The utilization of the trains drops to a level after the exit restrictions in spring. Business travelers are currently staying away. A cooperation with the Deutsche Lufthansa should provide a remedy.

The willingness to wear masks on trains has increased.

DAccording to information from the FAZ, the number of long-distance bookings for Deutsche Bahn has fallen by a third since the beginning of October as a result of the increasing corona infections and the travel warning from the federal government. Compared to the pre-Corona period, only half as many people use ICE and IC. “None of this will pass us by without a trace,” said Berthold Huber, the rail passenger transport director, of the FAZ in Berlin.

“Actually, long-distance traffic had recovered quite well from the lockdown in the spring, when only 10 to 15 percent of the passengers were on the trains. By September there were around 75 percent of bookings compared to pre-Corona times. Due to the worsening of the situation since the beginning of October and the appeal of the federal government not to travel if possible, we have now very quickly fallen back to 50 percent.

In terms of occupancy, this means that on average only a third of the seats on long-distance trains are occupied. The reservation system now shows when all window seats are booked out. “Our losses in passenger traffic, in other words in long-distance and local traffic, amount to billions,” said Huber.

Deutsche Bahn wants to work even more closely with Lufthansa

In order to better cushion the particularly sharp decline in business trips, Deutsche Bahn is examining closer cooperation with Lufthansa. “Especially in these difficult times, many passengers could switch to the train,” said Huber. “That’s why we’re looking at how we can network flights and trains even better – especially at the Frankfurt hub.”

Currently, the train runs 90 to 95 percent of the long-distance trains in the timetable from pre-Corona times. Huber said: “We don’t want to reduce that too quickly either. During the pandemic, customers should have the chance to spread out on the trains. With a capacity utilization of 35 percent, the probability is very high that the neighboring space will remain free. ”The mask discipline has increased in the last few weeks. There is also “no evidence of a particular risk of infection on trains”.