DThe two trade unions EVG and GDL are extremely concerned about the situation of Deutsche Bahn. “I have never experienced such conditions as this summer,” said the deputy chairman of the railway and transport union (EVG), Martin Burkert, 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 rush of passengers on 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.”
“This is the absolute worst case scenario”
The chairman of the train drivers’ union GDL, Claus Weselsky, spoke of a chaos this summer that he had never experienced on the railways. “This is the absolute worst case scenario,” he told the newspaper. The state of the state-owned company was “catastrophic due to years of broken savings”. He again advocated clearly separating network and operations, at least within the group.
The state-owned group is having to deal with significant operational problems – which leads to many delays for passengers. According to the company, only 58 percent of long-distance trains reached their destination on time in June, and 88.5 percent of regional trains. The railways are trying to transport as many people as possible with additional trains on an overloaded rail network, railway boss Richard Lutz explained 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, Deutsche Bahn 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”.
Meanwhile, the Ministry of Transport has reacted cautiously to an industry proposal to introduce a permanent €69 ticket to replace the €9 ticket. A spokesman for department head Volker Wissing said on Friday that there was an agreed procedure, according to which the results of a federal and state working group on the future and financing of local public transport should be available in autumn.
The Association of German Transport Companies (VDV) initially spoke out in the FAZ for a permanent 69-euro ticket that should be valid nationwide for public transport. The 9-euro ticket expires at the end of August. “Based on the premise that the public transport tariffs of the transport associations will continue to be attractive for the majority of passengers, we propose a nationwide public transport system for those who have proven to be a relevant target group in market research – drivers who are willing to pay -Klimaticket for 69 euros per month as a single travel authorization in 2nd class,” said VDV General Manager Oliver Wolff.