The travel wave at Whitsun and the nine-euro ticket have led to sometimes overcrowded regional trains and delays. "As expected, there were and are regional peaks in passenger volume, especially to tourist destinations," a Deutsche Bahn spokesman said Monday. He did not name specific routes.
Travelers had reported in particular in the direction of the Baltic and North Sea of partly completely overcrowded trains, from some passengers had to get off again. Bicycles could often not be taken along. "It is still too early for a detailed balance," said the railroad spokesman. Supra-regionally, the operation was stable overall, he said.
For Whit Monday, the railroad again expected a heavier rush because of first return trips. It again recommended passengers to obtain information from the local transport associations or via the DB Navigator shortly before starting their journey.
From the early hours of midday, Deutsche Bahn increasingly said on Twitter: "Due to the exceptionally high volume of passengers, transportation and the taking of bicycles is no longer possible. Please choose another connection." Affected were, for example, the regional express between Berlin and Rostock via Stralsund or the RE1 between Magdeburg and Cottbus via Berlin.
With the nine-euro ticket, passengers have been able to use local transport throughout Germany for a month since last Wednesday. Tickets are being sold for June, July and August. This is intended to support commuters because of the sharp rise in energy costs. For climate protection, the aim is to persuade new users to switch to rail for the long term. According to the Association of German Transport Companies, around seven million of the tickets had been sold by last Tuesday.
The passenger association Pro Bahn sees itself confirmed in its criticism after the first endurance test for the nine-euro ticket on the Whitsun weekend. "In the peak travel periods, demand on the main routes was so strong that trains could not depart. And some rail companies - such as Metronom in northern Germany - have excluded bicycle transport because they could not cope with the rush," Karl-Peter Naumann of the passenger association Pro Bahn told the German Press Agency on Monday.
He said the chaos was predictable and the result of a political offer without having the necessary rail capacity to do so.
"Not everything that is well meant is also well done," Naumann said. What was good about the 9-euro ticket, he said, was that it had brought local public transport back into the conversation. "But it only works if the capacities are there," Naumann stressed.
Whitsun was considered the first acid test for the discount campaign. With the ticket, one can use local transport nationwide for one month at a time; the ticket is available for June, July and August. It is intended to support commuters, for example, and also to help persuade new users to switch to rail in the long term.
Naumann expects further problems in the coming summer months. He advised rail travelers not to travel on weekends if possible, but to switch to days in the middle of the week and to reconsider their destination. "Does it necessarily have to be Sylt, Warnemünde or Lake Tegern - or aren't there other beautiful areas where demand is lower?" said Naumann.
Image by Jan Vasek