Services on RB Line 26 between Cologne, Bonn, Koblenz, Bingen and Mainz are currently operated by Transdev subsidiary Transregio Deutsche Regionalbahn.

The tender calls for an increase in service levels from 3 million train-km/year to 3.2 million train-km/year. The new operator must also increase the level of comfort for passengers, including providing free Wi-Fi. Services must be provided with a new fleet or a modernised and refurbished second-hand fleet.

The new operator will also have to continue operating three trains in multiple, continuing an agreement signed in May 2019.

The tender process will comprise two stages, including a qualification period followed by a negotiation process with selected participants. Operators will be invited to submit proposals to improve the economic efficiency and the timetable offer.

The contract can be extended by a year up to three times, and then by a further six months. The authorities will retain responsibility for revenues and income. The winning bidder must offer existing employees a contract in line with their existing contracts.

The contract is due to be awarded in spring 2021.