€9 ticket: Hundreds of German trains 'overcrowded' on long weekend

The Local
The Local - [email protected] • 7 Jun, 2022 Updated Tue 7 Jun 2022 11:52 CEST
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Police and Deutsche Bahn employees direct travellers on a crowded platform at the main station in Cologne on Monday. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Henning Kaiser

Rail traffic in Germany was packed over the Whitsun holiday weekend, leading to 700 reports of disruption, according to staff representatives.


Germany's €9 monthly ticket launched last Wednesday, and received its first major test during the Whitsun holiday weekend. 

And vice-chairman of the DB Regio Works Council, Ralf Damde, said around 400 trains were overcrowded on each day.

"As expected, the €9 campaign triggered a big rush on regional trains, which led to significantly more cases of congestion nationwide," Damde told RND.

"Platforms and trains were full all over Germany, and in several cases overcrowded trains had to be cleared - but fortunately - no stations."

He said that passengers had to be turned away from trains, or people were told they couldn't take bicycles on board. 



Around 700 reports of overloaded trains, passenger issues or other disruptions were sent to the operations centre per day. Damde said that number is significantly higher than on average weekends or previous holidays. 

There were no physical assaults against railway staff, "but there were verbal assaults," said Damde.

The massive additional demand for personnel also meant rail staff had to work overtime over the weekend. 

"Overall, passengers needed significantly more assistance than usual," said Damde. "This included the fact that many people who had not travelled by train for a long time did not know that masks are still compulsory on public transport."

READ ALSO: 'The €9 ticket for summer is just a gimmick, not a solution'

The €9 monthly ticket offer runs until the end of August, and is valid on local transport across Germany, including regional trains. It cannot be used on long-distance transport such as ICE services. 

Passenger association Pro Bahn also said there were major problems at the weekend. "During peak travel times, demand on the main lines was so strong that trains could not depart," a spokesman said.

"And some railway companies - such as Metronom in northern Germany - excluded bicycle transport because they could not cope with the rush."

However, some people in Germany have said that trains are always busy during the Whitsun weekend, and that these reports are over-exaggerated.

Meanwhile, FDP transport politician Christian Jung told the Hessischer Rundfunk that the €9 ticket showed that rail bosses are not prepared for "additional capacities in local transport and to tourist destinations".

"The rail infrastructure is not designed for such capacity increases because of its condition," he said.



The Local 2022/06/07 11:52

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