Fed up with local transport for nine euros: what is supposed to be advertising for public transport threatens to become the reason for emergency plans. Too many travelers could alert the federal police. The union EVG sees the Pentecost weekend as the first stress test.
The railway and transport union (EVG) warns of overcrowded trains and possible evacuation of trains, platforms or entire stations at Pentecost: "The Pentecost weekend will be a real stress test for the railways," said EVG Vice Martin Burkert of the "Rheinische Post". Excursion traffic in particular could push the rail system to its limits. From Wednesday, the nine-euro ticket will be valid throughout Germany.
There are emergency plans for the train stations - "if there are too many people on a platform, it will be cleared by the federal police so that trains can enter safely," Burkert said. "If an entire station is threatened with overcrowding, it will be closed. And if trains are too full, they have to be evacuated."
The union representative said that in the past few days alone, ICE trains had been cleared twice in Nuremberg and Frankfurt because they were too heavy. This is also possible with local trains. "If the total weight, including far too many passengers, is too high, the train cannot move. Safety always has priority."
Burkert is concerned about disabled passengers with wheelchairs and cyclists. "Rural mobility aids may not be available to the extent needed to assist wheelchair users."
In addition, it is becoming more difficult for disabled people to get in and then to find an adequate place. "I can only appeal to all fellow passengers to be considerate - to each other and especially to the weaker ones."
When it comes to cyclists, Burkert fears that entire groups will be stranded. "We only have limited capacity for bicycles or e-bikes. You can't completely rule out the possibility that a group will get to their destination by train but not be allowed to board with their bicycles and e-bikes on the return trip. That would of course be great unfortunate," he said.
The nine-euro ticket is valid throughout the month for any number of journeys on local and regional trains, buses, trams and subways. Long-distance trains and long-distance buses cannot be used with the ticket, and the transport of bicycles is not included in the offer.
(This article was first published on Friday, May 27, 2022.)