Why a Danish version of Germany’s €49 rail ticket looks unlikely

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Why a Danish version of Germany’s €49 rail ticket looks unlikely
Danish rail tickets seem unlikely to get deep discounts like Germany's popular €49 monthly offer. Photo: Ida Marie Odgaard/Ritzau Scanpix

A popular discount ticket on Germany’s rail tickets has been put to Transport Minister Thomas Danielsen as an option for Denmark.


Danielsen appears dubious about the cost of a similar scheme, having been asked by broadcaster TV2 whether the cost-saving ticket could be introduced in Denmark.

The minister said that although the idea of Germany's €49 ticket, which allows use of all regional trains, underground trains, and commuter trains for a small fixed fee, "sounds brilliant", the question was not simple. 

"I have been keeping an eye on the German ticket developments for a long time, and I have also held a meeting with the German Minister of Transport. We have discussed it both in Berlin and in Barcelona on Thursday, where I have heard both good and bad," he said. 

Launched in April, Germany’s monthly €49 ticket allows for travel on all local and regional transport around the country. 

Such an offer in Denmark could be even more costly than the 1.2 billion kroner recently estimated by parliament’s Transport Committee as the price for bringing the scheme to Denmark’s railways, according to Danielsen.

READ ALSO: Danish opposition wants answers from minister over rail fares hike


That is because it might send the wrong price signals, he said.

"The issue of rates is more complicated than that. If you have bought a ticket for a fixed price, it becomes more tempting to jump on the bus or train instead of taking the bike, even if you are only going a short distance," he told TV2.

"This creates unnecessary congestion in public transport," he said. 

He also said that the low-price ticket would require heavy investment in public transport as well. 

"It will require investment in more trains, more rails and generally more capacity. In Germany, there has also been great frustration that the capacity has not been able to keep up," he said.

There may be some evidence in Germany itself to back up Danielsen’s reluctance.

Recent reports in Germany suggest that the future of the scheme could be in doubt there, with transport ministers in Germany’s federal states threatening to axe the offer if the central government does not pledge more money to fund it.

Discussion over Danish rail prices comes after national rail operator DSB last week announced that rail tickets will cost up to 13 percent more in Denmark next year, with most locations in the country likely to see higher fares.

Opposition parties said they want answers over the decision and will summon Danielsen to parliamentary committee hearing over the rising prices.


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