The German rail company Deutsche Bahn have cut their long distance fares for the first time in 17 years, in a new effort to make train travel more attractive. The change comes as part of country-wide climate protection measures, launched at the beginning of the year.
As of now, travellers journeying more than 50km (31 miles) on Deutsche Bahn’s Intercity Express trains will have their fares discounted by 10%. The reduction in ticket prices is more than welcome, what with Europe’s rail fares some of the highest in the world on average. With costs lowered, it is hoped that more German nationals, and indeed visitors to the country will make use of long-distance rail, as opposed to less climate-friendly alternatives like driving, or domestic flights. The company will also be lowering fares on special offers and additional services, including the transportation of bicycles, the BahnCard100 railcard and seat reservations.
These ticket price reductions have come as a result of the German government cutting value-added tax on rail travel from 19% to 7%, and Deutsche Bahn consequently passing on that saving to their customers. It is hoped that this drop in rail travel costs will encourage an extra five million people per year to hop aboard the train for their long-distance journeys. The operator’s CEO, Dr Richard Lutz said last month, “we are delighted for our millions of long-distance customers in Germany that we can now offer them even more attractive ticket prices on 1 January in the most climate-friendly means of transport.”
On top of this rail travel incentive, Deutsche Bahn is also planning to invest €12bn into new trains over the next few years. Whether other European rail operators will follow suit remains to be seen, but this is certainly a positive step for German travellers looking for more sustainable solutions.