D.he Deutsche Bahn is raising prices for long-distance transport slightly. On average, trips would be around 1 percent more expensive, the company said. At the same time, the offer will be expanded by 13,000 seats. The plan is to invest a total of 8.5 billion euros in new and modernized trains by 2026. In contrast to long-distance journeys, the prices for the Bahncard 25 and Bahncard 50 should not increase. From April, however, applicants for a Bahncard for seniors must be at least 65 instead of the previous 60. Tickets at the so-called flex price are on average 1.5 percent more expensive, for route season tickets and the Bahncard 100 the surcharge is 1.9 percent on average.
However, even after the increase, prices would still be below the previous year’s level, Deutsche Bahn explained. This has not only passed on the latest tax cuts. In long-distance rail transport, the tax rate had already been reduced from 19 to 7 percent as part of the climate package at the beginning of the year; due to the value-added tax reduction decided in the Corona economic stimulus program, it is currently five percent.
The passenger association Pro Bahn criticized the announced price increase. This does not really fit in with the time, said honorary chairman Karl-Peter Naumann on Tuesday the AFP news agency. In times of the corona pandemic “you don’t win people by asking for more money”. At the same time, Naumann expressed understanding for the coronavirus crisis. “I can understand that the railways need more money.” The trains of the group are currently only very weakly utilized – in September, according to the company, an average of around 30 percent of the seats were occupied in the ICE and IC trains. According to CEO Richard Lutz, the corona pandemic has “plunged Deutsche Bahn into the worst financial crisis since its existence”. In the first half of the year, the railway posted a net loss of 3.7 billion euros, sales fell by almost twelve percent to 19.4 billion euros.
The head of the Federation of German Consumer Organizations (vzbv), Klaus Müller, criticized the price increase sharply: “On the one hand, the company will receive a five billion cash injection from the taxpayer this year. On the other hand, the trains are getting less and less punctual, there are few Goodwill for customers, the railway fails with digitization. ” He complained that the railway “is now asking the most loyal customers to check out by making flex prices, route tickets and the Bahncard 100 more expensive”.
Some prices will also be increased in regional transport. For around 20 percent of local transport customers, these will increase by an average of 1.5 percent by December 13th. The increase only affects connections outside of transport associations or national tariffs. Occasional drivers will be charged more than regular customers: single tickets will cost 1.9 percent more in future, season tickets 1.4 percent. In addition to DB Regio, the Transdev Group, Abellio, Benex, National Express and Netinera belong to the tariff association.