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V.l.: Joachim Adler (ASEAG), Nikola Saponjic (AStA FH Aachen), Marco Leonhardt (AStA RWTH), Simon Roß (AStA RWTH), Hans-Peter Geulen (AVV)
© 2024 AVV / Markus Vogten. The image may be used in relation to the above press release. Reproduction is free of charge for press purposes. The source must be quoted.

After months of negotiations, one thing is certain: the semester ticket at RWTH Aachen University will remain in place for the summer semester and will then be valid throughout Germany. The student parliament of RWTH Aachen University decided this last week, following the results of a survey conducted among students by the General Students’ Committee (AStA) in December. The price will be 29.40 euros per month and is linked to 60% of the Deutschlandticket. ASEAG, AVV and AStA signed the contracts together on Tuesday.

For over a year, the AStA – together with the other student bodies in NRW – campaigned for a viable solution for the semester ticket in times of the Deutschlandticket. The AStA has made it clear to political decision-makers on many occasions that the semester ticket must remain a guarantee for affordable and sustainable mobility for all students. And together with the AVV, the AStA has repeatedly drawn attention to the fact that the semester ticket is also an indispensable funding pillar for local public transport – to date, almost 13 million euros a year have flowed to ASEAG alone and a similar amount to other transport companies in NRW.

However, with the introduction of the Deutschlandticket, the semester ticket under the previous conditions was on the brink of collapse: as the semester ticket is offered on a solidarity model, i.e. all students pay the same fee regardless of use, the advantage for the entire student body must be great compared to the disadvantage of individual students who do not use the ticket or only use it a little – this was the ruling of the Federal Administrative Court following earlier lawsuits.

As the solidarity model previously allowed a price advantage of almost 90%, i.e. comparable tickets were 10 times more expensive, it was clear that the introduction of the 49-euro ticket and a price difference of just under 30% as well as a validity limited to NRW meant that the semester ticket was legally on shaky ground. At the conference of transport ministers in Aachen in March 2023, it was therefore decided that there should be a nationwide semester ticket. However, the federal and state governments were only able to reach a final agreement at the end of November – the federal government, among others, had previously blocked an agreement for months.

After the contractual and organizational foundations were worked out within a few weeks by AVV, ASEAG and the ASten of RWTH and FH Aachen, it is now clear that the Germany semester ticket can be introduced at RWTH on 1 April.

Simon Roß, AStA Chairman, comments:

“The solution that has now been agreed is a first success after more than 14 months of work: Germany-wide validity is coming and the price is falling from just under €34 to €29.40 per month. Nevertheless, there are significant deductions: The solution could have been introduced as early as the winter semester if the federal government had not resisted for so long. In addition, there were no student representatives at the negotiating table and linking the price to 60% of the Deutschlandticket creates enormous uncertainty and makes drastic price increases likely.”

“A comparison with the Jobticket also shows that students were left out in the cold for almost a year and had to continue paying the old, excessively high contributions, while it became cheaper for everyone else and employees, for example, benefited from a cheaper offer right from the start of the Deutschlandticket,” adds Marco Leonhardt, finance officer at AStA.

This is why the AStA called for a price reduction at the start of the Deutschlandticket. Students could then have received a refund of overpayments – similar to the 9-euro ticket. The necessary regulations for this were issued by the federal and state governments themselves, and the funding could have been provided by the Deutschlandticket. This would not have resulted in any financial disadvantages for ASEAG and AVV. In the end, however, there was a lack of political will to push this through. One of the reasons given for this was the need to make savings as a result of the Federal Constitutional Court’s ruling on the federal budget.

Nevertheless, the AStA, AVV and ASEAG were able to agree on a small adjustment before the start of the Deutschlandsemesterticket: From now on
From now on, RWTH students can take an additional adult or a bicycle with them on their semester ticket for the whole day. Up to three children under the age of 15 are also included. The offer is valid up to and including March 31 and is limited to the AVV area and train routes up to and including Cologne and Düsseldorf Hbf. In addition, Aachen students will still have the opportunity to travel to the Netherlands. From the summer semester, there will also be an extension here: the validity of the semester ticket will be extended to the whole of South Limburg (up to Sittard). The AStA and Arriva agreed on this at the beginning of November, but the continuation of cross-border student mobility depended on the continuation of the semester ticket on the German side.

The semester ticket is now secure, at least for the summer semester. Whether and how it will continue from the winter semester onwards now depends once again on the future and financing of the Deutschlandticket.

Image material

Pictures can be found under the following link:

© 2024 AStA of RWTH Aachen University. The images may be used in relation to the above press release. Please contact us in advance (see first page of this press release for contact details). Reproduction is free of charge for press purposes. The source must be quoted.

Press contact

The chairperson of the AStA of RWTH Aachen University is available as a contact person for the press (vorsitz@asta.rwth-aachen.de).

Background information:

The General Students’ Committee of RWTH Aachen University is the university-wide representative body for the almost 47,000 students at RWTH Aachen University. It is elected annually by the university’s student parliament. Its tasks consist of representing the students in terms of university policy vis-à-vis the university, the state and the public, managing the financial resources of the student body, advising on a wide range of social and student issues, organizing a cultural programme and providing political education.