Economy & Politics

Customers are slowly returning to the railroad

Although the rush is still below average, more people are now traveling by train. Photo: dpa / Peter Steffen

Hundreds of thousands also rose over Pentecost in ICE and Intercity. Gradually, customers return to the railroad. The distance does not always work.

Berlin – After the deep slump in the Corona crisis, more people are traveling by train again. “We are seeing a gradual recovery in passenger numbers,” long-distance traffic chief Michael Peterson said on Tuesday. On the long Pentecost weekend, 750,000 ICE and Intercity passengers rose, about half as many as a year ago. There had also been around 750,000 passengers on the Ascension Weekend.

At the peak of the Corona restrictions, passenger numbers had dropped by around 90 percent. Because the rush is still below average, delays are comparatively rare. 86.3 percent of all long-distance trains were on time in May – that is, they arrived less than six minutes after the timetable. The rate was 6.5 percentage points better than in May 2019.

The app and website show strong demand at an early stage

So that passengers could keep their distance, the train app and website at Pentecost indicated that trains were in high demand when half of the seats were booked. This helps make travel by train predictable, Peterson said. “Anyone who could make their trip flexible had the opportunity to switch to less demanded connections in good time.”

“On the whole, it works,” said the chairman of the Pro Bahn passenger association, Detlef Neuss. On main routes, the distance at Pentecost was nevertheless only partially successful. The utilization indicator does not show if additional passengers with tickets without a train connection board.

“We can not really keep that distance,” summed up Neuss. Often it was enough to go a few cars to find more free spaces. He also advised passengers to get on at the beginning or end of the train and check beforehand in the train app which wagon had the fewest seats reserved.

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