Germans will be able to get unlimited trains across country for 49 Euros a month

An S-Bahn train in Dusseldorf, Germany (William Mata)
An S-Bahn train in Dusseldorf, Germany (William Mata)

Germany is set to introduce a nation-wide train ticket for 49 euros per month after a summer-long trial proved popular.

Transport minister Volker Wissing said on Wednesday that representatives of the federal government and Germany's 16 states resolved financing questions at a meeting in Berlin.

He said the new "Deutschlandticket" will be introduced "as quickly as technically possible," hopefully at the beginning of 2023.

In June, July and August, Germany sold a nine euro access all areas ticket, enabling people to cheaply use regional train, bus and tram networks across the country. The scheme cost the government 2.5 billion euros but saved 1.8 million tons of CO2 emissions.

It was part of efforts to help combat inflation stoked by Russia's war in Ukraine, as well as encouraging people to switch to environmentally friendly public transport and reducing petrol use.

There were widespread calls for some kind of successor at a more sustainable cost. A major attraction was its validity on all Germany's regional transport networks, each of which have myriad fare options that can be hard to navigate.

The aim is for the new ticket to be paperless and available for a single month or as a rolling pass. Like its predecessor, it won't be valid for intercity trains across regions. However, with creativity and plenty of patience, it is possible to make long-distance journeys using regional trains.

Germany's federal government offered to subsidise the new ticket with 1.5 billion euros annually; states several weeks ago expressed a willingness to do the same, pending an agreement on federal funding for regional train services.

Under Wednesday's agreement, that funding is being increased by 1 billion euros this year and will grow by 3 per cent per year thereafter, Mr Wissing said.

Hendrik Wuest, the governor of the powerful western North Rhine-Westphalia state, said the funding was the "absolute minimum" needed to keep up current services and some of his colleagues were even more critical.