RHEINLAND he price increase was decided in July, now the VRS has calculated what the tickets for buses and trains are to cost from 2020. The increases vary. Here is an overview.
It has already been clear since mid-July that users of buses and trains in the Rhein-Sieg public transport system (VRS) will have to pay more for tickets. At that time, the members of the VRS Association Meeting had decided on price increases for 2020 and 2021. The VRS has now submitted tables showing what the price increases mean for the individual ticket categories. However, this is not a done deal and the so-called price tables are an item on the agenda of the next VRS Association meeting, which will take place on Thursday, 26 September, at 10 a.m. in the VRS offices on Cologne’s Glockengasse.
Prices will increase by an average of 2.5 per cent on 1 January 2020 and again on 1 January 2021. This was the resolution adopted by 27 votes to 9. However, the so-called cash tariff tickets (single tickets, four-way tickets and 24-hour tickets) are exempt from this proposal. In other words, weekly and monthly tickets will become more expensive. Since 2.5 per cent is just an average value, some price increases will be even higher. Here are a few examples:
Tickets for trainees and schoolchildren will become more expensive
In 2020: to date, a monthly ticket in price category 2b costs 124.20 euros, or 107.60 euros as part of a subscription. According to the price tables of the VRS, these will cost 128.50 euros and 110.30 euros, respectively, from January 2020. This corresponds to a price increase of 3.5 per cent and 2.5 per cent, respectively. In price level 4, the ticket currently costs 224.10 euros per month (as a yearly subscription, 192 euros). The new prices are expected to be 231.90 euros (+3.5 per cent) and 196.80 euros (+2.5 per cent).
Tickets for trainees and apprentices will also become more expensive. The trainee ticket is to rise from 60.70 euros per month to 62.40 euros (+2.8 per cent) and according to VRS, the cost of schoolchildren tickets will rise by an average of 3 per cent. Starting in the winter semester 2020/21, students will have to pay 134.80 euros (+2.9 per cent) per term. The SB 60 bus between the airport and the Bonn main railway station will also cost more and will increase by ten cents from 3.20 euros to 3.30 euros (+3.1 per cent). If all planned price increases are taken into account, in addition to these exemplary price increases, the VRS calculates an estimated increase in revenue of 13 million euros for 2020.
In 2021: on 1 January of the year after next, the prices are to be raised again, and the cash tariff is once again not going to change. The monthly ticket in price level 2b will then cost 133 euros (+3.5 per cent) per month, or 113.10 euros (+2.5 per cent) as a yearly subscription. In price level 4 it will cost 240 euros per month (+3.5 per cent), and as part of an annual subscription, 201.70 euro (+2.5 per cent).
The trainee ticket is to rise from 62.40 euros per month to 64.10 euros, and schoolchildrens’ tickets will again be on average 3 per cent more expensive. Starting in the winter term 2012/2022, students will have to pay 137.70 euros for the ticket. The SB 60 surcharge is to increase by a further ten cents (+3 per cent). For 2021, the VRS expects all price increases with an estimated revenue increase of 12.8 million euros.
The price increases are controversial
As reported, the agreed price increases for the next two years are controversial. A decision was postponed by the Rhein-Sieg transport association, and in July, a special meeting of the association meeting was convened. The necessity of the price increase was justified by higher costs for personnel, material and fuel for the transport companies.
At this special meeting, VRS Managing Director Michael Vogel explained to those present that a two-year long price freeze would result in a 48-million-euro shortfall in ticket prices. This sum would have had to be raised by the cities and districts in the VRS area.
The association meeting brings together representatives from politics and administration of the local authorities in the VRS area. The decision for the price increases was clear but also close. Since decisions in the association meeting must be made with a three-quarters majority, just one additional negative vote would have prevented the increases.
(Original text: Christoph Meurer, translation John Chandler)