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Deutsche Bahn: “Die Überfüllung ist zum Teil ein Stück Mangelverwaltung”

Die Züge der Deutschen Bahn werden immer ausgelasteter  ©Thomas LohnesGetty Images
Die Züge der Deutschen Bahn werden immer ausgelasteter ©Thomas LohnesGetty Images

[AD_1]Velvet suitcases crouching in the corridor or Rumlungern in the Bordbistro: Who at peak times without reservation in the ICE board, must be capable of suffering sometimes. Because more and more people travel by train, but the train service has not grown so far with the same extent. This means: The utilization of long-distance trains is increasing steadily.

While Intercity and ICE were not nearly half full in 2008 at 44.2 percent, the rate rose to 56.1 percent by 2018. This was announced by the federal rail commissioner Enak Ferlemann, the FDP in the Bundestag. Does the railway need a reservation as in the French high-speed train TGV?  

“That would have solved one problem, but I would get another: The flexibility would be gone,” Karl-Peter Naumann points to concerns, the honorary chairman of the passenger association Pro Bahn. “Sometimes you prefer to spend an hour on the train, if you arrive at the destination several hours earlier.” 

A reservation obligation would be a major limitation for such customers, says Naumann. The railway has repeatedly rejected a mandatory reservation.

Naumann says: “The mixed system of control and non-control at the Deutsche Bahn is actually quite reasonable.” Because the company is already trying in several places to direct customer flows. For example, when booking online you can see how full the train is going to be on a multi-level symbol of three figures – the system recommends a reservation as early as level two out of four. 

The utilization forecasts had been improved, for example, with regard to holidays, holidays, fairs and disruptions in aviation, as Ferlemann announced. 

One of a thousand long-distance trains will be evacuated

Savings prices have long been particularly favorable when few travelers are expected – not exactly on Friday or Sunday afternoon. If the train is fully booked, there are no more savings tickets. But customers with a Flexpreis ticket can still get on board – and a train can be overcrowded.

But it is rarely cleared up. In normal months, the 2018 was about one in a thousand long-distance trains, as figures from the railway show. During the record heat in the summer of 2018, the monthly rate rose to 0.7 percent. 

For three years now, Deutsche Bahn has also been operating on selected routes with the “differentiated flex price”, which makes tickets for high-demand days a bit more expensive and a bit less expensive if only a few customers book.

“The overcrowding is partly a piece of shortage management”

Die Schwankungen können nach Naumanns Beobachtung bei plus/minus 15 Prozent liegen. Der Fahrgastvertreter verlangt, dass die Bahn diese Steuerungsmechanismen schon vor dem Buchungsvorgang transparenter macht, etwa mit einer einfachen Tabelle. Zudem brauche die Bahn mehr Züge. “Die Überfüllung ist zum Teil ein Stück Mangelverwaltung.”

Denn die Zahl der Fahrgäste im Fernverkehr war im vergangenen Jahr auf 148 Millionen gestiegen, in diesem Jahr werden es voraussichtlich mehr als 150 Millionen sein – rund ein Fünftel mehr als vor zehn Jahren. Weitere fünf Millionen zusätzlich erwartet die Bahn nächstes Jahr allein, weil dann die Mehrwertsteuer auf Fernzugtickets sinkt.

“Überfüllte Züge zu Stoßzeiten, Verspätungen und komplizierte Erstattungsregelungen sind keine Werbung für eine leistungsfähige und serviceorientierte Bahn”, kritisierte Torsten Herbst, FDP-Obmann im Verkehrsausschuss. Der Handlungsdruck auf das Management wachse. “Wir brauchen eine Deutsche Bahn, die ihre Fahrgäste mit attraktiven Angeboten und leidenschaftlicher Kundenorientierung begeistert.”

In fact, the Group is increasing its supply: By 2025, the ICE4 fleet is expected to grow from 39 to 137 trains. 23 ECx are ordered by the Spanish manufacturer Talgo for international traffic, while 17 additional double-deck intercity trains are being taken over by the Austrian Westbahn. And two weeks ago, the Supervisory Board approved the purchase of another 30 high-speed trains. But it will take years until all trains are delivered. The standing room in the long-distance train will not disappear overnight.


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