A few days before the start of the nine-euro ticket, Deutsche Bahn is pushing ahead with bad news. The railway is already not prepared for the high number of passengers. Customers must expect delays and cancellations.
Deutsche Bahn sees itself overwhelmed by the rapid increase in passenger and freight numbers and is preparing its customers for delays and cancellations. The increasing demand meets a backlog in the necessary investments in the network, warned rail boss Richard Lutz in Berlin. "We have a dilemma that can hardly be resolved in the short term: to grow and modernize at the same time." The operating situation is critical, the delays are increasing. "Never before have there been as many construction sites on the German route network as there are today."
However, the need for modernization will continue to increase in the coming years. "It needs a fundamental, a radical change of direction. 'Keep it up' is definitely not an alternative." The punctuality target of 80 percent in long-distance traffic will be missed and "significantly away from it". The passengers and freight would come back faster than expected after the Corona lull. This applies to an outdated infrastructure that cannot really be renovated with the current construction site management and the necessary expansion of capacity cannot be achieved.
Because of the funds for the network recently increased significantly by the federal government, money is not the problem. From 2024, the heavily used routes are to undergo a general renovation and then be closed for a longer period of time. This restructuring will be painful for customers. There will be major diversions. However, the key industries should continue to be supplied with priority in freight transport.
The advance warning from the train comes a few days before the start of the nine-euro ticket. Starting next Wednesday, it will be possible to use local public transport throughout Germany for a quarter of a year for nine euros per month. Critics fear that the trains will be overcrowded, especially on tourist routes. Among other things, they refer to the experiences with the introduction of the Schönes-Wochenende-Ticket in 1995, when there were chaotic conditions on the railways.