At the start of the 9-euro ticket, the rush on buses and trains was initially limited. But the actual test of public transport is yet to come. Is chaos looming?
After the start of the 9-euro ticket, local public transport is facing its first test this Pentecost weekend.
Nobody knows how big the rush on buses and regional trains will actually be. But it would have been full even without the special tickets. What can travelers expect at Pentecost? An overview.
As of this Wednesday, holders of a 9-euro ticket can use it to travel throughout Germany on public transport. The ticket can be purchased for the months of June, July and August and is valid from the beginning of the month to the end of the month. The ticket is still available online and from all counters and ticket machines.
How many additional passengers will get on buses and trains over Pentecost due to the 9-euro ticket is still completely open. “At Pentecost, the trains are already well filled,” said a spokesman for Deutsche Bahn on Wednesday. In addition, the number of passengers on the railways has recently increased significantly again, even without special tickets. Over Easter, the group even counted more travelers on the trains than Easter 2019 – before the crisis. So it should definitely be full, especially on tourist routes.
Many transport companies have already announced that it will not always be possible to take bicycles everywhere. In Schleswig-Holstein, for example, the transport association Nah.SH expects fuller trains on the Marschbahn route from Hamburg to Sylt on the Pentecost weekend. An excessive number of travelers are also expected to go to the other popular destinations on the North Sea and Baltic Sea coasts. It is advised to travel at off-peak times or less frequented locations.
The railway subsidiary DB Regio Bayern also warned of “an additional increase in capacity utilization” in regional trains to tourist locations such as Kochel am See, Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Oberstdorf and Lindau on Lake Constance. In express trains such as from Munich to Nuremberg or from Würzburg to Bamberg, it can also get full because of the 9-euro ticket.
The construction sites
Things are getting tight not only in the trains, but also on the tracks. Numerous construction sites slow down traffic over Pentecost. At Deutsche Bahn, construction activity over the long weekend is concentrated primarily in the north, west and south-west. Construction is also going on on the routes between Hamburg and Hanover, as well as between Frankfurt and Mannheim, Dortmund and Düsseldorf or in the central Rheinthal. The construction work led, among other things, “to longer travel times, train and stop failures or additional changes,” it said.
Added to this are the construction measures of the individual groups. In Berlin and Brandenburg alone, according to the responsible transport association VBB, more than half a dozen regional train and express lines are affected by construction restrictions this Pentecost weekend. In the individual regions, it is worth taking a look at the respective website of the transport association to find out more.
The transport companies are expanding their capacities as far as possible. “Everything that can roll will roll with us,” said a railway spokesman on Wednesday. The group has announced that it will, among other things, run 50 additional trains over the entire period of validity of the ticket, which would make 250 additional journeys possible every day. The trains are to be used primarily on routes that are in high demand for tourism.
Deutsche Bahn also announced that travelers can also use the 9-euro ticket for intercity journeys from Stuttgart to Singen in the Lake Constance region. The so-called Murgtäler Freizeitexpress, which travels from the Rhine-Neckar region to the Black Forest, will not only be on the road on Sundays and public holidays, but also on Saturdays.
Other transport associations and companies are taking similar measures. Additional vehicles are to be used in both Berlin and Munich, for example in the underground and suburban trains. It remains to be seen whether all this will be enough. The capacities are limited both in terms of infrastructure and vehicles.