Millions of people across Germany were affected by a strike by German Train Drivers' Union GDL on Wednesday and Thursday. Commuters who normally use DB's public transport services had to switch to cars and holidaymakers had to use different long-distance trains when their connections were cancelled due to the industrial action. Some 4.6 million people use DB's local and long-distance trains on a normal day.
The company put a replacement timetable into action to ensure that travellers and commuters could count on a rail service that may have been significantly reduced, but which was, nevertheless, stable and reliable during the strike. On Wednesday, some 200 trains carried about 100,000 people on Germany's key rail corridors, and the number of replacement trains went up by 10% on Thursday, providing another 15,000 seats.
Local rail services ran at about 40% of normal levels on both days of the strike, but there were substantial differences between the country's different regions.
Most local and long-distance travellers reacted calmly to the exceptional situation and showed considerable understanding. This response took a lot of pressure off DB's customer service staff, something for which the company is very grateful.
DB quickly set up a hotline that was staffed by 450 agents at peak times. The hotline received some 30,000 calls in total.
The company's goodwill arrangements will remain in place for some time. Travellers with bookings on long-distance services for 11–13 August can use these tickets until 20 August if their original connections were affected by the strike. Sparpreis and Super Sparpreis saver fare tickets purchased will not be restricted to specific trains. In addition, travellers can apply to have their tickets refunded free of charge. Further information is available at www.bahn.com/en/booking-information/streik. In addition, DB's general passenger rights guidelines regarding delays and train cancellations apply.