Germany is lowering transit fares to encourage the use of public transportation this summer. As of June 1, a one-month pass that covers unlimited rides on all subways, buses, trams, and regional trains will cost just 9 euros (or $9.58 at current exchange rates). Germany is making a pretty compelling argument for travelers and commuters here, and the message is clear: Take the train, not the car.
The German parliament approved the measure earlier this month in an effort to reduce the country’s dependence on Russian gas and oil in the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Bloomberg reports. The discount will apply for the next three months, timed for the summer travel season.
The plan is to lower fuel consumption by reducing the number of people commuting by car, and get them onto trains, subways and trams — among other things. The discount fare, or “9-Euro-Ticket,” as Der Spiegel calls it (link in German), amounts to a 90-percent reduction in fares across many major cities.
The discount will vary from city to city (depending on what the pre-discount price was), and the unlimited monthly ticket doesn’t apply to faster intercity trains. It does, however, apply to all regional services, which Bloomberg says are found throughout the entire country. Meaning that the cheaper tickets will still pay for a cross-country trip, just a slower one. And these tickets are cheap!
It’s basically an all-you-can-eat buffet, but for travel: three months of public transportation for 27 euros ($28.76). Commuters in Berlin could save 98 euros ($104.41), while those in Greater Hamburg will save over 105 euros ($111.87) versus the standard price for three months of train service.
To put those prices into perspective, Jalopnik’s Editor-in-Chief Bob Sorokanich says the 9-euro unlimited monthly ticket costs less than two rides on the New York City subway. The standard fare in NYC is $2.75 per ride, $33 for an unlimited weekly pass, or $127 for a monthly unlimited. That’s nearly $120 more than the cost of using public transport in Germany all summer long.
The discount is temporary and will eventually expire, but it’s a great way to convince commuters to ditch their cars, even if it’s just for three months. It’ll cut down on Russian oil dependance and lower the country’s emissions, all while giving commuters a chance to catch up on a little summer reading. Just imagine being able to travel within major cities for less than the price of a fast food meal. That sounds good.