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CHRISTMAS

Deutsche Bahn to increase number of trains in Germany over holidays

German rail operator Deutsche Bahn says it will increase the number of trains and service staff over the festive period.

A passenger walks past a high speed train at Berlin central station
A passenger walks past a high speed train at Berlin central station. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Christoph Soeder

“Around Christmas, from December 22nd to January 2nd, we will deploy an additional 100 or so special trains, especially on connections that are in high demand,” the CEO of DB Fernverkehr, Michael Peterson, told the Funke Media Group newspapers.

The trains will mainly be deployed on busy routes such as Berlin-Stuttgart, Berlin-Munich, from North Rhine-Westphalia to Berlin or between Hamburg and Karlsruhe or between Essen and Berlin, said Peterson.

The aim is to make sure there is more distance between passengers onboard as the fourth wave continues to affect Germany.

“Those who have to travel on those days should be able to do so safely and with a good feeling,” Peterson said.

Germany recently brought in the 3G rule for travelling on public transport. It means that people have to be fully vaccinated, recovered from Covid recently or have a negative Covid test when they get on a train, bus or tram. 

READ ALSO: Germany brings in nationwide 3G rules on public transport

There are random checks on passengers to make sure they have proof of one of these documents while travelling.

Peterson said regular cleaning on trains and mandatory face masks should also help passengers feel safer when travelling. 

There are also plans to have more employees at big stations.

“We are also deploying around 40 service staff at each of the eight largest stations – in Hamburg, Berlin, Frankfurt am Main, Munich, Düsseldorf, Cologne, Stuttgart and Mannheim,” said Peterson.

“The staff should help ensure that passengers are evenly distributed on the platforms. They also assist passengers with luggage to board and disembark.”

Long-distance trains have already been booked by many people ahead of Christmas and New Year, although numbers are still below pre-pandemic levels. 

“The booking figures at Christmas are above the figures of the previous year, but at 35 to 40 percent, they are still significantly below the level of the pre-Corona year 2019,” Peterson said. Last year, bookings were more than 60 per cent below the 2019 level.

Train timetable change

The winter timetable from rail operator Deutsche Bahn is set to come into effect on December 12th. 

And there will be price hikes. On long-distance services, fares will increase by an average of 1.9 percent. Tickets at the so-called Super-Sparpreis (super saver price) and Sparpreis (saver price) will still be available from €17.90 and €21.50 respectively.

The Flexpreis (flexible price) and the prices for route season tickets will increase by an average of 2.9 percent. Bahncards will also become 2.9 percent more expensive.

READ ALSO: 

Vocabulary

Christmas time/season – (die) Weihnachtszeit 

Additional – zusätzlich

Connections – (die) Verbindungen

High demand – hohe Nachfrage

We’re aiming to help our readers improve their German by translating vocabulary from some of our news stories. Did you find this article useful? Let us know.

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TRAVEL NEWS

Germany to relax travel restrictions for summer

Germany is set to significantly ease its travel restrictions to enter the country from June 1st until the end of August, Health Minister Karl Lauterbach said.

Germany to relax travel restrictions for summer

The so-called 3G rule applies to anyone entering Germany from abroad – and it means travellers over the age of 12 have to show proof of full vaccination, recovery from Covid or a recent negative test. 

Travellers who are transferring at an airport in Germany also have to present proof of their Covid status before arriving in the country. This applies both to non-Schengen transit from or to third countries outside the EU and to transit from or to Schengen states.

However, Health Minister Lauterbach said he planned to temporarily ease this rule from June 1st due to the falling number of Covid infections. 

“Until the end of August, we will suspend the 3G rule on entry,” he told the Funke Mediengruppe newspapers. 

However, the rules for people entering Germany from so-called ‘virus variant areas’ will remain in force. They have to go into a 14-day quarantine on arrival, even if they have been vaccinated or have recovered. However, no country is currently designated as a virus variant region. 

Lauterbach said: “When such areas are defined, people entering the country have to go into quarantine. Even with lower incidences in the summer, we must remain cautious in the event of a global pandemic.” 

Travellers should keep an eye on any risk-level changes to countries they are travelling to Germany from on the Robert Koch Institute’s risk list.

READ ALSO: How Germany’s travel rule changes may affect your holiday plans

Change expected on vaccines

According to German media reports, the amendment to the Covid entry regulations is to be passed by the federal cabinet today.

It also provides for another change – in future all vaccines approved by WHO, not only those approved by the EU, will be recognised upon entry to Germany.

Under the current restrictions, you have to be fully vaccinated to enter Germany if you are coming from most non-EU countries. Unvaccinated people are not allowed to enter unless they have an essential reason.

Germany does, however, allow unrestricted entry for people coming from a small group of ‘safe list’ countries.

This regulation does not apply to German and EU residents.

The Local has asked the German Health Ministry to clarify if the rule on entry from non-EU countries will remain in place. 

Meanwhile, it is worth remembering that the 3G entry rule on coming to Germany still applies until the end of May. Before entering the country, people have to upload or show their Covid documents (proof of vaccination, recovery or a negative test) while checking in or before boarding. 

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