Open letter for the Berlin Semester Ticket – published on November 1, 2023

Dear Berlin Senate Department for Mobility, Transport, Climate Protection and the Environment, Dear Berlin-Brandenburg Transport Association (Verkehrsbund Berlin Brandenburg, VBB),

With this open letter, we call on you to comply with our demands for the preservation of the solidarity-financed semester ticket.

For years, student concerns have not been heard in political decisions about the semester ticket. Our requests for talks on the subject have been ignored or refused for months. The current situation at universities and the prospect that the semester ticket solidarity model may soon be a thing of the past due to a lack of political will, have prompted us to write this open letter to you.

Over the past year, new announcements have been made on an ongoing basis that there will be cheaper tickets that would supposedly make a semester ticket superfluous. All these models, whether they cost 19€ or 29€, have one thing in common: they cannot replace what the semester ticket does.

The semester ticket is a model financed by solidarity, which was fought for by students and has many decisive advantages over any type of ticket that is freely available for sale. It currently costs 32.30€ calculated per month, is valid for the ABC fare zone (Tarifbereich ABC) and allows you to take your bike with you on the train. The student bodies also run their own semester ticket offices, which grant subsidies based on various hardship criteria, whereby the full amount of money will be refunded if necessary. For students in difficult life situations or with a low income, this is often the only way to use public transport. This cannot be offered by any ticket on the market. In addition, the announced models never cover the same area as the semester ticket. due to the housing shortage in Berlin and the poorly developed local transport in the suburbs it is particularly crucial that the C area and bicycle transportation are included in a ticket for students, which is not given in the 29€ ticket. Since a single connecting ticket to the C area already costs 2€ and an ABC bicycle ticket costs 2.80€, there is no real price advantage over the semester ticket.

The solidarity model is geared towards the needs of students and enables environmentally friendly and affordable local transport for all. There is enormous support for the semester ticket among students: at the BHT, 94.6% of students voted in favor of a semester ticket in a ballot last semester. At other universities, ballots or votes in the student parliament have led to similar results. As elected representatives of the student body, we want to keep the semester ticket and have been calling for a significant reduction in the price of the Berlin student ticket for many years. However, we have been observing that this is apparently not politically desired.

On 12.10.2023, the Berlin transport administration told the RBB that the semester ticket would become "legally contestable” with the introduction of a 29€ ticket. Their statement that the student bodies were nevertheless free to sign the contracts nevertheless seems downright cynical. Do you expect us to sign contracts after you have so explicitly brought a risk of legal action into play?

We don't understand where this political rejection of the semester ticket comes from. Your statements suggest that the Senate is apparently not interested in continuing the semester ticket. We ask you specifically: How do you come to this assumption? Why are you not publicly committing to the model from which countless students have benefited from for many years? What advantage do you see in freely available tickets that are not even remotely comparable to the semester ticket?

The semester ticket is currently subsidized by the Berlin Senate with 16.50€ per person/semester in order to compensate for price increases on the part of the VBB. This does not make the ticket any cheaper for students. We as student bodies are dependent on the ticket price not rising. Only through sufficient subsidization of the semester ticket by the Senate Administration it is possible for us to continue to sign semester ticket contracts in the future. We have been calling for an increase in the subsidy for years, as the Berlin semester ticket has long been too expensive compared to other federal states.

For years, the contracts have been sent to us so late that there is no time left for renegotiations. Although we have pointed out this problem many times, it repeated itself this semester. Sluggish communication by the VBB and the Senate Administration makes our work even more difficult. We are therefore reliant on the offers made to us by the VBB and the subsidy that the Senate is prepared to pay allow us to sign the contract.

We therefore believe that both the Senate and the VBB have a responsibility to answer the following questions: Why are we being denied planning security in this way? Why do Berlin students have to pay so much more than in other federal states? Why have our demands for an affordable semester ticket through increased subsidies or lower initial prices gone unheard for months?

With the introduction of the 29€ ticket, the situation of students has worsened for the reasons already mentioned. Why are the 29€ ticket and the semester ticket being played off against each other? Why are the introduction of the 29€ ticket and a higher subsidy for the semester ticket mutually exclusive in the opinion of the Senate Administration? The fact that no funds have apparently been earmarked for this in the budget, must be interpreted as a political decision against the semester ticket.

We cannot and do not want to make decisions based on political promises that leave us no room for maneuver. By the example of the Deutschlandticket, we can currently see very clearly that discounted ticket offers may not be securely financed in the long term despite an enormous positive response from the public. We also see a possible 29€ ticket as being exposed to this risk. We consider it highly irresponsible Giving up the semester ticket for such an uncertain solution.

We demand a reliable semester ticket, the conditions of which we as student bodies negotiate ourselves and for which we can sign a legally secure contract in good time.

