Semester ticket? Fair and affordable!


The Semesterticket is a transport ticket for students at 50 universities in Berlin and Brandenburg who have signed a contract with the VBB (Verkehrsbund Berlin Brandenburg). Depending on the contract, students can thus use the entire public transport system in Berlin and/or Brandenburg. The price of the semester ticket is included in the semester fee of each university. Thus, the semester ticket is compulsorily paid by all students of these universities, because the ticket is based on a solidarity model. The more universities and the more students thus participate in this solidarity ticket, the cheaper it becomes for the individual. At the European University Viadrina Frankfurt (Oder), for example, we are currently paying 170.00€ per person and per semester for the semester ticket in the winter semester 2021/22.


The struggle for a fair and affordable semester ticket in Berlin and Brandenburg is almost as old as the semester ticket itself. The price for the semester ticket is constantly rising and many universities in Berlin and Brandenburg pay different prices for different services. These result from the VBB’s direct and individual negotiations with the individual universities. Since spring 2020 (March/April), new negotiations with the VBB have been ongoing, now no longer with the individual universities, but with the IGSemTix (Interessensgemeinschaft Semesterticket Berlin Brandenburg). The IGSemTix was founded in the course of these negotiations and consists of student representatives from the universities in Berlin and Brandenburg and is committed to a uniform and long-term solution with regard to the semester ticket. Since its formation, the IGSemTix has been conducting negotiations with the VBB and Berlin and Brandenburg politicians and, as a united association, has been fighting for a fair and affordable semester ticket. Means thereby are public and lobby work.


We as AStA of the Viadrina, and thus a part of the IGSemTix, demand an affordable and fair semester ticket. In concrete terms, this means a short-term freeze of the semester ticket prices in Berlin and Brandenburg for at least one more year and a long-term 365€ ticket for students throughout Berlin and Brandenburg. The 365€ ticket is an annual ticket and thus the semester ticket fee would be 182,50€ per semester. This will only work if the student body, IGSemTix, VBB and Berlin and Brandenburg politicians work together. The last two actors must actively participate in the negotiations and the politicians must subsidize the semester ticket. That this is possible is shown by the VBB’s 365€ Azubi Ticket, which already exists in Berlin and Brandenburg.


IGSemTix is confident about the situation in Berlin. The VBB is based on the price increases, but the Berlin politicians, i.e. the House of Representatives and the Senate Department for Environment, Transport and Climate Protection, verbally promise their financial support for the student body and the semester ticket. The current situation in Brandenburg, on the other hand, shows great stagnation. At the beginning of October, the IGSemTix received an email with a price list from the VBB demanding exactly the same prices as already in spring 2020. So, despite the negotiations and the efforts of the IGSemTix, the VBB does not move a bit. Brandenburg’s politicians, i.e. the Brandenburg state parliament and the Ministry for Infrastructure and State Planning (MIL), are hesitant to negative about financial support for the semester ticket.
This puts us as a student body in a predicament. At the Viadrina and at other universities in Berlin and Brandenburg, the contract for the semester ticket expires after the current winter semester 2020/21. Thus, a new contract would have to be signed by the beginning of December in order for the
Semesterticket continues to be made available to the student body. If a new contract would be signed, then the semester ticket would cost 245,00€ in two years, i.e. for the winter semester 2023/24 at the Viadrina – 75,00€ more than at the moment. The price increase would take place step by step, i.e. 200.00€ for the summer semester 2022 and then an increase of 15.00€ per semester until the 245.00€ is reached. The IGSemTix and we as AStA continue our public relations and lobbying work.


A new contract will have to be signed at many universities in Berlin and Brandenburg in the near future. In Berlin, ballots have to be held if there is such a price increase; in Brandenburg, these are optional. In Brandenburg, the student representation can also decide on this issue alone. In a ballot, the entire student body of a college or university can vote on whether they think such a high semester ticket price is still acceptable. If the majority of students vote against the semester ticket at this price, there will be no ticket at this university for at least one semester, but the option is open to enter into new negotiations afterwards. If the majority of students vote in favor of the Semesterticket at this price, then the Semesterticket will continue to run under the stated conditions. However, this does not exclude further lobbying and new negotiations.


It is important for the further progress of the semester ticket to inform yourself about the issue. This is possible via the social media channels of the IGSemTix (@semtix365) or the AAtA of the Viadrina (@astaviadrina). There will be face-to-face and online events in the coming days and weeks as part of our semester ticket campaign. You can find the program on our social media channels or on the flyers that we distribute once a week in the Gräfin-Dönhoff-Building (GD) of our university. All students are cordially invited to these. Besides informing yourself about it, it is of great importance to bring the topic to your environment, i.e. to acquaintances, friends, fellow students and to discuss it.