Berlin makes public transport free for all school students

The aim is to lower transportation costs for families and decrease emissions by encouraging young people to use public transport

The transport association of Berlin and Brandenburg (VBB) introduced two new types of tickets this week. School students and apprentices will be able to benefit from free or reduced fares. The aim is to lower the transportation costs for families and to decrease emissions by encouraging young people to use public transport, such as the U-Bahn, S-Bahn, tram or bus.

The first type — the Schülerticket — can be obtained by schoolchildren and students over six, even if they do not attend school in Berlin as long as they carry their school ID with them. The ticket is valid in Berlin’s AB zone which covers most of the city. 

Apprentices and trainees can now also benefit from reduced fares. They can obtain the AzubiTicket which allows them to take all Berlin and Brandenburg public transport at a reduced fare — €365 a year, which equals €1 a day. To receive this travel card, VBB must recognise the educational institute or company offering the apprenticeship.

Up to 360,000 pupils can benefit from the new ticket system

From 1 August, school students can travel for free on public transport in the Berlin and Brandenburg area — Shutterstock
From 1 August, school students can travel for free on public transport in the Berlin and Brandenburg area — Shutterstock
 

Up to 360,000 pupils can benefit from this new system, even though the transport association has so far only received some 140,000 applications. They will also be able to bring along a bicycle, dog or even a child under six years without extra charge

According to Kathrin Schneider who is the Minister of Transport in the State of Brandenburg, the system creates a cost-effective and attractive way for trainees to travel across the region. It is one of the mobility improvements introduced under the motto of more trains, more offers, more quality.

Additionally, Berlin might follow the so-called Vienna model and reduce the price of an annual ticket to €365. The use of public transport in Vienna has shot up since the Wiener Linien operator reduced annual ticket prices from €449 to €365.

Other German cities are also introducing plans to make public transport cheaper or free

Other cities nationwide have made plans to boost the usage of public transport to reduce traffic congestion and protect the environment.

The small town of Monheim in western Germany will start offering a free bus service to all in April 2020. Tübingen offers free bus travel on certain days of the week in the hope of encouraging people to leave their cars at home.

Other cities, such as Bonn, Essen, Herrenberg, Mannheim, and Reutlingen are also toying with the idea of making public transport significantly cheaper. The federal government plans to cover the profit loss.