stress test passed? The great rush for the 9-euro ticket has raised fears of the great chaos in public transport. The industry sees the first test as passed, although not everything went smoothly.

It’s rolling, that’s not just the interim balance of Deutsche Bahn. For a week now, passengers with the 9-euro ticket have been able to use local public transport nationwide at a ridiculous price – but the big chaos hasn’t materialized, the transport industry sees the first stress test passed according to a stern survey. Nevertheless: Not everything went smoothly.

Transport associations: Everything under control

The Hamburger Hochbahn observed “a higher number of passengers” in the subway and bus area – at least on the Whitsun weekend and compared to previous weekends. It is not yet possible to say to what extent this can be attributed to the 9-euro ticket. There were no indications of capacity overload. “For the elevated railway, the balance is very positive for the reasons described,” said a spokesman for the star. The 9-euro tickets sold – so far the Hamburger Verkehrsverbund (HVV) counts 683,000, in addition to the around 680,000 regular subscription tickets – would indicate “enormous” interest. However, it is still too early “to what extent and at what times this will result in greater use of the subway and bus”. “In any case, it is very positive that the 9-euro ticket, the costs and financing of public transport and its key role in achieving the climate goals are being discussed,” was the interim conclusion of the HVV.

Even in the BVG’s Whitsun service in Berlin, passenger demand was “comparable” to other long weekends in summer weather. Only on two classic excursion lines did it fill up briefly on Sunday afternoon – “and only then”, says a spokesman for Stern. On Whit Monday, the one million 9-euro ticket mark was broken, and a total of 1,011,011 tickets (as of June 6th) were sold, of which around 844,000 were for the month of June. “We are delighted with the very large response to the campaign in all sales channels, which shows us that people in Berlin are very interested in environmentally friendly and reliable mobility by bus and train,” said the BVG.

The MVG in Munich notes a ten percent higher occupancy rate due to the 9-euro ticket. “On the Pentecost weekend, we pretty much reached the passenger numbers of the ‘pre-Corona period’,” said a spokesman for the star. There were no overloads in traffic or among the staff. “The ‘chaos’ feared by some did not happen with us.” The MVG expresses the hope that the 9-euro ticket will help “convince even more people of the advantages of public transport, who will also travel with us when the normal fares apply again.”

Deutsche Bahn: It’s rolling

Overall, Deutsche Bahn can look back on “regulated Pentecost traffic”, although the usual seasonal passenger volume was “slightly increased” by the 9-euro ticket and there were “regional capacity utilization peaks”, the company reports with reference to a press release . More than 6.5 million 9-euro tickets have now been sold. “With 86,000 train journeys at DB Regio, everything that can roll rolled over the long weekend,” is quoted as saying Jörg Sandvoß, CEO of DB Regio, who describes the 9-euro ticket as a “great opportunity for the entire industry”. “Of course, as expected, there were occasional peak loads, especially on the main tourist routes,” Sandvoss continued without going into detail. For the expected increase in passenger numbers, DB Regio is rolling out more than 50 additional trains, and during the summer months DB Regio wants to increase staff in trains and stations “especially along tourist routes”.

Interest Groups: Mixed feelings

The Pro Bahn passenger association, which represents the interests of public transport passengers, is critical. “Several hundred trains were overcrowded,” complained the honorary chairman Karl-Peter Naumann in the stern, “could only depart after partial evacuation and cyclists had to stay outside.” Although the number of passengers was generally high at Whitsun and when the weather was good, the passenger association observed that there were “even more” passengers on tourist routes. The increase in long-distance and fast regional express trains between major cities – such as Berlin/Magdeburg or Munich/Nuremberg – was particularly strong. Platforms were too crowded, especially at Hamburg Central Station, and trains could not depart due to overcrowding. In this respect, the first assessment of the passenger association is mixed: “Public transport is back in discussion, the offer is cheap,” praises Naumann, but complains about overcrowding and the resulting unpunctuality.

The Federal Association of German Transport Companies (VDV) draws a rather positive balance. “We expected very full vehicles and platforms for the Pentecost weekend, and that was confirmed,” said association president Ingo Wortmann via press release. The transport companies and the passengers were very well prepared. The companies had mastered the high demand. Nevertheless, many trains were overloaded, especially on tourist routes. “At times, platforms had to be closed at the major railway junctions such as in Cologne, Hamburg or Berlin because of the large crowds,” says the VDV. Evictions or partial evictions of vehicles therefore remained “the absolute exception”. The significantly increased passenger volume over Pentecost makes it clear “that we urgently need the necessary investments in the expansion, modernization and capacity expansion of our offers”.

The railway and transport union (EVG) is again calling for investments in buses and trains. According to a press release, the 9-euro ticket brought the employees to their breaking point, says Vice President Martin Burkert. “The biggest problems at the weekend were, as expected, overcrowded trains, taking bicycles and enforcing the mask requirement.” However, many travelers had shown solidarity with the employees.