EXPLAINED: Deutsche Bahn’s new ticket rules for 2022

From the beginning of this year customers travelling on Germany’s Deutsche Bahn network have no longer been able to buy their tickets from staff on board the train. Here’s what you need to know about the change. 

A ticket vending machine at Lutherstadt Wittenberg main station (Saxony-Anhalt), with two regional trains in the background.
A ticket vending machine at Lutherstadt Wittenberg main station (Saxony-Anhalt), with two regional trains in the background. Photo: picture alliance / Jan Woitas/dpa-Zentralbild/dpa | Jan Woitas

Germany’s long-distance rail network – Deutsche Bahn – has changed its ticketing rules for 2022, meaning that it will no longer be possible to buy a paper ticket from the train staff after boarding. 

Previously, travellers in a hurry could pay for their journey retrospectively after boarding – with a surcharge of 17 euros for the ticket service on the train. 

READ ALSO: Everything that changes in Germany in 2022

However, late-running passengers will still be able to purchase a ticket via the app or the rail website up to ten minutes after departure of the train.

What are the fines?

Boarding a Deutsche Bahn train without a paper or an online ticket could get very expensive. 

According to the new rules, passengers without a ticket will be charged double the fare, with a minimum fine of 60 euros. In extreme cases, Deutsche Bahn could charge double the flex fare for the entire train connection, which could mean a charge of up to 300 euros.

The only exceptions to the rule are for severely disabled people, who may continue to purchase their tickets from staff onboard the train and receive an invoice at a later date.

Travellers are therefore advised to buy a ticket before boarding, either online, at the ticket office or at a ticket machine.

What if there is no ticket office, the ticket machine is defective or there is no internet connection?

If there is no ticket counter and no other functioning ticket machine, then a ticket should be purchased online. Anyone who quickly buys a ticket online after departure must do so within a time limit of 10 minutes. If they don’t do so within the time limit, they will have to pay a fine. 

However, if the mobile connection in the train is too poor, or if the WIFI connection is disrupted, the train staff will check the situation and, in appropriate circumstances, will allow the ticket to be purchased on board. 

READ ALSO: Berlin transport network launches flexi-ticket for post-pandemic travel

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‘Arrive early’: Passengers at European airports warned of travel disruption

Europe's airports chief told passengers to leave time for delays this summer as the air travel industry struggles to meet surging demand after the pandemic.

'Arrive early': Passengers at European airports warned of travel disruption

“The clear conjunction of a much quicker recovery with a very tight labour market is creating a lot of problems,” Olivier Jankovec, head of the Europe branch of the Airports Council International (ACI), told AFP.

He said there were issues from airports to airlines, ground handlers, police and border controls, but insisted: “The system still works”.

READ ALSO: Budget airline passengers in Europe face travel headaches as more strikes called

“It’s important for passengers that they communicate with the airlines in terms of when they should get to the airport, and prepare to come earlier than usual to make sure to have the time to go through, especially if they have to check luggage,” he said.

Strikes by low-cost pilots and cabin crew across Europe – including this weekend – are adding to the disruption.

Speaking at the ACI Europe annual congress in Rome, Jankovec said airports had taken measures to improve the situation, which would come into effect from mid-July.

“Additional staff will be coming in July, the reconfiguration of some of the facilities and infrastructure to facilitate the flows will also come into effect in July,” he said.

“I think it will be tight, there will be some disruptions, there will be longer waiting times.

READ ALSO: Airport chaos in Europe: What are your rights if flights are delayed or cancelled?

“But I think that in the vast majority of airports, the traffic will go, people will not miss their planes, and hopefully everybody will be able to reach their destination as planned.”

He also defended increases in airport charges, after criticism from the International Air Transport Association (IATA), which represents airlines.

Airports face “the same difficulties and inflationary pressures” as airlines, which he noted were putting their fares up, he said.

“Staff and energy is 45 percent of our operating costs, and of course inflation is also driving up the cost of materials,” he said.