Berlin The coronavirus crisis is also paralysing public life. Fewer and fewer people are travelling by bus and train. Deutsche Bahn is now reacting to the falling demand. Ticket controls are to be dropped.
Deutsche Bahn is expected to reduce its regional services in the next few days. This is the company’s reaction to the low number of passengers as a result of the coronavirus crisis, a spokeswoman said on Sunday.
The number of trains will gradually be adjusted to the decreasing demand. The “Spiegel” had reported on this already.
The Railway company explained that they have not reduced the service of its own accord. The company had been approached by individual representative bodies to deal with possible restrictions to demand. “In the end, the decision about the altered services will be made by the contractors”, a spokesperson added, which in terms of regional rail transport, are the federal states or transport associations.
This initially left it unclear where trains might be cancelled and to what extent. Deutsche Bahn stated that the goal of the responsible authorities and the railway operators was “to ensure a stable supply of reliable services and to maintain mobility in Germany”.
Until further notice, train conductors will no longer check tickets on regional trains. This is to protect passengers and employees, said the railroad spokeswoman. The conductors, however, will continue to ride on the trains.
Due to the extraordinary situation, the railway is also extending the possibilities for customers to postpone or cancel their trip. “The goodwill arrangements will apply for the coming weeks, so it is not necessary to contact us immediately,” the company emphasised. Submissions for refunds can also be made after the booked day of travel.
For all tickets purchased until 13 March with travel dates between 13 March and 30 April, passengers can postpone their journey and use the ticket flexibly for the booked route until 30 June. For discounted saver fares and super-saver fares, the requirement to travel on a specific train will be lifted.
According to the railway, it is also possible to convert tickets into travel vouchers: Tickets purchased by 13 March for travel up to 30 April can therefore be converted into a travel voucher free of charge. This also applies to saver fares and super-saver fares. Applications for the conversion of tickets into a travel voucher can also be sent after the booked travel day.
(Original text; dpa, translation John Chandler)