One travels not to arrive, but to travel – this quote is from Johann Wolfgang von Goethe. So if you want to believe the poet and the thinker, the ticket for 9 euros is already a complete success. Because in the next three months, millions of people will travel all over Germany on trains, buses, trams and the underground.
But if you not only want to travel, but you actually want to come, you can be disappointed – especially when it comes to punctuality. This weekend, we will see for the first time if buses and trains can withstand the millionth nine-euro ticket chase. Then, on the weekend of Pentecost, there will be the first test of endurance, where hundreds of thousands of citizens will go on vacation, thereby taking public transport to the limit.
[Wenn Sie aktuelle Nachrichten aus Berlin, Deutschland und der Welt live auf Ihr Handy haben wollen, empfehlen wir Ihnen unsere App, die Sie hier für Apple- und Android-Geräte herunterladen können.]
The latest figures show what dimensions this can take: Deutsche Bahn has already sold more than 2.7 million tickets for nine euros, not including tickets from regional operators. For example, Berliner Verkehrsbetriebe (BVG) has already sold nearly 500,000 tickets, an average of 40,000 a day.
Federal Transport Minister Volker Wissing (FDP) is confident and explains in an interview with the FAZ that he trusts the expertise of the federal states and does not expect chaos. “Until now, people have always complained that too few people use buses and trains. I am happy when there are more, says Wissing. In addition, Deutsche Bahn’s current workload is only 80 percent compared to pre-krone times, so there is still some scope for this.
“Drops in a bucket”
Deutsche Bahn is similarly optimistic. “We are carrying everything we have and waiting for many passengers to rediscover or rediscover the attractiveness of trains and buses,” explains Tagesspiegel spokesman for Deutsche Bahn. For this purpose, 50 additional trains were used across the country, which would give travelers 250 additional journeys and 60,000 additional seats.
But is 50 additional trains enough for a few million tickets sold? No, says motion designer Johannes Schlaich. “The 50 trains that DB-Regio also wants to offer are more than a drop in the ocean,” says the professor of mobility and transport at the Tagesspiegel University of Applied Sciences Berlin.
The rail network is already congested, especially in holiday and recreational traffic, and the nine-euro ticket is driving further growth. It was similar in 1995 when the inexpensive Schöne-Wochenend-Ticket was introduced, which led to delays.
But the Deutsche Bahn itself cannot be blamed. On the one hand, the federal states are largely responsible, on the other hand, politicians simply decided to get the 9 euro ticket too quickly to be able to react appropriately. “Vehicles cannot be ordered so quickly, and staff cannot be trained that quickly for all tasks. In addition, there is not enough capacity in the entire infrastructure of the rail network, ”says Schlaich.
Nevertheless, he enjoys the 9 euro ticket, as this makes Germany a “real laboratory” for low-cost local public transport. This is the first step towards a faster return to mobility. Rail expert Ullrich Martin from the University of Stuttgart is also convinced that “systematic monitoring can provide valuable information” for the future. However, increased delays cannot be excluded.
When the trains are full, the police arrive
Therefore, one should not give the impression, especially to those who want to be encouraged to switch to public transport, that “a comfortable car should be ‘taken’, and the alternative is being offered unreliable, crowded and untimely public transport,” says the newspaper’s railroad and transport professor. He also warns that possible delays in public transport could also disrupt freight traffic.
However, it is not only the train that counts, but also the travelers themselves can prevent unnecessary delays. This includes, for example, quick entry and exit, as about ten percent of the total travel time is spent on a change of passengers. Additionally, you can plan your own trip to avoid rush hour driving and thus create problems with space and time. Because overloaded trains cannot continue for safety reasons. So if it gets too crowded, individual passengers have to leave the train – in extreme cases even involuntarily with the help of the federal police.