A new ticket for 9 euros means financial assistance to passengers. However, this is not the case for many dog owners who use public transportation. Neumarkterin repels sour. She is now launching an online petition for fair VGN rates for dog owners.
Philou is a happy dog. Every day he is allowed to accompany his mistress Yvonne Engelhard to work. To do this, they use public transport and travel between Neumarkt and Nuremberg on weekdays. Engelhard’s fiancée and her daughter also switched to public transport.
Every day it takes about three hours for a passenger to get to work by train and on foot. In comparison, a one-way trip by car takes only about 40 minutes. Despite this, the family decided to get rid of their car. As they say, to protect your own wallet and the environment.
More than 100 euros per month
When the passengers found out about the €9 ticket, they were overjoyed considering the financial aid for June, July and August.
Until Engelhard realized that while she could travel cheaper by train in the summer, the offer didn’t extend to her four-legged passenger in any way. “Since the €9 ticket cannot be bought for dogs and there is no cheaper monthly ticket, we still need to purchase a regular Mobi card,” says Engelhard.
So, while others currently commute to work almost for free, the family continues to pay around 100 euros for a monthly ticket so that Filu can go to work with them. According to the Verkehrsverbund Großraum Nürnberg (VGN), it is illegal to buy a €9 ticket for a four-legged friend in all of Germany. Reason: “This is a personal ticket that is not transferable to another person.”
A spokesman for the company also said that a child ticket should generally be purchased for a dog, unless it is small enough to be transported in a suitable container. Exception: “With a day ticket plus, at certain times with a Mobi card, and with an annual subscription plus, a dog is included in the offer as a kind of perk,” VGN said in a statement.
Child fare does not apply to monthly tickets
Yvonne Engelhard sees a need for improvement here. “Dogs pay child fare on single routes but are not considered children with a Mobi card.” So while up to four children can travel on this ticket, only one dog is allowed on one ticket. “I think it’s unfair,” says Engelhard. “If you already have to pay for a four-legged friend at the child rate, then with the Mobi card it should also be possible to take up to four dogs with you.”
If a 31-year-old woman were to buy one-time child fare instead of a monthly dog ticket, she would have to pay €8.54 per day for the return journey. Calculated for June, for example, this means a total of 179.84 euros, which in itself would mean the use of public transport for Filho.
But Yvonne Engelhard’s annoyance didn’t end there. The family will soon be replenished, two puppies should strengthen the “pack”. Using the three-dog train becomes a real cost factor for Neumarkt residents. Because when I asked VGN, Yvonne Engelhard said she needed to buy a separate Mobi card for each animal. For them, this means a monthly cost of around 300 euros. If three dogs traveled daily on child tickets, it would even cost around 540 euros per month.
Faced with this calculation, VGN made the following statement to our newspaper: “Our tariff rules are the result of a balance of interests between all transport companies involved. For this reason, we ask you to understand that as a public transport operator, we cannot fulfill all the individual wishes of our customers, no matter how justified they may sometimes be from the point of view of passengers.” Yvonne Engelhard doesn’t want to be “fooled” by this answer.
An online petition has begun
That’s why the 31-year-old started an online petition. In it, she calls for making the VGN tariff offer generally more convenient for dog owners. “Dogs should be able to travel on the Mobi Card in the same numbers as children,” she says.
With her concerns, she seems to resonate with other dog owners. Within a week, the petition was signed by 167 people. In the comments, some share their opinion: “I have two dogs and I would like to travel by train more often, but I can’t afford it,” writes the owner of the dog. Another commented: “It can’t be that driving a car for dog owners is still cheaper than using public transport.” She believes there is an urgent need for more attractive offers and incentives to encourage dog owners to travel by train more often.
More about ticket for 9 euros
– Numbers: The Association of German Transport Companies (VDV) has estimated that around 30 million people will use a ticket for €9 per month, either by subscription or by a newly purchased ticket.
– Cost: with special tickets, passengers can use local public transport throughout Germany. It is valid for June, July and August.