Are you going on holiday by train? With the advent of cheap public transport ticket sales, this is becoming cheaper than ever. But it also requires planning. Here are answers to important questions about the 9 euro trip.
Travel to your vacation destination for 9 euros: The special ticket for public transport can of course be used for travel, especially because the ticket period from June 1 to August 31 falls exactly during the summer vacation period. And so it should be a very tempting prospect for some: traveling by Regio instead of by car or ICE. Only: Traveling to a vacation destination, which is almost unbeatable in price, can have its pitfalls. We explain what travelers should be careful about.
What is important when planning a trip?
Finding clean peripherals is easy. In the Deutsche Bahn booking portal, reiseauskunft.bahn.de, or in the “DB Navigator” application, select the “Local transfers only” box in the admin box. Only the links that can be used with the 9 euro ticket are displayed – then it also appears as the first booking option. This applies to travel from June.
Depending on the route, there are sometimes more or less paths leading to the destination. Some tips on how to choose the right one:
Plan transfer times realistically: Of course, the best thing to do is to go on vacation immediately. For example, if you want to travel from Berlin to Warnemünde on the Baltic Sea, you can take the RE 5 to Rostock. The S-Bahn from the city to the seaside resort is no longer an obstacle. But if you want to travel from the Bayrischer Hof to Warnemünde, for example, you have to change trains twice to Rostock.
The more changes, the greater the risk, you could tell – especially if there is little time to change trains. Especially on routes that are widely used by tourists, trains can be very crowded during peak hours and delays can accumulate quickly because it takes longer to get on and off at individual stops. Which means that the train that connects may have already left. When planning your trip, you should keep this in mind and, if in doubt, opt for trips with slightly longer transfer times. Or at least make sure you can still get there by the following trains if you have to miss a train.
Suggestion: Transfer times can be adjusted on the train booking page on the Stopovers tab. If you do not feel anxious and prefer to always have some temporary storage time, you can for example set “at least 30 minutes”. Connections with shorter transfer times do not even appear in the selection.
Pay attention to the tourist routes during the peak hours: Especially on shore routes or in local recreation areas, day trippers will go crazy on the weekends.
To follow Berlin’s example: Regional trains to the Baltic Sea sometimes crash, especially in the morning. If you want to get on such a train with your suitcases, you might as well look down the drain. “On the main tourist routes, trains can be so crowded that you can not get on,” says Karl-Peter Naumann of the Pro Bahn Passenger Association.
If you want to be on the safe side, it is best to avoid these routes at peak times, such as Saturday mornings. This is especially true for people who want to take their bike with them on vacation.
What is the problem with bicycles?
By bike, long distances by regional trains through various junctions are not without pitfalls. For various reasons: You may not be able to climb at all. Deutsche Bahn never tires of stressing that cycling is not always guaranteed. In particular, he advises: Avoid cycling on public holidays.
Tip: In the travel information provided by Deutsche Bahn on the web and through the app, you can select the “Show links to available bicycle parking” option. Only trains on which you can take the bike are displayed.
Taking a bicycle with you is not included in the 9 euro ticket. In some associations, bicycles can be taken for free at certain times, but often cost extra. In North Rhine-Westphalia, for example, 4.80 euros per day. And if your subscription involves taking your bike with you, this may no longer be the case when you move to the next carrier. You should check it in advance.
An option for cyclists who drive on multiple networks and do not want to get caught up in the hustle and bustle of individual fares: the Bahn daily bike pass. It is valid throughout the network and costs 6 euros for one day.
Are there any indications of completeness for regional trains?
Many of the pitfalls already described could have been avoided if one had known how crowded the regional trains would be. But while signs of congestion are common in long-distance traffic, they are only a few times in regional traffic, says railroad expert Naumann.
But if the train is expected to be very crowded, travelers often find out in advance. According to Deutsche Bahn on request, in regional transport for the majority of trains, a high utilization of more than 80 percent is just expected. Therefore, the information can be called both through the travel information in the web browser and in the Navigator application as well as in the “DB route agent” application.
But how does the railway calculate the supposed capacity utilization of the regional railways? Therefore, data previously recorded by passenger counting systems serve as an information base, which is combined with an assessment of the current situation to form a forecast.
What about children?
Children up to the age of 6 generally travel for free by train. After that they need their own 9 euro ticket. In many clubs, customers can take children up to 14 years old or other adults with them for free at certain times with their subscription card – the advantage remains during the three months during which the subscription costs only 9 euros. But only in your own union.
That’s why the NRW Consumer Advice Center advises: Anyone traveling to multiple federal states should check to see if all travelers aged 6 and over must have their own € 9 ticket.
And the dog?
Each club regulates this a little differently. In general, according to Deutsche Bahn, size matters. If the dog is larger than a domestic cat, it needs an extra ticket on many regional trains. You can not buy a 9 euro ticket for your dog.
Small dogs and other small pets (up to the size of a domestic cat) can travel for free in closed containers (eg in a pet box).
What about catering?
While most ICE trains have a built-in bistro, which is not always open, most of the time, regional trains only have snack machines – if any. Therefore, it is a good idea to stock up on adequate supplies before you leave.
Travelers should also not blindly trust what is offered at train stations during transport. Especially small train stations often have neither supermarkets nor snack bars. “You should be able to have a drink at most train stations, but sometimes it’s harder to eat,” says Karl-Peter Naumann. The problem is: you can hardly know it in advance. Even at the train station portal, bahnhof.de, there is often no specific information on travel needs, especially at smaller stations.
How is the comfort on the train?
Unlike long-distance trains, reservations are generally not possible on regional trains. Therefore, you should hope that you will get a free place – especially for families with young children it can be extremely uncomfortable. Good for you to know: According to Deutsche Bahn, changing tables are usually found in toilets suitable for wheelchair users.
If you have a first-class subscription card, you must not forget: it only applies to your own network. So, if the train crosses the border of the network, it actually means: get down to 2nd place.
Can it hold luggage?
Yes. Especially on tourist routes, for example to the coast, some regional trains are also designed for large amounts of luggage, says Karl-Peter Naumann. According to the railway, however, the rule applies: Normally, a maximum of one piece of cargo per passenger is allowed. A passenger – a suitcase. There is space for luggage on the racks and under or behind the seats, but not in the hallway.
You can also get strollers on the train. However, it can become tight at peak hours. Therefore, Deutsche Bahn recommends that you bring folding models and strollers with you, especially on public holidays, weekends and public holidays.
It is good to know when a commuter train breaks out: When you are about to take a train, strollers – as well as passengers with limited mobility – have priority. This is what the NRW Consumer Advice Center points out.
Can I combine an ICE ticket with a 9 euro ticket?
Cover the long distance with ICE or IC and travel small sections at the beginning and end of the trip with the 9 euro ticket – this is possible. For long distance travel you need a separate ticket. This may be worthwhile for families, for example: Most long-distance trains have family rooms and apartments for young children, some of which also have a folding changing table. These places can be secured with family booking. It costs 8 euros.
Despite the € 9 ticket, Karl-Peter Naumann will not travel on regional trains as much as possible: “I prefer to take the ICE to avoid local transport,” says the honorary president of Pro-Bahn. “I do not feel like overcrowded trains that are slow and where the connection does not work.” In case of doubt, Naumann will accept even greater distances.
From a tourist point of view, the 9 euro ticket is particularly interesting for day trips to destinations where there are good (meaning: as direct as possible) connections. “For the longest holiday trip, it will probably be used mainly by opportunity hunters,” he said. There is nothing wrong with storage. And with the tips mentioned, you can get to your holiday destination safely – even for 9 euros.