It has now been almost two months since the Deutschlandsemesterticket was approved by the federal and state governments. The first contracts have been submitted to the student bodies, and for some of them the Germany Semester Ticket is already a done deal. Nevertheless, the Berlin student bodies are not entirely happy with the new ticket, as it still causes too many problems in some areas.
The semester ticket is one of the central achievements of the student bodies. They can conclude contracts themselves and, in theory, negotiate conditions with the transport associations themselves. In the past, this was rarely possible. Contracts were sent to us so late that we had no time for negotiations, and if renegotiations did take place, our wishes and demands were not taken into account.
This situation has only worsened with the planned introduction of the Deutschlandsemesterticket. Many student bodies in Berlin had no time for negotiations, as the re-registration period at the university began only a few days after the ticket was passed. We know that the Deutschlandsemesterticket was introduced unexpectedly and that the transport associations hardly had time to draw up the relevant contracts. Nevertheless, it is unacceptable for the contracts for the German semester ticket to deviate from the old contracts for the Berlin semester ticket in key points. And this is exactly what happened here.
First of all, numerous changes were made to the group of students entitled to the semester ticket. Previously, numerous groups had the right to choose whether or not they wanted to take out the semester ticket and thus benefit from cheap public transport. This right to choose is no longer included in the contract for the Germany semester ticket. Instead, the affected groups of students are now either completely excluded from the semester ticket or have to purchase one.
Doctoral students, part-time students under 50% and students on postgraduate, distance and continuing education courses are not entitled to receive the Deutschlandsemesterticket. On the other hand, students working at least 50% part-time or students who receive the €9 social ticket are now obliged to purchase the Deutschlandsemesterticket and cannot be exempted from this on application, as was previously the case.
Students who try to adapt their studies to their difficult social situation (for example by planning semesters off or reducing their semester load) should be exempt from this regulation. Instead, the new regulation will only create further problems for them. For example, students who are not entitled to the Deutschlandsemesterticket can no longer benefit from the social funds of the student bodies. The social funds are used to reimburse the fees for the semester ticket to students who are in financial difficulties. These are often students working less than 50% part-time, who are now completely excluded from the semester ticket and have to buy expensive, over-the-counter tickets on their own.
The proposed change thus carries clear signs of ableism and classism and is a measure that will make studying less accessible for many. This is our biggest and most important criticism of the new regulation. We condemn in the strongest terms the increased social exclusions that will result.
Another important concern for us is the ticket issue. The new ticket will only be offered as a QR code on a cell phone; the campus card will no longer be required. The government and the VBB are demanding this, and the model contract for the Deutschlandticket also only provides for a digital ticket. We are of the opinion that a printed QR code together with the ID card should be sufficient to prove the eTicket. Some students do not have a smartphone or do not want one. It is unfair to deny these students access to a semester ticket that they have paid for, especially when you consider that some of these students have to do without a smartphone for financial reasons. There has been ongoing criticism of the data transfer when scanning the Deutschlandticket for almost a year now, and we would like to express the strongest criticism of this data transfer during the Deutschlandticket check.
Die vorgeschlagene Änderung birgt somit klare Zeichen von Ableismus und Klassismus und stellt eine Maßnahme dar, die das Studium für viele unzugänglicher macht. Das ist unsere größte und wichtigste Kritik in Bezug auf die Neuregelung. Wir verurteilen die dadurch verstärkten sozialen Ausschlüsse auf das Schärfste.
Ein weiteres wichtiges Anliegen ist für uns die Ticketausgabe. Das neue Ticket wird nur als QR-Code auf dem Handy angeboten, die Campus-Karte wird nicht mehr benötigt. Die Regierung und der VBB fordern dies, auch der Mustervertrag zum Deutschlandticket sieht ausschließlich ein digitales Ticket vor. Wir sind der Meinung, dass ein gedruckter QR-Code zusammen mit dem Ausweis ausreichen sollte, um das eTicket nachzuweisen. Einige Studierende besitzen kein Smartphone oder möchten keins haben. Es ist unfair, diesen Studierenden den Zugang zu einem von ihnen bezahlten Semesterticket zu verwehren, besonders wenn man bedenkt, dass einige dieser Studierenden aus finanziellen Gründen auf ein Smartphone verzichten müssen. Es gibt bereits seit fast einem Jahr dauerhafte Kritik an der Datenübertragung beim Scannen des Deutschlandtickets, und wir möchten die stärkste Kritik gegenüber dieser Datenübertragung bei der Deutschlandticket-Kontrolle zum Ausdruck bringen.
The Deutschlandsemesterticket will also no longer include free bicycle transport, as was previously the case. However, this is necessary if you consider the living situation of many students in Berlin.
"Unfortunately, I live in a poorly connected region where I can't really get to the nearest S-Bahn station without my bike," one FU student told us. "If I can no longer take my bike with me on the train, my mobility is severely restricted." Students often cannot find another apartment due to the housing shortage or rents are too expensive in the immediate vicinity of a station. These students are dependent on a bicycle ticket. Now everyone who has to do without a direct connection to public transport for financial reasons is supposed to spend even more money on public transport every month just to be able to take their bike with them?
In addition, the bicycle can also be a means of safety for many students with an increased need for protection in everyday life (BPoCs and FLINTA persons).
Furthermore, the bicycle is a means of sustainable mobility. Especially in view of the climate catastrophe, the promotion of sustainable and climate-friendly mobility is now more important than ever. Not continuing to make it possible to travel by bike free of charge with the Deutschlandsemesterticket therefore also sends the wrong signal with regard to climate protection, which we can no longer afford at the present time.
Mit besten Grüßen
Elyas A. Zenoz Irazábal
c/o AStA TU Berlin
Sekretariat TK 2
Straße des 17. Juni 135