Dr. Richard Lutz, CEO of Deutsche Bahn AG, and his colleagues Ronald Pofalla (Infrastructure), Berthold Huber (Passenger Transport) and Alexander Doll (Finance, Freight Transport and Logistics) met on Thursday morning in Berlin with Federal Transport Minister Andreas Scheuer and members of the German Bundestag to discuss the situation of DB Group. DB management presented a five-point plan that already contains concrete improvements for the coming months.
Dr. Richard Lutz: “The utilization of our rail network has risen sharply since the German rail reform of 1994, and the intensity of use per kilometer of track has even increased by 50 percent. At the same time, DB Group enjoys a new passenger record every year. Yet: We are reaching our limits; growth leads to bottlenecks. We need more capacity to handle today’s and tomorrow's traffic. This is why we are resolutely tackling the expansion – in the network, with new trains and more employees. The goal is to become better, step by step, for our customers.” As we have been planning for some time, the discussions between the DB Management Board and the representatives of the owner will continue in the week after next.
The five-point plan for 2019 is detailed below:
1. We are becoming more punctual step by step
We are making the railway more punctual, step by step. Specifically: On average, the punctuality of DB long-distance transport will increase by 1.6 percentage points to 76.5 percent in 2019. Above all, we want to reduce delays that cause bottlenecks in vehicle availability. Among other things, we are systematically expanding our long-distance fleet and upgrading existing vehicles. We also intend to make progress through improved maintenance. For this alone, we are hiring more than 200 additional employees, for example at the ICE facilities in Hamburg and Cologne. In Krefeld, we are already increasing the capacity of the workshop until mid-2019. In total, at least 225 ICE trains are available every day, an increase of five percent. Better management of our daily up to 800 construction sites per day is also crucial for more punctuality. In concrete terms, we are doing this above all with three measures: additional personnel, the postponement of off-peak periods in peripheral locations with little traffic, and the use of high-performance machines. This means that we are able to drive a third more trains through the construction sites than before, even though the construction intensity remains the same. In addition, the construction management center is helping us. A special team there coordinates all construction activities within the Group and minimizes disturbances caused by construction sites on a daily basis.
2. We are investing more than ever before
The bottom line is that, together with the Federal Government, we are investing more than ever before in our rail network: € 10.7 billion, that is, € 1.3 billion more than in 2018. And that's not all: In order to increase the capacities in infrastructure and vehicles, we are investing extra money. Together with the capital expenditures in digitalization, this amounts to around € 1.1 billion in 2019. We are again recruiting new staff at record levels, probably around 22,000 employees. Above all, more train drivers, dispatchers and maintenance staff will help to improve quality.
Particular attention will be paid to the question: How can we control and better coordinate the constantly growing traffic more effectively? Our concrete answer: The existing plan start teams will be doubled in 2019. Their task is to ensure the punctual departure of trains. In addition, we are expanding existing teams in order to drive our services more reliably in highly congested corridors. In these so-called plan corridors – in 2019 there will be a total of four – we want to keep the congestion effects of neuralgic sections on the entire system as low as possible
3. We offer more reliable information and better comfort
Whether on the train or at stations – not least with more digital services we offer more reliable information and increased comfort. In the coming months, we will be equipping around 80 stations with a new generation of displays, monitors and boards. In Stuttgart and Leipzig, we will now modernize our DB lounges. New dishes have recently been added to all 650 rolling on-board restaurants and bistros – and better service on board. In this context, we want to significantly reduce disturbances to comfort. At the same time, we are systematically continuing digitalization to provide our customers with better information, especially in the event of incidents. Our market-leading app, DB Navigator, and DB Route Agent will provide even more opportunities for our customers. And we are expanding Wifi in IC, in public local transport and at our stations.
4. We are expanding our services
Since the timetable change in mid-December 2018, we have expanded our long-distance transport services by
four percent. Almost 80 billion seat kilometers are a European record. By the end of December, we will have 15
new ICE 4s and 10 new IC 2s – that alone adds up to almost 20,000 additional seats. Some of them are used on
the booming lines between Berlin and Munich, so we offer two additional ICE Sprinters per day. And important
news for hundreds of thousands of commuters: The large S-Bahn fleets in Munich and Hamburg are being
continually modernized to accommodate the growing number of passengers. We will also be procuring new
vehicles for regional transport.
5. We are restructuring our rail freight activities and make our rail services even greener
We will further extend our lead as the most environmentally friendly means of transport this year. At the end of
2019, the share of renewables in our energy mix will rise again, by three percentage points to 60 percent. In order
to make a contribution to climate change in Germany, we are determined to successfully press ahead with the
forthcoming improvement of our freight railway: More personnel, additional capital expenditures in new
locomotives and freight cars and a sales offensive will bring more freight onto the railways again. No doubt about
it, we want to grow with DB Cargo, defend our market share and win new customers.