Germany backs plans for €9-a-month local transport pass

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A metro train approaches a station on the outskirts of Frankfurt.
A metro train approaches a station on the outskirts of Frankfurt.   -  Copyright  AP Photo/Michael Probst, File

Germany’s parliament has approved a plan that will allow people to use local transport across the country for just €9 per month this summer.

Parliament’s upper house gave final clearance to the measure on Friday, as part of a move to support citizens from high energy prices following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

The cut-price '9 for 90' tickets will be valid on regional trains and buses across Germany and will be available in June, July and August.

Government officials hope that, in addition to reducing costs for frequent travellers, the tickets will lure more people onto climate-friendlier public transport.

But a railway workers’ union and others have voiced concern that it will lead to overcrowded trains, causing delays and frustration.

“A lot of people who so far had less interest in public transport want to give public transport a chance in the next three months,” Transport Minister Volker Wissing told the upper house.

He acknowledged that the plan is likely to lead to full trains and buses in some areas on some days, and that will require “patience and in places strong nerves.”

The German government has also planned a three-month cut in fuel taxes, cutting nearly 30 cents off taxes on a litre of petrol and over 14 cents on a litre of diesel.

Economists have warned that the fuel subsidy could reduce the likelihood of people switching to cleaner forms of transport.