The Germany Ticket has proven instantly popular, as three million people buy one in just a few days, to travel all over the country at a flat rate.
The new Germany Ticket (Deutschlandticket), which was launched Monday, is an all-you-can-ride ticket for all modes of public transit in Germany. For just 49 euros a month, ticket-holders can use all local and regional trains, metros, and buses. It’s hoped to encourage drivers to leave their cars at home more this summer, reducing congestion and pollution in favor of more environmentally responsible forms of travel.
Germany has struggled for a long time with a fractured public transit system, with dozens of regional companies each charging their own fares. The Germany Ticket works on almost every option, except for the long-distance intercity trains. But transit in the country is robust enough that cross-country travel is still possible by regional trains. For commuters, who previously paid hundreds of euros each month for train and bus passes, the new fare is a revolution.
Germany tried a similar thing last year, with a 9-euro pass with most of the same options, but it was shut down for not being financially viable. The new fare, while five times as high, still has to be subsidized. It may be the golden ticket to a viable, long-term program.
Anti-poverty activists want the tickets to be available cheaper to low-income commuters, especially families. That may be an option in the future, but is not currently being discussed officially. There is an equivalent ticket available cheaper to students. You don’t have to be a German citizen to buy the Germany Ticket, but it does require a digital subscription, and can’t just be bought at the ticket counter.
Hungary launched two similar tickets on the same day; the national travel card which allows you to use most privately-run bus and rail lines, and a county travel card, which allows the same thing in specific counties.