Regional rail ridership grew by 2.4% to 2.692 billion journeys during 2017, slightly ahead of the long-distance sector, which saw passenger numbers increase 2.3% to 142 million journeys.

In terms of distance travelled, long-distance rail saw a 2.6% increase to 40.427 billion passenger-km while regional trains (including S-Bahn systems in major cities but not trams and U-Bahn networks) grew by 1% to 54.811 billion passenger-km.

Long-distance bus ridership fell 0.8% to 22.8 million, but a larger decline in passenger-km, which dipped 3.6% to 6.656 billion, suggests passengers switching from buses may account for part of the increase in long-distance rail.

DB Long Distance, the principal German inter-city train operator, marketed a range of promotional fares during 2017 and introduced new trains on some routes. The largest German long-distance bus operator Flixbus also entered the long-distance rail sector last year, taking over the former

Locomore Berlin - Stuttgart open-access service in cooperation with Leo Express. While the impact of this on the 2017 figures will be at best marginal, Flixbus has subsequently launched its FlixTrain brand, taking over the former HKX route between Cologne and Hamburg last month.

Usage of tram and U-Bahn systems increased 1.8% to 4.045 billion journeys and 17.207 billion passenger-km (+1.2%) last year.