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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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TRAIN TRAVEL

Germany’s Deutsche Bahn to raise ticket prices by almost five percent

The cost of long-distance train travel in Germany is to go up significantly from December.

Germany's Deutsche Bahn to raise ticket prices by almost five percent

The price of tickets for long distance rail services run by Deutsche Bahn (DB) in Germany are to go up by an average of 4.9 percent this winter, it has emerged. 

The company said the hikes, which will come into force from December 11th, are in response to high inflation.

Some tickets will see an even higher increase. The price of Flex tickets, which aren’t tied to a specific train and can be cancelled, will increase by an average of 6.9 percent.

The cost of BahnCards 25, 50 and 100, which frequent travellers can use for discounted rates, are also going up by around 4.9 percent.

Super Saver and Saver fares – Sparpreise – are, however, staying the same. They start at €17.90 (or €12.90 for people who are 27 or younger), although these tickets are not offered on every train and come with some restrictions.

Seat reservations will also remain at the same level. It costs €4.50 for second-class seat reservations.

The changes will apply to DB’s long-distance trains – Intercity and Intercity Express (IC and ICE).

READ ALSO: German rail operator plans huge modernisation 

The company said the hikes were happening because of inflation. Like many other companies, Deutsche Bahn was “forced to react to the massive inflation by adjusting its prices,” but the firm said this was still well below the current inflation rate of eight percent.

DB added that the German Tariff Association said at the beginning of September that regional services would see a price increase of four percent on average.

The new long-distance timetable – which will apply from December 11th – can be booked in advance from October 12th, according to Deutsche Bahn.

Up to and including December 10th, the new offers can still be booked at the old price.

Despite major problems with the punctuality of its trains, Deutsche Bahn has recently been able to significantly increase its passenger numbers back to the level it reached before the Covid crisis. However, as one of the biggest consumers of electricity in Germany, it has also been hit hard by rising energy costs. The additional costs for the coming year have been put at two billion euros, said the firm. 

It comes as federal and state leaders are widely expected to agree to a new nationwide successor to the €9 euro ticket, which would cover all regional public transport – including DB’s regional trains – around the country.

According to Transport Minister Volker Wissing (FDP), the government is aiming to introduce the new travel offer by January 1st, 2023. 

READ ALSO: Germany sets out plans for €49 public transport ticket in October

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