After the chaos surrounding the Deutschlandticket in the Stendal district, other regions could theoretically also opt out of the uniform ticket - but the transport ministries of most states see no efforts in the municipalities to do so. However, in many places there are no collective agreements from the state governments to accept the ticket, as a survey by the German Press Agency among the state transport ministries showed.
Most countries rely on districts and transport companies being bound to the Deutschlandticket through resolutions within the transport associations. It is unlikely that an entire transport association will withdraw from the Deutschlandticket - but depending on its size, it is not impossible either.
In the Stendal district, the district council did not approve a resolution to recognize the Deutschlandticket. This means that the ticket will no longer be valid on the buses there from January 1st. The district had expected additional costs of 40,000 euros for the first four months of the year. A special district assembly is scheduled to meet next week to decide again on the recognition of the Deutschlandticket. The state had previously promised the districts an additional 10 million euros for financing.
Thuringia adapted its public transport law
"Something like this would not be possible in Hesse. Because here, a so-called combined tariff applies in all transport associations, which also includes the Deutschlandticket and other offers such as the senior citizen ticket," explained the Ministry of Transport in Wiesbaden when asked. The situation is very similar in Brandenburg and Schleswig-Holstein, for example. The Stendal district is not part of a transport association and could therefore more easily turn against the Deutschlandticket.
Thuringia has anchored the Deutschlandticket in its public transport law - according to its own information, it is the only federal state to do so. In return, it was stipulated that “the Free State of Thuringia owes the transport companies compensation for the associated disadvantages,” explained the ministry in Erfurt.
Baden-Württemberg and Saxony are checking the arrangement
The transport ministries in Baden-Württemberg and Saxony, however, announced that a collective agreement was still being examined. There are around 20 transport associations in Baden-Württemberg, some of which only represent a single district. The hurdles for a protest like in Stendal would be smaller than in Brandenburg, for example, where the Berlin-Brandenburg transport association covers all districts.
A spokesman for the Lower Saxony Ministry of Transport said that a situation like in Stendal was theoretically possible there too. But we don't see this danger. In Düsseldorf it was said: "With regard to North Rhine-Westphalia, we are not aware of any events similar to those in Stendal. We therefore see no need for an order." In Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, the municipalities were asked by a letter from the state to extend the existing tariff regulations for the Deutschlandticket until April 30, 2024.
There is a risk of a price increase on May 1, 2024
The background to the debate is that the financing of the Deutschlandticket for 2024 has not been regulated in detail. The federal and state governments agree that the Deutschlandticket should also be available next year, but not how possible additional costs will be borne. According to a forecast by the Association of German Transport Companies (VDV), the industry's losses from the introduction of the Deutschlandticket are likely to amount to 2.3 billion euros this year, after the ticket was only introduced at the beginning of May. In the full year 2024 it is likely to be 4.1 billion euros.
The federal and state governments have so far promised to make six billion euros available for 2023 and 2024 - so there could be a gap of 400 million euros. At the beginning of November, the transport ministers of the federal states were tasked with presenting a concept for further financing of the ticket in time for May 1, 2024. The order includes a mechanism for updating the ticket price, “which can also include an increase”.
There is a certain amount of uncertainty in the current regulations for transport companies. Accordingly, the VDV has called for “legal protection” in recent days, and the Allianz Pro Schiene interest group has called for “financing security for the additional costs”. “The states must oblige the districts and cities to use the Deutschlandticket and thus also assume responsibility for financing,” demanded the German District Association on Tuesday.