Continue with the ICE if the regional train has accumulated too much delay? This is possible under certain conditions. But you have to advance the money for this - we explain the details.
Just because the ticket costs very little money at 9 euros does not mean that you have to forego your passenger rights in the event of delays in regional transport.
If delays or train cancellations on the planned route mean that you are likely to arrive at your destination at least 20 minutes later than planned, you can also switch to long-distance trains, according to Stiftung Warentest. The same applies if you cannot board an overcrowded regional train and therefore accumulate the delay mentioned.
Please note: Before boarding, you should buy a ticket for the ICE, IC or EC that you want to use. You have to get the travel costs back afterwards.
But wait a minute, you may ask, is it all so easy?
Legally, the answer is clear: the so-called transfer right also applies to 9-euro ticket holders. In practice, however, getting the money back for the long-distance ticket involves some effort.
It is a good idea to take a selfie photo of yourself on the platform with the delay displayed in the background as proof. If necessary, you can have a delay certificate issued by the conductor at the station or on the train.
Finally, it is necessary to request reimbursement via the Deutsche Bahn. This can be done directly online if you have a customer account and the ticket was purchased through this account. Or by post: You can get the form from the travel center at the train station or download it online.
Good to know: Instead of sending it as a letter, you can return the completed form with receipts to a Deutsche Bahn travel center.
But how do you prove that you wanted to reach a specific destination station at a specific time with the 9-euro ticket - after all, the ticket is not linked to a specific route?
"Bahncard 100 holders also have this problem," says Michael Sittig from Stiftung Warentest. Ultimately, it works like this: you enter the details of your itinerary in the form and attach documents such as the photo taken on the platform. A tip from Deutsche Bahn for users of the "DB Navigator" app: Take a screenshot of the delay that is displayed in the app and send it along.
Once the form has been sent, Deutsche Bahn checks the information for plausibility. If everything fits, there is a refund.
Sittig does not expect that the right to transfer will be misused. The fact that you first have to advance the cost of the long-distance ticket deters scammers, he believes. "It's not fun to fill out the form either." In addition, you sometimes have to be patient for a few weeks until the money is in the account.
It remains to be clarified what happens if the long-distance train that you wanted to take instead is full and you can no longer travel there either: the right to transfer can fail in such practical circumstances. "When the ICE is full, it's full," says Sittig. Then you have to wait for the next train that will take you to your destination. Be it a regional train or a long-distance train.
What if you can't get any further?
In exceptional cases, it can happen that travelers get stranded somewhere and can't get on at all due to delays, overcrowded or canceled trains. In such a case, you should first look for railway staff at the station - at best you can then describe the situation and you will be handed a hotel voucher straight away.
Otherwise, the only thing left to do is to provide the receipts again (confirmation from the conductor; selfie photo on the platform with an advertisement in the background) and then book a hotel on your own.
The following applies here: middle class, no luxury. The law speaks of "appropriate equipment," says Michael Sittig. If you book the local five-star hotel despite other alternatives, you may have to bear the costs. Original bills for the hotel and, if applicable, for the taxi ride there must be kept for reimbursement. Here, too, the costs are advanced and then you have to try to get the money back using the passenger rights form.
And what about ticket refunds?
What you don't have with the 9-euro ticket are the usual claims for compensation in the event of delays. Since a maximum of 25 percent of the ticket value is reimbursed for season tickets, which include the inexpensive special ticket (equivalent to 2.25 euros), there is no compensation here. The train only pays out from 4 euros.
(This article was first published on Sunday, June 05, 2022.)