“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.
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.
- German rail operator Deutsche Bahn set to raise ticket prices
- EXPLAINED: How to find cheap train tickets in Germany
Christmas time/season – (die) Weihnachtszeit
Additional – zusätzlich
Connections – (die) Verbindungen
High demand – hohe Nachfrage
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