It was an almost normal Wednesday in Nuremberg: no special events, no school holidays, hardly any pandemic. And yet buses and trains were significantly fuller than in the weeks and months before June 1st. “Our counting points have registered around ten percent more passengers than before the introduction of the nine-euro ticket,” says a spokeswoman for the Nürnberger Verkehrs-Aktiengesellschaft (VAG) WELT.
It is a first sign that the nine-euro ticket could actually trigger the hoped-for trial effect for local public transport. Most transport companies are still cautious with the first balance sheets after the first day with the radically discounted local transport tickets.
The Association of German Transport Companies (VDV) does not want to present the first figures until after the Pentecost weekend, and the Berlin Transport Company (BVG) also wants to wait for the holidays. In Munich, the local transport company (MVG) said that the nine-euro ticket had not yet had any effect on Wednesday.
In circles of various transport companies, however, it is said that similar positive effects are observed as in Nuremberg, even if they cannot yet be substantiated with concrete figures: the nine-euro ticket ensures that the number of passengers has increased noticeably, but not dramatically be.
In the run-up to the introduction of the ticket, there was a real “run”, as Transport Minister Volker Wissing (FDP) stated. Seven million nine-euro tickets were already sold nationwide before it even started. But whether and how these tickets would also be used is now the decisive question.
The Nuremberg figures indicate that the campaigns could also persuade some Germans to switch to public transport, at least on a trial basis. The federal government and the transport ministers of the federal states had hoped for this advertising effect, but in the past few weeks the main focus was on possibly overcrowded regional trains on the routes to the state’s holiday regions.
But apparently the nine-euro ticket is not only used for a cheap trip to Sylt or in the mountains, but also for commuting to work and school.
In the coming weeks it will now have to be seen whether the trial users can actually be convinced of a permanent switch to buses and trains in the first few days or whether the effect will fizzle out at the latest when the prices for monthly tickets start to rise again significantly from September .
Most recently, passenger numbers were well below the level that had been reached before the pandemic. In Nuremberg, too, the previous increase in passengers is not yet sufficient to compensate for the Corona minus.
While VAG regularly recorded more than 600,000 passengers per day before the pandemic, it was relatively stable at only 480,000 passengers by the end of May. On Wednesday, almost 50,000 additional passengers, who apparently tried out their nine-euro ticket and would otherwise have used other means of transport, were added.
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