The Advantages of Digitalizing the Deutschlandticket

Deutschlandticket: Why a paper ticket can also be digital

Growing up in the Austrian countryside, I experienced the challenges of limited public transport and frequent traffic fatalities. However, now living in Berlin, I appreciate the ease and convenience of taking the subway every day. Sadly, in Germany, the focus on digitization seems to complicate things unnecessarily, rather than simplifying and improving efficiency.

The latest example of this is the debate surrounding the Germany ticket, which had been known as the EUR 40 too expensive EUR 9 ticket, set to launch on May 1st. There was a discussion on whether the ticket should be available as a paper ticket, chip card, or through an app. The Minister of Transport insisted that the ticket must be digital, even if the traditional paper version works just fine.

In Berlin, I have been using an app to buy my tickets for a decade, but I still appreciate the security of having a paper ticket when my phone battery dies. Digitization in the transport industry has been a slow-moving process, and 11 years ago, I joined open data activists to push for public transport data to be made freely available. In 2012, Berlin became the first German city to implement open local transport data, making it easier for people to access public transport information, and encouraging more people to use buses and trains.

The primary goal of the Deutschlandticket is to create a more attractive, affordable, and climate-friendly public transport system. However, the current plans seem to complicate things by adding unnecessary digitization in order to collect data. This is despite the fact that investing in the expansion of digital data collection infrastructure would be costly but necessary to modernize and expand transport routes.

In my opinion, low-barrier access is essential for public transport, which means providing paper tickets from machines that include digital codes. This approach allows a more diverse audience to participate in public transport, including those who struggle with online subscriptions or do not wish to use apps. The debate on digitization should not be viewed as mutually exclusive, as paper and digital can work together, meaning a paper ticket with a QR code is a perfectly acceptable alternative to the proposed chip card.

Ultimately, digitization is not a goal in itself but should be used to improve reliability, efficiency, and convenience of public transport. It is crucial to remember that forcing innovation for the sake of it does not necessarily make public transport more punctual. By prioritizing simplicity over complexity, we can make public transport more accessible and convenient while ensuring digitization works for everyone.

Leave a Reply