More complaints about Deutsche Bahn train delays


That was about 50 percent more than in the same period last year (1,653 applications), the facility said at the request of the Handelsblatt. Most complaints concern train delays and cancellations.

The fact that travel plans by train can be characterized by great uncertainty has now also been acknowledged railway boss Richard Lutz in an interview with the Handelsblatt. “The quality and reliability of the railway is currently unacceptable,” he said. “That’s why we reacted and, for example, no longer offer transfer times that are too short in the travel chain.”

However, punctuality has recently remained at a particularly low level. According to Bahn, less than 60 percent of long-distance trains were on time in July for the second time in a row. Only 59.9 percent of the journeys reached their destination at the scheduled time.

As a consequence, politicians in the traffic light coalition are calling for travelers to be automatically compensated in the future. SPDGroup Vice Detlef Müller told the Handelsblatt: “A form-free, unbureaucratic and therefore fastest possible refund makes sense to strengthen passenger rights.”

IW boss Hüther: “I’m particularly annoyed by the trains that have been canceled for weeks”

The Greens traffic expert Stefan Gelbhaar also thinks it is necessary to automate the “reimbursement management” in rail traffic. “Customers should be reimbursed for their ticket or receive compensation without bureaucratic and deterrent requirements,” he told the Handelsblatt. This creates “financial pressure in terms of reliability and punctuality”.

>> Read here: Late trains, poor quality – railway boss Lutz promises: “It will be better in 2023”

The Federation of German Consumer Organizations (VZBV) also sees a need for action because the railways are “chronically” lagging behind in digitization. “It has been possible to apply for compensation online for some time, but if you don’t have or don’t want to have a customer account, you have to send the passenger rights form by post and wait a long time for an answer,” said VZBV mobility expert Marion Jungbluth to the Handelsblatt. However, rail travel should “no longer feel like a journey into the past in a time machine, but must become digital, simple, reliable and fair in the future”.

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The railway explains the problems with the punctuality of the trains with “continued intensive construction activity” in the entire network and the “very high utilization of the trains and the central rail routes”.

The director of the German Economic Institute (IW), Michael Hüther, recently attested to Deutsche Bahn on Twitter that it was “more unreliable than ever” and called the group a restructuring case. Hüther regularly documents his rail experiences in the short message service. “I’m particularly annoyed by the trains that have been canceled for weeks,” he said on Monday.

The economist Achim Truger also recently expressed his criticism. On August 25, the economist wrote on Twitter: “Back on the ICE for the first time in about 5 weeks … And the trouble continues seamlessly: My entire car 23 is blocked because the temperature there is 37.6 degrees .. .” His consequence: “I’ll only tweet to DB again when things are halfway going again…”

Minister of Transport Wissing wants “to be able to set the clock by the train again in the future”

That shouldn’t be the case anytime soon. Hüther explains: “The problem is: After a long period of mismanagement and underfunding, there is no quick solution.” He asked the Deutsche Bahn board of directors to at least do an “overall analysis of the problem”. Because: “Even there, only patchwork is offered.”

>> Read here: That’s why the train in Japan is so punctual

Bahn boss Lutz, however, assures that it will be better in 2023. “Everything we have is rolling at the moment.” Never before have so many trains been in Germany been on the way. In addition, you build more than ever. “Our infrastructure is under maximum load,” explained Lutz. “Nevertheless, punctuality must and will improve significantly next year.” Above all, they want to get the extreme outliers in unpunctuality under control.

The CSU consumer politician Ullrich proposes to increase the pressure on the railways and to broaden the claim for compensation. Specifically, from his point of view, the railways should pay back money much more often in the event of train delays. It should be considered “whether compensation is appropriate for a 30-minute delay,” said the MP.

The consumer advocate Jungbluth also demands this. “The federal government has the opportunity to introduce this lever with the upcoming national implementation of the passenger rights regulation,” she said.
Up to now, a quarter of the fare has been refunded for a delay of one hour or more. From two hours it is half the fare. Passengers can apply for this using a paper form, the Deutsche Bahn website or the DB Navigator app.

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Federal Transport Minister Volker Wissing (FDP) is meanwhile focusing on ensuring more punctuality on the railways with a general renovation of the heavily loaded rail network. When presenting the plans in June, he said: “I expect that in the future we will be able to set the clock by the train again.”

More: Six reasons why Deutsche Bahn is failing on its own.



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