Deutsche Bahn sees 85 percent drop in passenger numbers due to coronavirus

Deutsche Bahn sees 85 percent drop in passenger numbers due to coronavirus
Deutsche Bahn trains. Photo: DPA
German rail operator Deutsche Bahn (DB) has seen a drop of at least 85 percent in passenger numbers due to the coronavirus crisis, group president Richard Lutz said Monday.

The current number of passengers was “about 10 to 15 percent its usual level” on long-distance routes and around “15 percent on regional lines”, said DB president Lutz in a telephone press conference.

He added that a dramatic increase in journeys was not expected over the Easter period, praising customers for “being responsible” by not travelling during the crisis.

While passenger numbers are down, however, punctuality is up.

READ ALSO: How travelling by train in Germany is set to improve

A DB spokesperson confirmed that 82.4 percent of trains had arrived on time in March, a 4.1 percent rise against figures from March 2019.

DB has cut down its long-distance timetable by around 25 percent, said Lutz, striking off a number cross-border trains, connections to domestic holiday destinations and “sprinter” trains favoured by business travellers.

The DB president had already warned that the coronavirus crisis would “hit hard” when presenting the group's annual figures last month.

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With German leaders urging the public to avoid unnecessary journeys both at home and abroad, air travel is also down significantly.

In Frankfurt, the country's biggest airport marked a 91 percent drop in the number of passengers in the last week of March against the same period in 2019.

Germany's flagship airline Lufthansa has drastically reduced its capacities, grounding 700 of its 763 planes.

READ ALSO: 'Exceptional crisis': Lufthansa to slash long-haul flights by up to 90 percent

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