Berlin (dpa/tmn) – Now there is certainty: The German Train Drivers' Union (GDL) is calling on its members to go on strike. Since Wednesday morning, 2.00 o'clock, there will be a 48-hour work stoppage on passenger services. Rail travelers face delays and train cancellations.
In view of the strike, Deutsche Bahn passengers should find out in good time whether their desired connection is available. If not, they should quickly look for another means of transport. Important questions and answers:
When will the strike begin??
The GDL has already called on its members to strike at Deutsche Bahn on Tuesday. Freight traffic is to be increased from 19.00 o'clock strike. In passenger transport, the industrial action is scheduled to last from Wednesday, 2.00 o'clock, until Friday, 2.00 clock continue.
The strike is directed only against Deutsche Bahn, says GDL press spokeswoman Gerda Seibert. Other railroad companies would not be affected. Nevertheless, according to the Schlichtungsstelle für den öffentlichen Personennahverkehr (söp) (local public transport conciliation body), disruptions can also occur with competitors of the Deutsche Bahn, for example when stalled trains block the tracks.
What does this mean for rail traffic?
Train cancellations are unavoidable. According to Deutsche Bahn, the nationwide offer for long-distance traffic is to be reduced to about one quarter. According to the company, particularly high-demand connections, for example between Berlin and the Rhine/Ruhr region, between Hamburg and Frankfurt am Main, as well as connections to important stations and airports, have priority. On selected main axes at least in the two-hourly cycle trains with largest possible seat capacity are to run.
Restrictions will also apply to regional and commuter rail services. According to Deutsche Bahn, the aim is to maintain a basic service for schoolchildren and commuters in metropolitan regions and rural areas, as well as important feeder services to long-distance trains or airports.
Is there an emergency timetable?
The replacement timetable is available to passengers of Deutsche Bahn online in the timetable information as well as in the DB Navigator Appzur available.
Where can travelers find out if their train is cancelled or delayed??
Deutsche Bahn is gradually feeding information about this into the timetable information and the app. In addition, the company plans to deploy hundreds of additional employees to provide information to travelers at train stations. A strike hotline is also available to passengers at 08000-996633.
How do those affected get the money back for their ticket?
Deutsche Bahn is being accommodating during the strike: Long-distance tickets that have already been booked for the strike period will remain valid until 20 September. August their validity. Can be used flexibly. The train obligation for saver fares no longer applies. In addition, trains other than those indicated on the ticket can be used for the onward journey. This also applies to local trains.
Those who do not wish to travel at a later date can have their tickets refunded free of charge by filling out a goodwill form on the DB website or at DB sales outlets.
In principle, however, the passenger rights of the EU Passenger Regulation also apply during the industrial action, explains Beatrix Kaschel from the Local Transport Conciliation Board in Düsseldorf. This means that the railroads will have to pay back at least part of the fare, even in the event of delays.
The amount of compensation depends on the length of the delay. "If passengers arrive at least 60 minutes later than scheduled, they are entitled to a 25 percent refund; if they arrive more than 120 minutes later, they are entitled to a 50 percent refund," says the expert. These claims can be made with the passenger rights form online, on the train, or in a DB office.
How can passengers prove connection problems?
The consumer advice center of North Rhine-Westphalia advises to collect receipts for delays or train cancellations. Ideally, travelers have the disruption certified by DB employees at the station.
Alternatively, those affected can also take photos of display boards or screenshots of information in the DB app or on the railroad company's website showing the delay or cancellation of the train.
What alternatives to rail do travelers have?
– Continue your journey by cab: "On local trains, Deutsche Bahn has already organized cab rides from larger stations in the past and handed out corresponding vouchers," says conciliator Beatrix Kaschel. "If travelers look for a cab on their own, however, there are restrictions – not every cab bill has to be paid by the company afterwards. Only if the planned arrival at the destination between 00.00 and 05.00 at night and travelers would arrive at least 60 minutes later by train, the railroad company must reimburse the cost of a cab ride up to a maximum of 80 euros. The same applies if the last scheduled train of the day is cancelled and passengers cannot reach their destination by midnight in any other way."
– Continue with long-distance trains: "If it becomes apparent that passengers will not reach their destination on local trains until more than 20 minutes late, they can travel on a long-distance train at no extra charge," says Kaschel. However, before passengers board the long-distance train, they must buy a valid ticket. "The additional expense incurred can be reimbursed later by the railroad company. However, this right exists only if the original route is not more than 50 kilometers long or does not take more than one hour. This rule does not apply even if you have a considerably reduced ticket, such as a "Länder-Ticket" or semester ticket."
– Continue with your own car: Costs for travel by private car are not reimbursed by the railroad.
– Switching to rental cars, long-distance buses or planes: Travelers who have not yet booked a Deutsche Bahn ticket can use other means of transport. For example, Flixbus, Eurowings and the Federal Association of Car Rental Companies in Germany are currently noticing an increase in demand, according to their own statements. This tends to make capacities scarcer, and prices rise.
What applies to commuters?
In principle, employees must exhaust all possibilities to be at work on time even during a strike. So when passenger transport problems are foreseeable, employees can't rely on trains, but must look for alternatives. In the event of a delay, employees should inform the employer in good time. In the worst case a warning threatens otherwise.