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to: Matthias Loehr, Florian Haagemann, and Katja Rudolph

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From Wednesday it should be full: NVV Regiotram. © nh

From Wednesday, the ticket 9 euros is valid throughout the country on local transport. 26,000 tickets were sold in the NVV area alone. Buses and trains are likely to be full, especially on weekends.

Kassel – anyone using public transport from Wednesday can use a €9 ticket. Interest in the new show, which is valid nationwide, is enormous. According to the Northern Hessan Transportation Association (NVV), 20,000 tickets were sold in the region in the first three days of presales. By Sunday — and thus within six days — there were 26,000 for NVV alone, which itself has 137,000 subscribers.

The figures do not include sales via Deutsche Bahn appliances and online purchases via their app. According to a spokeswoman, tickets worth €9 will soon be available in the NVV app. In general, the ticket 9 euros is still available at any time.

It is difficult to predict the effects of high demand on the use of buses and trains. “It is very likely that the use of the €9 ticket will also be noticeable in peak-hour traffic due to the increased numbers of passengers. However, we anticipate increased capacity utilization, especially on weekends and public holidays,” says an NVV spokeswoman.

The Pro Bahn passenger association is looking forward to the start with mixed feelings. “It’s a very interesting experiment on a large scale, but at the moment the concerns outweigh the skepticism,” says Ulrich Senge of the North Hessen Regional Association. There are fears of congestion in regional traffic. Among other things, the closure of the road from Kassel to Hamm, where there will be alternative bus services from June 6, is critical. The RE2 regional expression between Kassel and Erfurt is often used extensively. The question is how the railways deal with it when the train is overcrowded.

In contrast, traffic scientist Angela Frank sees the €9 ticket as positive. Professor Kassel of cycling rates the show “definitely as a signal in the right direction to support the mobility transition.” Although it was logical to increase the quality of public transport, for example by improving timing, in order to mitigate the increased demand: however: “Some measures should be introduced directly rather than discussed for months and then not implemented in the end.”

Frank will research the impact of a €9 ticket with other scientists across the country – eg through surveys.

Questions and answers about the 9 euro ticket

On what lines and at what time does the Northern Hesse Transport Association (NVV) expect a particularly high passenger load?

“Like everyone else, we cannot estimate actual demand, but we assume that tourist destinations will be visited privately such as Edersee, Meißner, Reinhardswald and Sauerland,” an NVV spokeswoman says. “In addition, we expect many passengers on the 500 bus line from Kassel to Bad Wildungen, the important train routes from Kassel to Frankfurt, from Kassel via Melsungen to Bad Hersfeld, from Kassel to Korbach and the regional tram routes from Kassel towards Wolfhagen, Hofgeismar and Melsungen”.

What does Kasseler Verkehrsgesellschaft (KVG) expect?

“We are expecting more passengers, especially in recreational traffic, that is, in the afternoons, evenings and weekends,” KVG spokeswoman Heidi Hamdad explains. “However, we estimate that more working people will also use the €9 ticket and switch to the bus or train.” However, preliminary estimates of the increase in the number of passengers will not be possible until Thursday at the earliest.

Will more trains be used?

On weekends, capacities on regional trains and regional tram lines in the NVV region will be increased by providing more seats on double-traction and larger trains, the NVV spokeswoman said. But this is not possible everywhere because there is always a shortage of staff and additional vehicles. Additional staff at important transport stations such as Kassel-Wilhelmshöhe and Bebra must inform and direct passengers. There will be an additional offer from KVG for major events. But their spokeswoman Hamdad also says: “Our drivers, vehicles and therefore all KVG regions will face major challenges this summer anyway. Thus, further expansion of traffic is not possible.”

How does NVV evaluate the benefits of a €9 ticket to promote local public transport?

“A €9 ticket can help introduce more people to local transportation in the area. In order for more people to switch from cars to buses and trains in the long run, not only lower prices are required, but above all good communications,” the spokeswoman says. and reliable.” NVV wants to continue to provide passengers with a compelling range of public transportation — but it depends on adequate funding from the federal and state governments in the long term.

What does the passenger association Pro Bahn Nordhessen say about strong demand?

Regional spokesperson, Ulrich Singh, says the demand shows bus and train prices are “simply too high” for casual drivers. Single trips are very expensive, especially for train trips in regional transport, for which there are no price savings such as long-distance transport. With a €9 ticket, the trip can go into cheap season tickets for everyone in the medium term.

Can a 9 euro ticket support a traffic shift?

Yes – at least that’s what Angela Frank assumes. The traffic scientist is a professor of bicycles at the University of Kassel. With other scientists, she is studying the effects of a 9 euro ticket nationwide. Frank can well imagine that the show is “encouraging people to switch from cars to buses and trains.” New passengers who have been “postponed by public transport because the tariff system is too complicated for them or their car is in front of the door” can be won.

Are all buses and trains expected to be full for three months?

Not necessarily, says expert Frank. There will be different effects. Initially, demand is expected to rise, after which it is likely to adjust somewhat. Day trips are likely to increase. According to Frank, there will also be additional traffic through the ticket: “Instead of walking into the park, people take the train to Göttingen on a day trip, for example.” She wants to publish the results of her study in the fall. (Katja Rudolph, Florian Haagemann, Matthias Loehr)

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