We demand a long overdue price reduction from the VBB or an increase in the subsidy from the Senate Administration.

We demand a clear commitment to the solidarity model of the semester ticket and to climate-friendly and affordable public transport for all.

Written by:

  • Allgemeiner Studierendenausschuss der FU Berlin (General Student Committee of the FU Berlin)

  • Refererent*innenrat der HU Berlin (Student Committee of the HU Berlin)

  • Allgemeiner Studierendenauschuss der BHT (General Student Committee of the BHT)

Supported by:

Committees, institutions and non-university groups

  • The Executive Board of the Freie Universität Berlin

  • The Executive Board of the Berliner Hochschule für Technik

  • StudierendenWERK Berlin

  • Studentischer Verwaltungsrat StudierendenWERK Berlin

  • Freier Zusammenschluss von Student*innenschaften (fzs) e.V. 

  • Fridays for Future Berlin 

  • Grüne Jugend Berlin

  • Netzwerk N

University Groups

  • Arbeitskreis Kritischer Jurist*innen, HU Berlin

  • Kritische Jurist*innen, FU Berlin

  • Studentische Initiative Nachhaltigkeitsbüro, HU Berlin​​​​​​​

  • Gruppe BHT for Future 

  • Grüne Liste im StuPa der BHT

  • Charlies Campus, Filmclub Unikino der TU Berlin 

  • Ver.di Betriebsgruppe, FU Berlin

  • Aktionskomitee TV-L FU Berlin

  • Personalrat der Studentischen Beschäftigten, FU Berlin

  • Personalrat der studentischen Beschäftigten, HU Berlin

  • Demokratisch-Plural-Dienstagskreis, Liste im Akademischen Senat, FU Berlin

  • Fachschaftsinitiative Geologie, FU Berlin

  • Fachschaftsinitiative Lateinamerika-Institut, FU Berlin

  • Fachschaftsinitiative Romanistik, FU Berlin

  • Fachschaftsinitiative Informatik, FU Berlin

  • Fachschaftsinitiative Physik, FU Berlin

  • Fachschaftsinitiative Otto-Suhr-Institut, FU Berlin

  • Fachschaftsinitiative Europäische Ethnologie, HU Berlin

  • Fachschaft Chemie, HU Berlin

  • Fachschaftsinitiative Grundschullehramt, HU Berlin

  • Fachschaftsinitiative Geographie, HU Berlin

  • Fachschaftsinitiativen Rehabilitationswissenschaften & Gebärdensprache, HU Berlin

  • Fachschaftsinitiative Informatik, Mathematik & Physik, HU Berlin

  • Fachschaftsinitiative Physik, HU Berlin

  • Fachschaft klassische Archäologie, HU Berlin

  • Fachschaftsinitiative Erziehungswissenschaften & Erwachsenenbildung und Lebenslanges Lernen, HU Berlin

  • Fachschaft Lehramt, HU Berlin

  • Fachschaft Sozialwissenschaften, HU Berlin 

  • Fachschaft Rechtswissenschaften, HU Berlin

Professors and University Employees 

  • Prof. Dr. Gabriele Metzler, Institut für Geschichtswissenschaften, Mitglied im Akademischen Senat, HU Berlin

  • ​​​​​​​Josta Hamann, Technik, Service und Verwaltung, HU Berlin 

  • Dr. Marit Gründer​​​​​​​, Mitglied im akademischen Senat HU Berlin

  • Prof. Dr. Anika König, Institut für Sozial- und Kulturanthropologie, FU Berlin

  • Prof. Dr. Antonie Schmiz, Department of Human Geography, FU Berlin

  • Iris Würbel, Fachbereich Erziehungswissenschaft und Psychologie, FU Berlin

  • Prof. Dr. Claudia Calvano, Arbeitsbereich Klinische Kinder- und Jugendpsychologie, FU Berlin

  • Dr. Julia Neuhaus, Präsidentin, BHT

  • Prof. Dr.-Ing. Dieter Pumpe, Vizepräsident für Studium, Lehre und Weiterbildung, BHT

  • Prof. Dr.-Ing. Sven Tschirley, Vorsitz Akademische Versammlung, BHT

  • Paul Jerchel, Mitglied des Kuratoriums, BHT

  • Prof. Dr.-Ing. Joachim Villwock, Laborleiter für CAE und Simulation - CAVE, Mitglied im AS, designierter VPF, BHT

  • Prof. Dr. rer. nat. Heike Ripphausen-Lipa,Mitglied im AS, designierter VPL, BHT

