Düsseldorf / Bonn Regional trains are running according to a special timetable and Bonn transportation authorities use more buses to reach the Bonn University Hospitals, aiming for flexibility. The Saturday timetable will remain in effect in Bonn.
The State Ministry of Transport has announced that train traffic will be massively reduced. Bonn and the region will also be severely affected by this. Across the state, only about half of all trips will be made by regional trains (RB), regional express (RE) and suburban trains. Nahverkehr Rheinland (NVR) announced that in its area of service, the reductions would be even higher.
A special timetable published on the internet at www.mobil.nrw/corona/ shows that Regional Line 5 between Emmerich and Koblenz continues to operate without any limitations. In contrast, the RB 48 from Wuppertal to Bonn between Cologne and Bonn is cancelled. Passengers could change to RB 26 or RE 5 on this stretch. On the right bank of the Rhine, the RE 8 between Mönchengladbach and Koblenz, which runs via the Beuel train station, will be cancelled from Saturday. Commuters can alternatively change to the RB 27. The special timetable shows that the S 23 (Voreifelbahn) will only run every hour starting Saturday.
The changeover is scheduled to begin this Saturday. NVR spokesman Holger Klein said it is thought that the streamlined timetable will gradually come into effect during the course of the week and will remain valid until 19 April. NRW Transportation Minister Hendrik Wüst said: "With the special timetable, we are ensuring a stable basic service." He justified the constraints on the grounds that the railway companies were also affected by the pandemic. There was "a high number of cases of illness and quarantine among train drivers and signal tower staff”.
Meanwhile, Bonn's Stadtwerke (SWB), which runs the city public transport, has tripled the number of buses on the route between Bonn central bus station and the university hospital. "Already before five o'clock in the morning, additional buses were again made available, dispatched ad hoc by service personnel on site. We do the same in the afternoon at hospital shift changeover time," explained SWB Communications Manager Jürgen Winterwerp. After the changeover to the Saturday timetable due to the lower number of passengers, there had been criticism because the buses on the Venusberg (which serve the Bonn University Hospitals) were far too full at peak times.
Winterwerp went on to say: "A noticeably and enormously flexible timetable, bolstered with extra trips at critical points - such as hospitals - makes a lot of sense". The approach is coordinated with the city. Lord Mayor Ashok Sridharan had suggested to manager Anja Wenmakers that the SWB should return to the normal timetable so that passengers would not face crowds on board. From the point of view of Gabi Mayer (SPD) and Rolf Beu (Greens), both members of the supervisory board of SWB Bus und Bahn, such a step would not make sense. What is needed now is flexibility where necessary - and a service that the transport companies can maintain as long as possible.
(Orig. text: Philipp Königs / Translation: Carol Kloeppel)