The railway wants to maintain almost all connections even in the “lockdown light”. The Minister of Transport thinks that’s good, the private competition doesn’t at all.

An ICE operated by Deutsche Bahn (DB) arrives at Munich Central Station.

Dhe Deutsche Bahn wants to maintain its train operations almost without restrictions even during the partial lockdown in the Corona crisis. “We continue to run the full timetable,” said Berthold Huber, the board member for passenger transport, of the German press agency. “The train operations at DB are therefore going according to plan.” With the exception of a few trains, including individual sprinter and amplifier trains, everything should run in long-distance traffic.

In regional transport, on the other hand, the federal states as the responsible party “have so far signaled without exception to maintain the offer at 100 percent if possible,” Huber said.

Federal Transport Minister Andreas Scheuer emphasized that, as with the lockdown in spring, the railway is maintaining its services and ensuring mobility for commuters and business people. Hygiene concepts and mask controls ensure that people are safe on the move. “Deutsche Bahn runs – even in difficult Corona times,” said the CSU politician.

Flixbus does not run in November

This is met with incomprehension among private competitors. “There is no logical reason why Deutsche Bahn should maintain almost the entire range,” said Flixbus managing director André Schwämmlein of “Welt am Sonntag”. For its part, the long-distance bus provider announced that it would completely cease operations in November. “Allowing empty buses or trains to drive through the country would be ecologically and economically insane,” said Schwämmlein.

The Flixbus co-founder criticized the planned state aid for Deutsche Bahn. “If you want to support rail transport, there are much more intelligent and competition-neutral options than simply transferring money to DB.” Politicians have decided not to support rail transport as a whole, but only the Deutsche Bahn company. “And now the Deutsche Bahn is also using the aid to distort competition in a new lockdown situation.”

The federal and state governments decided on Wednesday to ban tourist accommodation from this Monday and to close bars, restaurants and pubs as well as museums and other sights. The background to this is the rapidly increasing number of infections in the corona crisis. During the pandemic-related restrictions in spring, the railway made around three quarters of its trips, and since the summer the trains have been running 100 percent again.

In the past few weeks, Deutsche Bahn had again recorded a decline in the number of passengers. “Since the beginning of October we have been registering increasing uncertainty among our customers in long-distance transport, while the volume of traffic in regional transport has remained stable,” the group announced last week.

Flixbus boss Schwämmlein also expressed concern about the prospects for the bus industry. “Many companies are facing the end. We are very concerned about the industry, ”he said. The bus companies are hardly helped by the state and they are eaten up by the leasing payments for their vehicles. “It’s not about us, we will get through there,” said the Flixbus boss. “It’s about medium-sized companies that were built up over 50 years and are now simply going bankrupt without their being able to do anything about it.”