Ticket to ride: Germany eyes public transit revolution

BERLIN (AP) — Germany wants to introduce a public transit pass that costs 49 euros ($47) a month and will be valid nationwide — if officials can agree on the funding.

The proposal follows a wildly successful “9-euro ticket,” which was on offer in Germany for three months this summer as part of efforts to help people switch to environmentally friendly transport, reducing gasoline use and helping combat inflation.

One of its biggest attractions for users is that it will be valid on all the country’s regional bus, train and tram networks, each of which have myriad fare options that many find baffling to navigate.

“With the 9-euro-ticket we showed: simplicity is better,” Transport Minister Volker Wissing said Thursday after a meeting with his counterparts from Germany’s 16 states.

Wissing said the new ticket would be paperless and could be bought for a single month or as a rolling pass. Like the 9-euro ticket this summer, it won’t be valid for intercity trains.

Questions over financing for the ticket still have to be resolved, however. Germany’s federal government has offered to subsidize it with 1.5 million euros annually; states have expressed a willingness to do the same, pending an agreement on federal funding for regional train services.

Greenpeace criticized the plan, saying 49 euros was too expensive for many people.

The environmental group claims its own research shows a ticket for 29 euros would allow double the number of users while requiring no additional subsidies compared to the more expensive proposal.

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