Fewer passengers, shorter waiting times: Deutsche Bahn (DB) was more punctual in Corona year 2020 than it has been in 15 years. A total of 81.8 percent of all ICE and IC / EC trains were on the way according to plan, the railway announced on Sunday in Berlin. That is almost six percentage points more than the previous year with 75.9 percent.
The railway has also caught up in punctuality in regional transport. 95.6 percent of the DB Regio trains reached their stations on schedule. Deutsche Bahn considers a train to be on time if it arrives less than six minutes after the scheduled time. That is what the DB codes in their punctuality values online on.
Shorter stop times, fewer trains
About half of the punctuality plus is due to the restrictions caused by the pandemic. Fewer passengers reduced the stopping times at the stations. At times, slightly fewer trains were in use, including in freight traffic. As a result, the route network was less stressed, especially at the rail nodes. The increased punctuality had been foreseeable since the summer.
According to Deutsche Bahn, the “Strong Rail” strategy program, with which the Group has been working on punctuality since 2019, has also had an impact. With more than 1000 construction sites per day at times, the number of delays due to this work has fallen by five percent. The damage caused by the weather is also continuing to decline. Because more and more new trains are on the move in long-distance traffic, the average age of the fleet and thus the risk of breakdowns is falling.
By 2026, Deutsche Bahn intends to invest around 8.5 billion euros in modernizing its long-distance fleet alone. The company receives a new ICE 4 every three weeks. More than 50 ICE 4s are already in use. In addition, DB Fernverkehr put nine new double-decker IC trains into operation last year. On the other hand, due to the sharp drop in passenger numbers, the railway came under great economic pressure at the beginning of the corona epidemic and needs billions in aid from the federal government.