Students on the move – introduction of the semester ticket

Contract signed on the train: The Student Group for Transport (Student Union) negotiates an extended OWL- semester ticket with the partners in the public transport sector – Deutsche Bahn, VGL and MRV – which enables all commuting students from East Westphalia to travel to the University free of charge. It was introduced after 88 per cent of students voted in favour of the semester ticket in 1993.

The contract to extend the semester ticket is signed in true style in a railway carriage. In a special train service that ran from Bielefeld to Herford via Dortmund, student representatives and the representative of the East Westphalia public transport company sealed the deal on the new semester ticket, 1993.

Photo: Klaus Halbe
Source: Universitätsarchiv Bielefeld, FOS 01173

In the early 1990s, the Student Group for Transport (Student Union) were already campaigning intensively for the introduction of a semester ticket for Bielefeld University, with which students could use public transport cheaply. In 1992, a semester ticket was issued for the area of VOW (transport association of East Westphalia-Lippe), which for the majority of students didn’t cover their entire journey to the University: The ticket only included Bielefeld and the district of Gütersloh.

This changed with the introduction of the OWL semester ticket. In summer 1993, the final contract was signed on a special train service, which attracted local media to the event. Interestingly, the introduction of the extended OWL-ticket was unprecedented in Germany. For the first time, a group of local public transport customers put together their own ticket.

Second vote on the extended semester ticket for DM 122.50 in the central hall of the main university building, which took place at the beginning of May 1993.

Photo: unknown
Source: Universitätsarchiv Bielefeld, FOS 01172

As the city tram line 4 was only extended as far as the University in 2000, the bus service needed to be expanded. The Student Group for Transport (Student Union) organised an express bus route to the University, again proving its merit. At the end of 1993, it was awarded the City of Bielefeld’s Umweltpreis (environmental prize) for its work.