September 28, 2017

German rail passenger numbers rise as long-distance bus growth stalls

Written by  Keith Fender
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German rail passenger numbers rise as long-distance bus growth stalls Keith Fender

PASSENGER numbers on Germany’s rail network continued to rise in the first half of this year as the meteoric growth in ridership on long-distance bus services came to an end, according to figures published by the federal statistics agency Destatis on September 21.

The data shows overall public transport usage grew by 1.1% compared with the first six months of 2016, with 5.8 billion passenger journeys between January and June. Total passenger-km travelled increased 1.8% year-on-year to 76.8 billion.

In line with trends in recent years, the regional and suburban (S-Bahn) sector saw the strongest growth, carrying 1.35 billion passengers (+3.4%) travelling 27.5 billion passenger-km (+3%). Urban rail (tram and U-Bahn) networks carried 2.05 billion passengers, a 2% increase compared with the first half of 2016.

Urban and regional buses funded by transport authorities and local government saw a small decline in use (-0.3%) but with 2.71 billion passenger journeys remain the biggest single segment measured by passenger numbers.

Inter-city rail journey figures confirm the revival of DB Long Distance passenger numbers with 68 million passengers (+2.4%) travelling 19.4 billion passenger-km. Most of these passengers used DB services as open access operators HKX and Locomore plus international operator Thalys represent a small part of this total.

The development of long-distance bus passenger numbers appears to have plateaued after three years of rapid growth following deregulation in 2013. Passenger numbers fell 0.5% in the first half to 11 million, although distance travelled increased by 2.9% to 3.2 billion passenger-km.

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