  • Prof. Dr. rer. pol. Haiko Schlink, Dekan Fachbereich I, BHT

  • Prof. Dr.-Ing. Stefan Heyde, Dekan Fachbereich III, BHT

  • Prof. Dipl.-Ing. Petra Vondenhof-Anderhalten, Dekanin Fachbereich IV, BHT

  • Prof. Dr. med. vet. Diana Graubaum, Dekanin Fachbereich V, BHT

  • Prof. Dr.-Ing. Stefan Dreher, Dekan Fachbereich VIII, BHT

  • Prof. Dr. Steffen Prowe, Mitglied im AS, FBR V, BHT

  • Prof. Dr. Benny Selle, Mitglied im AS, BHT

  • Kirsten Engelhardt, Mitglied im AS, Leitung Hochschulsport, BHT

  • Natascha Halbritter, M.Sc., Mitglied im AS, BHT

  • Sabine Donner, Mitglied m AS, BHT

  • Prof. Dr. phil. Anne König, Laborleiterin, Betriebswirtschaftliche EDV-Anwendungen, Laborleiterin, Drucktechnik und Weiterverarbeitung Mitglied im AS, BHT

  • Dorothee Braukmann, Mitgied im AS & FBR VIII​​​​​​​, BHT

  • Anna-Marie Bengelsdorf​​​​​​​, Mitgied im AS & FBR VI​​​​​​​, BHT

  • Susanne Plaumann, M.A.​​​​​​​, zentrale Frauen- und Gleichstellungsbeauftragte​​​​​​​, BHT

  • Prof. Dr.-Ing. Lutz Dittmann, Prodekan Fachbereich IV, BHT

  • Prof. Dipl.-Ing. Zeynep Ayse Hicsasmaz-Heitele, Laborleiterin Tragwerke und Konstruktion, Mitglied im FBR IV, BHT

  • Prof. Dr. Patrick Jochum, Laborleiter Bausanierung und Energieeffizienz & Mitglied im FBR IV, BHT

  • Prof. Dipl.-Ing. Hans-Peter Ritzer, Laborleiter Entwurf und Städtebau, BHT

  • Prof. Dr.-Ing. Felix Wellnitz, Professor für Bauphysik, BHT

  • Prof. Dr.-Ing. Martin Behne, Professor für Gebäudetechnik, BHT

  • Dr. habil. Berthold Hub, Gastprofessor für Baugeschichte & Architekturtheorie, BHT

  • Prof. Dipl.-Ing. Rüdiger Ebel, Professor für Entwurf und Städtebau, BHT 

  • Prof. Dr.-Ing. Andreas Fischer, Professor für Massivbau, BHT

  • Prof. Dr. Ulrike Schraps, Professorin für Betriebspsychologie

  • Prof. Dr. Kristin Krenek, Professorin für Industrielle Mathematik, BHT

  • Prof. Dr. Jens Lüdeke, Professor für Landschaftsarchitektur, BHT

  • Prof. Dr.-Ing. Georg Christian Weiß, Professor für Facility Management, Schwerpunkt technischer Gebäudebetrieb, Bauschadenskunde und Brandschutz, BHT

  • Prof. Dr. Constanze Bongs, Professorin für Heiztechnik, BHT

  • Prof. Dipl.-Ing. Katja Biek, Professorin für Sanitärtechnik, Mitglied im FBR IV, BHT

  • Prof. Dr. rer. nat. Mathias Fraaß, Laborleiter Elektro-, Mess- und Regelungstechnik, BHT

  • Prof. Dr.-Ing. Elfriede Herzog, Professorin i. R., BHT

  • Prof. Dr. Ulrich Finke, Laborleiter Klimatechnik, BHT

  • Prof. Dr.-Ing. Huu-Thoi Le, Laborleiter Heiztechnik, BHT

  • Prof. Dr.-Ing. Henrike Schoper, Professorin für Entwerfen und Konstruieren im Bestand

  • Prof. Dipl.-Ing. Thomas Kretschmer,Professor für Gebäudetechnik und Facility Management, BHT

  • Prof. Dr.-Ing. Axel Rathey, Laborleiter Sanitärtechnik, BHT

  • Prof. Diplome Regie general Susanne Auffermann-Lemmer, Professorin (Beleuchtungstechnik und Lichtgestaltung, BHT

  • Prof. Dr.-Ing. Johannes Bader, Laborleiter Biotechnikum, BHT 

  • Prof. Dr.-Ing. habil. Eva Maria Froschauer, Laborleiterin Baugeschichte und Bauerhaltung, BHT


More than 1200 additional signatures from all university member groups

We look forward to receiving more signatures. If you would like to sign the open letter, please contact the initiators: AStA FU (, RefRat HU (, AStA BHT (

Update: On October 31, one day before the publication of this letter, the VBB offered us a meeting to answer our questions. The meeting will take place next week and we will express our demands there.