The 3-day strike will affect regional and long-distance trains all over the country/Photo: Femi Awoniyi

German train drivers go on strike; what you should know

Train drivers will go on a three-day strike from Wednesday (11 August), the German Train Drivers’ Union (GDL) has confirmed. The strike will affect regional and long-distance trains all over the country.

The GDL is demanding a wage increase of 3.2 per cent for employees and a 600-euro corona bonus for the current year in the collective bargaining dispute with Deutsche Bahn (DB).

Deutsche Bahn is asking its customers to refrain from long-distance travel on 11 and 12 August 2021 if they do not absolutely have to travel.

It is advisable to take a look at the Deutsche Bahn website to find out whether your connection is affected. Deutsche Bahn is drawing up replacement timetables for the strike days. These can be viewed on the Deutsche Bahn website. They are intended to maintain around a quarter of the connections.

Long-distance tickets already purchased for these days can be used flexibly from 10 August to 20 August, according to a goodwill rule issued by Deutsche Bahn. This also applies to tickets bought at the saver fare (Sparpreis) or super saver fare (Super-Sparpreis); the train obligation here is lifted. Alternatively, customers can cancel their tickets. Seat reservations can be rebooked free of charge.

The strike is sure to result in train cancellations and delays throughout Germany and a lot of inconvenience for hundreds of thousands of travellers.

Passenger rights also apply in the event of a strike, consumer rights groups say. Travellers can therefore also claim compensation if trains are delayed or cancelled altogether for this reason.

Here, too, the following applies: If your booked train arrives at its destination station with a delay of 60 minutes or more, you can claim back 25 percent of the fare. From 120 minutes late at the destination station, the compensation is 50 percent of the fare.

If a delay of at least 20 minutes is foreseeable for your booked train, you can also continue the journey on another train and on another route to your destination station. In addition, Deutsche Bahn allows you to use a long-distance train even if you actually only had a ticket for local rail services.

However, you must first pay for the additional ticket or the surcharge. Afterwards, you can reclaim these costs via the passenger rights form or your customer account with Deutsche Bahn. You may only switch to trains that do not require reservations.

But be careful: according to Deutsche Bahn, these regulations do not apply if you have a “heavily discounted” ticket, such as a Länder ticket or Schönes-Wochenende ticket. In that case, Deutsche Bahn will not pay for you to switch to an ICE or IC/EC. The same is the case if your original route on local trains is more than 50 kilometers long or takes longer than one hour.

Felix Dappah

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