The rush of passengers since the 9-euro ticket went on sale has not only led to travel chaos, but also revealed numerous defects and problems on the railway.
Shortly after the 9-euro ticket went on sale, the Whitsun weekend showed the enormous chaos that the rush to the regional trains would cause. The onslaught hasn’t stopped. Overcrowded trains, delays and staff shortages are now the order of the day.
Damage caused by heavy use of the 9 euro ticket
The two unions EVG and GDL are extremely concerned about the situation at Deutsche Bahn. “I have never experienced such conditions as this summer,” said the deputy chairman of the railway and transport union (EVG), Martin Burkert, of the “Welt am Sonntag”. “I saw people literally fall off the train on a train from Rostock to Hamburg when the doors opened,” he said.
The passenger rush to local transport since the beginning of June has led to severe wear and tear. “We see damage from the heavy use of the 9-euro ticket very early on: elevators are broken, toilets on trains no longer work, everything is simply put under a lot of strain,” said Burkert. “Many colleagues are already at the breaking point.” Sick leave increased. “We notice: The 9-euro ticket makes you sick.”
Bahn boss: “I suffer like a dog”
The chairman of the train drivers’ union GDL, Claus Weselsky, spoke of chaos this summer that he had never experienced before on the railway. “It’s the absolute worst case scenario,” he told the newspaper. The state of the state-owned company is “catastrophic due to years of ruthless savings”. He pleaded again for clearly separating network and operation, at least within the group.
The state-owned group is having to deal with considerable operational problems – which leads to many delays for passengers. According to company information, in June only 58 percent of long-distance trains reached their destination on time, and 88.5 percent of regional trains. The train tries to transport as many people as possible with additional trains on an overloaded rail network, explained rail boss Richard Lutz at the end of June and said with regard to delays: “Believe me: I suffer like a dog.”
In order to achieve more reliable operation and fewer disruptions to construction sites, the train and Federal Transport Minister Volker Wissing have announced a “general renovation” of the most important routes from 2024. “I expect that in the future we will be able to set the clock by the train again,” said the FDP politician, who declared the network renovation to be a “top priority”.