If you were given the chance to explore your home country by public transport without having to pay more than a small nominal sum for tickets, where would you go? That is precisely the thought going through the minds of many in Germany this summer. For, in an extraordinary initiative of the country’s federal government, everyone is being given the chance to travel the length and breadth of Germany for just nine euros. That’s not the price per trip. No, it is the cost for an entire month’s travel. The €9 ticket allows unlimited second class travel for a full calendar month on all regional and local public transport. You can ride Berlin buses, see Hamburg from the extensive network of ferries that ply the River Elbe or travel by train from the Baltic coast to the Bavarian Alps.
This remarkable travel deal is available in the months of June, July and August this year. So those wanting a summer feast of cheap travel need only invest €27 to enjoy the freedom to wander for three whole months. It is not restricted to residents of Germany, so visitors can equally take advantage of this offer.
The €9 ticket is designed to encourage everyone to rediscover public transport after the inevitable drop in usage that came with the pandemic. Critics of the scheme argue that it will lead to overcrowding on key routes to holiday destinations and may end up actually deterring travellers from making a more permanent shift from car to train. In the first month of the scheme, the use of regional trains was about 20% up on June 2019 — a pre-pandemic year is being used as the basis for comparison.