Updates on the “Deutschlandticket for students” (nationwide semester ticket)

What exactly is the “Deutschlandticket for students”?

The “Deutschlandticket für Studierende” (nationwide semester ticket) is a discounted Deutschlandticket that is valid and available throughout Germany to all students whose university has signed a contract with the respective local transport association. Heidelberg University has not yet signed such a contract.


What is the difference to the “D-Ticket JugendBW”?

The D-Ticket JugendBW (Youth Ticket) is a special offer from the state of Baden-Wuerttemberg which is valid throughout Germany and costs almost the same as the Deutschlandticket. With it, all students under the age of 27 have the opportunity to purchase a Deutschlandticket at a reduced price!

The Youth Ticket has to be bought individually and on one’s own accord. The Deutschlandticket for students (semester ticket), however, would be included within the semester fee; in case the VS (Verfasste Studierendenschaft – Constituted Student Body) decides to sign a corresponding contract with the VRN – the local transport association of Heidelberg. In return, all students could automatically use public transports with their semester ticket free of charge.

The student price of the Deutschlandticket for students is linked to the price of the regular Deutschlandticket so that changes in price can be made eight months in advance. In the case of the Youth Ticket, state and local authorities, which subsidise the ticket, decide on pricing.

The main advantage of a nationwide semester ticket would be that it applies to all students equally – and not just those under the age of 27.

As opposed to this, a major disadvantage of the nationwide semester ticket would be its so-called “solidarity-based” funding. This means that every student has to pay the 180 € semester contribution fee on an obligatory basis and then automatically receives the ticket regardless of whether they intend to use it or not.


Why has the VS not yet concluded an agreement with the VRN and why has it refrained from introducing the semester ticket?

There are several reasons for this:

1) Lack of Time

Before a possible introduction of the semester ticket, a ballot would have had to be held so that all students could vote on a potential introduction. However, we in Baden-Wuerttemberg had to wait for a statement from the state on the future of the youth ticket in order to create a real, legal basis for said ballot. Moreover, such a vote wouldn’t have been possible during the semester break.

However, for the reasons mentioned under 2. and 3., it is questionable whether aforementioned ballot will be held at all.

2) Legal Objections

The semester ticket would only be of real benefit to students over the age of 27. All others should consider buying the Youth Ticket at almost the same price and with the same area of validity.

As mentioned before, in the case of the semester ticket, however, all students would be obliged to pay the significant sum of almost 30 € per month (180 € per semester), regardless of whether they actually intend to use the ticket/public transports, at all. In our opinion, this represents a considerable rights violation as the benefit in return only accrues to a few. From this perspective, there are massive legal objections to the introduction of the semester ticket and if the ticket turns out to be legally inadmissible (for the aforementioned reasons), we won’t be able to actually introduce it.

3) The Student Body itself is divided on the ticket

Collected data on the former semester ticket showed that just over half of Heidelberg University students do not own any public transport ticket. It is thus fair to say that said half would not be enthusiastic about paying an additional compulsory 180 € per semester. Most recently, the StuRa (elected legislative decision-making body) also emphasised once again that it greatly appreciates the voluntary nature and price stability of the Youth Ticket. On the other hand, we also acknowledge that from the age of 27 onwards there is no option of any discounted Deutschlandticket available or any discounted ticket for public transports, at all. Therefore, the StuRa will soon decide whether to organise the previously mentioned ballot in order to reflect all patterns of opinion on said matter.


What is being done for the over 27-year-olds?

It is our opinion that the Youth Ticket’s age limit constitutes a discrimination against all students over the age of 27 by the state of Baden-Wuerttemberg. The StuRa has therefore called for the age limit to be removed and we are working together with state student representatives (Landesstudierendenvertretung) on said removal. The issue is also being discussed with the City of Heidelberg.

Up until now, students have still had the opportunity to purchase the VRN-Anschluss-Semester-Ticket. Unfortunately enough, this option will be discontinued by July 1, 2024. The VRN’s announcement on this also came as a surprise to us. We don’t see any chance of reallocating with the VRN as they have made it clear that they are currently focusing on other tickets. This also means that soon the Deutschlandticket will be the only remaining ticket option for students above 27. Although we do not agree with them, these are the current guidelines until further notice.


(This article was created by the VS’s Office for Transport (Verkehrsreferat))