The D-Ticket has been a success...for now, Source: Depositphotos

Deutschlandticket proves popular despite constant strikes in Germany

Deutschlandticket proves popular despite constant strikes in Germany

The pioneering monthly pass has boosted ridership by 16 percent

Train travel in Germany has gradually become a nightmarish proposition due to the regularly occurring strikes in recent months. And during those periods when railway employees aren’t boycotting their work, the threat of a strike still looms large in the air.

Given all this, you would think that people have turned away in droves from the idea of using trains for their mobility needs, yet according to Deutsche Bahn (DB) ridership numbers have actually increased by 16 percent since last year. The reason for this unusual phenomenon is clear – the Deutschlandticket, also known as the 49-euro pass, the innovative publicly-subsidized programme that grants regular commuters the chance to use all local and regional transport networks in their area with one fixed-price monthly pass.

Apparently, around 60 percent of passengers using Deutsche Bahn public transport or regional services are Deutschlandticket holders. Strikes or no strikes, these commuters have been seduced by the attractively priced public transit access and that was, indeed, the aim of the federal and state authorities when following lengthy negotiations, they decided to maintain the price till the end of the year.

The good results, however, may be dimmed by the climate of chronic uncertainty that has enveloped the German national railway operator. As of today, 6 March, once again the German Train Drivers’ Union (GDL) has announced that it will begin

A new wave of nationwide strikes

This fresh round in the ongoing industrial dispute saga between the workers and the railway operator regarding demands for a pay increase will last for 35 hours. It will affect long-distance services, regional trains and S-Bahn traffic in all German states.

That appears to be only a single episode and a harbinger of a series of strikes to come in the following weeks.

What’s more, the union will no longer adhere to the rule of announcing the strikes at least 48 hours before they are scheduled to begin, meaning that Deutsche Bahn will have to be ready to launch emergency timetables at much shorter notice, and passengers should be ready to make alternative arrangements. 

Given these circumstances, one may wonder if Germany’s much-touted Verkehrswende (transportation green transition), of which the Deutschlandticket forms a key element, will have to wait for a more glorious and distant future.



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