmed that she had instructed her administration to examine a social price scale for the 49-euro ticket. Jarasch did not yet want to give any details about a possible group of recipients and the amount of relief. In addition, she said, the government also wants to look at how other offers, such as semester tickets, trainee tickets or company tickets, can benefit from the agreement.
At the same time, the government factions are currently negotiating the extent to which the existing Berlin social ticket can be offered at a lower price as part of the relief package. This currently costs 27.50 euros and is thus only slightly cheaper than the current 29-euro ticket. A price of between nine and 19 euros is being considered.
With the question, to what extent this price lowering of the citizens of Berlin social tick is pursued, if the socially graduated 49-Euro-Ticket is already offered to 1 January, Jarasch did not want to commit itself. "There is a socially graduated, nationwide ticket for Berliners only if we introduce a discount for certain groups here in Berlin," Jarasch said. "Whether it makes sense to have a social ticket valid only in Berlin in addition to that would have to be clarified - like all the other details."
Criticism of the plan to additionally subsidize the nationwide ticket by the state of Berlin comes from the FDP. "There should be no race to the lowest price," said Felix Reifschneider, transport policy spokesman for the FDP parliamentary group. "The 49-euro ticket brings real relief for many people in the Berlin-Brandenburg metropolitan region without overburdening public budgets in the long term." Instead of an even cheaper price, Reifschneider says the focus must now be on the quality of the offer, such as the necessary investments in infrastructure. Reifschneider does not question the Berlin social ticket. "The fact that there is now to be a nationwide social ticket is something we cannot understand," he said.
Photo by Ant Rozetsky