– This is how you can now get to Germany despite the DB strike
Since Wednesday morning, most Deutsche Bahn trains have been halted due to a train drivers' strike. If you have to travel, it is best to follow the following tips.
Almost nothing goes on German rails until Friday. According to Deutsche Bahn, as a result of the strike by the GDL train drivers' union, not only local German flights were cancelled, but also four out of five long-distance international trains. Deutsche Bahn is asking its customers to postpone non-essential trips.
What does this mean for Swiss travellers?
Long distance trains: SBB advises postponement of journeys
SBB recommends postponing trips to or via Germany until another time. Spokesman Moritz Weiskopf says the cancellation of cross-border traffic until Friday evening will affect not only long-distance trains but also night trains heading to German destinations.
On the Swiss part of the route, most of the canceled cross-border flights will be replaced by alternative trains, so that local traffic is as unaffected as possible, Weiskopf says.
Deutsche Bahn has established a “special goodwill policy” for tickets that cannot be used. Tickets are valid for a longer period and can be used more flexibly.
Border area: SBB trains should operate normally
SBB's German subsidiary is running eight trains a day on the Freiburg im Breisgau to Basel S-Bahn route during the strike – focusing on passenger connections to Switzerland, confirms Daniel König of SBB Germany. The S-Bahn triple lines S5 and S6 in the Basel area operate regularly “as long as there is no infrastructure strike”.
The same applies to trains operated by SBB Germany in the Schaffhausen and Lake Constance area – such as the Schaffhausen S-Bahn with the Rhyhas line to Singen and Erzingen or the Bodensee-Seehas S-Bahn to Konstanz-Engen. König's advice: “Before leaving for Germany, check the timetable information on bahn.de or in DB Navigator.”
Flights: The Swiss still have seats
The alternative for travelers who want to travel to the German metropolitan areas of Berlin, Hamburg, Cologne, Frankfurt and Munich is by plane. “We don't see any impact on flight operations,” says Michael Belzer of the Swiss Media Office. “Our flights currently have enough seats for Wednesday and Thursday.” He only recommends early booking on Friday evening, “but this is normal at this peak time and has nothing to do with the strike.”
However, if you want to go to the airport in Germany, you should allow enough time and refer to current public transport timetables.
Long distance buses: Space is becoming scarce
There are also still free seats on long-distance buses to Germany. Flixbus currently offers trips to Berlin for around 120 francs – the journey is via Munich and takes up to 15 hours. On the other hand, flights to Hamburg are almost fully booked. “As is usually the case when competitors go on strike, we see a significant increase in demand,” says company spokeswoman Isabella Domke. Demand has doubled compared to the previous week. “Demand on routes from Switzerland to Germany and back is also high.” There are still places available from Zurich, Bern and Lugano. The following applies: “If you book early, you travel cheaper.”
The Street: ADAC expects delays
Drivers in Germany are currently making relatively good progress. “We are currently seeing slightly higher traffic jams on the roads,” says Alexander Schnarz of the ADAC Traffic Club. But it cannot be said whether this was related to the railway strike or to the farmers' protests and closure of some highway entrances that took place at the same time. “Travelers should definitely be prepared for delays. During such major strikes, we always advise people to avoid non-essential travel completely.