Starting in 2017, in Germany, there are some changes to daily life that you will notice. I have highlighted some of these in my first post for 2017.
- Public Transport
In general, prices for U-Bahn and S-Bahn rides have increased. On average, ticket prices will cost 2-2.5% more. In Munich, a single trip ticket has gone up 10cents to 2.80EUR and a single day ticket in the inner zone now costs 6.60EUR, up from 6.40EUR.
According to Section 37 (2) No.6 of the Road Traffic Regulations (Straßenverkehrs-Ordnung (StVO)), cyclists now have to abide to the traffic signal for cars, when there is no dedicated bicycle signal at crossings. Previously, cyclists and pedestrians had the same signal when there was no bicycle signal at crossings.
Also, parents can now accompany their kids (upto the age of 9) on the sidewalk. Previously, parents were allowed to only use the street while their kids used the sidewalk. NOTE: pedestrians still have the right of way.
- WiFi on ICE trains
If you are traveling by second class on the Intercity-Express (ICE) trains, you will now have access to free WiFi on-board. However, the data volume is limited to 200 Mb/day. For those traveling in first class, there is no data volume limit.
- Electricity Bill Increase
Don’t be alarmed when you have to pay more for your electricity starting this year. The prices have increased on average by 3.5%.
- Taxpayers get Relief
The basic personal allowance (Grundfreibetrag) or standard deduction for your taxes has increased to 8,820EUR up from 8,652EUR for single individuals. For married couples, the increase is to 17,640EUR from 17,304EUR.
- Minimum Wage Increase
Germany first implemented minimum wage in Jan 2015. In 2017, the minimum wage is set to 8.84EUR per hour from 8.50EUR per hour.
- Kindergeld increase
The German Govt. provides money to parents (Kindergeld; kinder-kids, geld-money) every month per child. For the first two kids, this is 192EUR per child, up from 190EUR. For the 3rd child it is 196EUR and from the 4th onwards it is 221EUR.
Kindergeld is paid until the child reaches 18 years or until 25 years if the child goes to university or vocational training.
Low-income households that qualify for a separate supplementary child benefit will also see a 10EUR increase monthly to 170EUR.
- Mandatory smoke detectors
If you were wondering why your landlord bothered you about smoke detector installations, it’s because in Germany, starting in 2017, by law, all houses must have smoke detectors. Its surprising they only passed this law recently. Oh well, we are safer now!
Hope you have a wonderful, fun and successful 2017.