Government has no plans for UK version of €9 train ticket scheme, despite Germany success

·2-min read
An S-Bahn train in Dusseldorf. Germany has been trying out a scheme where passengers can pay €9 for unlimited regional travel.  (Safiye Rafehi)
An S-Bahn train in Dusseldorf. Germany has been trying out a scheme where passengers can pay €9 for unlimited regional travel. (Safiye Rafehi)

The UK is unlikely to follow Germany’s lead in implementing cheap train tickets for unlimited travel - despite the scheme having shown a huge reduction in carbon.

Over the summer, German passengers could pay €9 for one month’s unlimited travel on regional train networks, trams and buses.

The Association of German Transport Companies said 52million tickets were sold, a fifth of those to people who do not ordinarily use public transport, and that about 1.8m tons of CO2 emissions was saved from fewer car journeys.

Miatta Fahnbulleh, the chief executive of the New Economics Foundation, said on Wednesday that the scheme should be considered.

She told the RMT Save London's Public Transport Rally: “[Germany] did this as they could see this was a way to support people with an everyday essential.

“But they could also see the opportunity to use this as a transition point, to encourage people onto public transport to reduce emissions.

“It is respite for people in the short term and a win for the long term.”

Passengers have been disrupted in the UK this summer due to train strikes around pay conditions and potential redundancies.

The Department of Transport was asked directly by the Standard if the government would consider introducing such a scheme to that in Germany in the UK.

No precise reply was received. A statement instead read: “When booked in advance, the UK has some of the cheapest fares in Europe and our recent Great British Rail Sale saved passengers over £7 million.

"The government is taking decisive action to support passengers, and alongside new railcards and season tickets - including flexi-seasons - we will not be increasing fares as much as the July RPI figure.

“We are again delaying the increase to March 2023, temporarily freezing fares for passengers to travel at a lower price for the entirety of January and February as we continue to take steps to help struggling households.”