| News | Press release | The 49-euro ticket in the digital subscription – participation for all?

The 49-euro ticket in the digital subscription – participation for all?

From 1 May 2023, the 49-euro ticket is to be available in digital form - via smartphone or as a chip card - in a subscription that can be cancelled monthly. Figures from the Bavarian Research Institute for Digital Transformation (bidt) show that parts of the population could face major hurdles in acquiring and using the ticket due to a lack of digital skills.

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Is the 49-euro ticket keeping pace with the digital skills of the population or is it driving away some sections of the population? Bidt, an institute of the Bavarian Academy of Sciences and Humanities, examined this more closely as part of the “bidt-SZ-Digitalbarometer” – a nationwide survey of digital skills within the population. One result: around 15 percent of people in Germany do not use a smartphone. This concerns older and lower-income people in particular. Furthermore, in the case of an online-only subscription, non-existent digital competences for the use of online services can also become a problem. Around 16 percent of people in Germany state that they are unable to pay for purchased goods or services online at all or only with the help of other people. Once again, this primarily affects older and lower-income people. In the 65+ age group, there are almost seven million people in Germany who do not trust themselves to pay online.

“Driving forward the expansion of digitalisation with the 49-euro ticket is very welcome. However, this project must keep in mind the real existing digital skills within the population and offer solutions that do not exclude older and lower-income parts of the population in particular,” says Dr. Roland A. Stürz, head of the bidt think tank. In addition to the ticket form – whether as a chip card or via the smartphone app – the design of the distribution channel therefore plays a decisive role.

Digital smart cards with QR codes can therefore be supplements to the ticket in the smartphone app. However, these must then also be accessible to people without digital skills. It makes a difference for them whether they can purchase the ticket independently, for example at the service counter, or whether they are excluded from the online offers or need outside help here.

Dr. Roland A. Stürz To the profile

A digital ticket alone does not bring about a digitalisation boost. The example of the 49-euro ticket shows that there is still room for improvement in Germany, not only in the digitisation of local public transport, but also in the use of digital solutions by the population. Neither the provider side nor the consumer side are fully prepared for a purely digital ticket in a digital subscription.

However, Stürz also emphasises the potential: “Ideally, the introduction of the 49-euro ticket can both improve the recording of traffic flows in the future and create incentives to further spread the use of digital services among the population. But only when, on the one hand, the technical infrastructure is also in place at the transport associations and, on the other hand, the digital skills of the population have reached a level that all citizens can purchase a digital online ticket without outside help, will a partial success of the digital transformation have been achieved.”


Press contact

Nadine Hildebrandt

former Science Communication Manager, bidt

Enquiries about the study

Dr. Roland A. Stürz

Head of Think Tank, bidt