DB spokesman Ulrich Homburg said the change was to accommodate increases in personnel costs and called them “a decision with a sense of proportion.” Deutsche Bahn workers received a salary increase of 4.5 percent for 2009-2010, he said.
“In comparison to car or airplane we remain very affordable, in the end we sell about 90 percent of our long-haul trips and more than 80 percent of regional trips at a discount,” he said.
Many cost increases will barely be noticeable to infrequent Deutsche Bahn passengers, he argued. For instance, a second class Intercity-Express (ICE) ticket between Frankfurt and Mannheim will cost just €0.50 more, while a trip from Frankfurt to Berlin will go up by €2.
But seat reservations will go up a disproportionate 25 percent – from €2.00 to €2.50. Homburg said this particular increase was to discourage a growing number of passengers from making reservations on multiple trains.
Deutsche Bahn regularly changes prices when it updates its timetable each December. Last year's increase was 3.9 percent.
The company expects to earn an extra €50 million with the price increases in the coming year. While local travel revenue remains stable, long-haul bookings are slightly down, the company said.