About 52 million tickets, which cost just 9 euros (dollars) per month and allowed users to travel locally in Germany, according to an organization that represents transit businesses, were sold during the summer.
BERLIN (AP) — Days before the project ends and amid widespread calls for a replacement, a group representing transit companies said Monday that approximately 52 million of the tickets allow people to use local public transportation throughout Germany for just nine euros (dollars) per month were sold over the summer.
Beginning in June, the "9-euro ticket" was made available for three months as a part of a government initiative aimed at reducing excessive inflation and gasoline costs. The administration also reduced the fuel tax, a reduction that also expires on Wednesday.
The summer season has seen a spike in demand for the ticket, which is good on all local and regional transit but not on intercity trains.
52 million of the tickets were reportedly sold during the three months, according to the VDV organization, which represents more than 630 German transportation businesses. On top of that, the difference between their regular price and the nine-euro ticket was returned to more than 10 million persons who already held transportation permits. 83 million people live in Germany.
According to a poll conducted by VDV and national railroad operator, Deutsche Bahn using 6,000 interviews each week, 10% of trips made with the incredibly inexpensive ticket replaced trips that would have otherwise been made by automobile.
The government has long been clear that it won't prolong the policy through the end of August, but there has been a lot of pressure to implement a cheap ticket after that point, either nationally or regionally.
There have been several protests advocating for the nine-euro ticket to remain available as it is. The primary ruling party in Berlin last week suggested a nine-euro monthly ticket solely for the capital, but it's not clear whether the idea would be implemented. There are also many other concepts.
However, even supporters concede that more liberal funding is needed for the German transportation system. The Verkehrsclub Deutschland group said that an additional 15 billion euros a year are required to provide reasonable tariffs and get the system in shape. The group supports increased usage of public transportation for environmental reasons.
Some individuals, including Germany's two major railroad unions, won't miss the nine-euro ticket. Both have expressed dissatisfaction with the run on trains, which occasionally resulted in congestion and delays and added stress on staff.
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