(Berlin, March 28, 2019) Rail travel is becoming more and more popular. Deutsche Bahn Group (DB Group) saw a considerable increase in its long distance passenger numbers for the fourth time in a row, with some 148 million passengers using DB Group's long distance trains in 2018. That was a year-on-year increase of 5.7 million or 4% – and a new record. Due in part to this increase, DB Group's adjusted revenues also rose in 2018, by 3.1% to EUR 44.02 billion. At EUR 2.1 billion, operating earnings before interest and taxes (EBIT adjusted) remained at roughly the same level as in 2017 (-1.9%).
DB Group expects the trend towards eco-friendly rail transport to continue. "We will be transporting over 150 million long distance passengers in 2019 for the first time," said Dr. Richard Lutz, the CEO of Deutsche Bahn, at today's press conference on DB Group's 2018 figures. "Taking the train is a form of active climate protection; rail is the only truly green mode of transport. We are well on our way towards the target of more than 200 million long distance passengers by 2030."
Some 2.6 billion passengers used DB Group's trains in Europe in 2018, a year-on-year increase of 17 million. Total rail passenger volume sold rose by 1.9% year on year, to a total of 97.7 billion passenger kilometers. DB Regional's volume sold remained stable, while long distance transport saw a major increase of 5.6% to 42.8 billion passenger kilometers.
The total volume produced on DB Group's rail network also reached record levels, rising 1.2% year on year to some 1.09 billion train-path kilometers. The percentage of non-Group operators using the network continued to rise, from 30.9% in 2017 to 32.2% in 2018.
"It is also important to acknowledge that there are side effects – growing pains, if you will – to the success of rail," said CEO Dr. Lutz, citing an "unsatisfactory punctuality" of 74.9% in long distance transport in 2018. Dr. Lutz said that DB Group was working at top speed to eliminate bottlenecks related to infrastructure, rolling stock and staff, in line with the company's "Agenda for a better railway," which it had recently introduced. "We must increase our capacity if we are to offer more attractive, on-time services," said Dr. Lutz.