For members


What you need to know about Deutsche Bahn’s new reduced ticket prices

Starting on January 1st, many Deutsche Bahn tickets became 10 percent cheaper. We look at which tickets and routes are affected, and why the price reduction was made.

What you need to know about Deutsche Bahn's new reduced ticket prices
A Deutsche Bahn ticket machine. Photo: DPA

For years, consumers complained about Deutsche Bahn tickets becoming increasingly more expensive.

But this year everything will be different: On January 1st, the company lowered prices for long-distance travel by ten percent, as a spokesperson for Deutsche Bahn confirmed to dpa. 

This means that Deutsche Bahn tickets now have a lower value-added tax (VAT). The move is part of a government plan to incentive rail travel in hopes more people will pick planes over trains. 

READ ALSO: The big changes in Germany to expect in 2020

Here's what customers need to know. 

Which tickets will be cheaper? 

The fare reduction affects all long-distance journeys. It does not only apply to ordinary tickets, but also to special prices and additional cards, for example permitting bikes on board. 

For local transport, on the other hand, prices rose by an average of 1.7 percent. For example, Berlin’s S-Bahn – which is operated by Deutsche Bahn – saw single ticket prices for the whole region (ABC) rise from €3.40 to €3.60. 

What about my Bahncard?

Since the beginning of the year, the so-called “Bahncard 100” – or a regular priced ticket – has also been ten percent cheaper. However, this has not yet been applicable to Bahncards 50 and 25, for which customers pay only half and a quarter prices for tickets.

Deutsche Bahn holiday travellers. Photo: DPA

“Deutsche Bahn would welcome it if the BahnCard 25 and BahnCard 50 also became part of the VAT package,” a rail spokesman told dpa. The company is currently in negotiations with the government about this.

“We are all confident that we will be able to resolve these small kinks that need to be resolved in the coming weeks and months,” Bahn board member Ronald Pofalla said recently.

Should the negotiations be successful, Bahncard 50 and 25 would also become ten percent cheaper.

When can I book the cheaper tickets? 

According to Bahn, customers can now buy the cheaper tickets online and during regular opening hours in the travel centres.

Why are the tickets becoming cheaper now? 

The core reason is climate change. To ensure that more people travel by train instead of the more climate-damaging car or plane, the German government has decided to reduce the value added tax from 19 to seven percent for long-distance train tickets in its climate package.

Plane travel, on the other hand, will be becoming significantly more expensive starting in March. 

“We want to win over more rail customers“, said Transport Minister Andreas Scheuer (CSU) about the plans. The federally owned company expects an annual increase of at least five million passengers due to the reduction of the VAT alone. 

What will the result of the price reduction be?

A twelve percentage point reduction in VAT results in a ten percent reduction in fares. A calculation example: a €100 ticket costs €119 with a 19 percent VAT. With a seven percent tax it costs €107. The difference: €12. 

Does the lower VAT only apply to Deutsche Bahn?

It applies to all providers of long-distance rail transport, which is 99 percent controlled by Deutsche Bahn. Long-distance buses are excluded from the VAT package.

Above all, the largest long-distance bus company in Germany, Flixmobility with its brand Flixbus, has criticized the reduction, and announced it will take legal action. 

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For members


How to navigate the Deutsche Bahn train strikes in your region of Germany

A standoff between the GDL train drivers’ union and Deutsche Bahn means that rail services will be crippled nationwide in Germany for five days. Here’s the information you need to navigate the strikes in your region.

How to navigate the Deutsche Bahn train strikes in your region of Germany
Berlin central station on Thursday morning. Photo: dpa | Paul Zinken

Deutsche Bahn is encouraging travellers to download the DB Navigator app and to use it immediately before they travel in order to see which services are currently running.

There is some information in English but the detailed lists of which lines are still running are in German. We provide links here to those pages and a brief overview of the main lines that have been affected. (tip: if it says Linie eingestellt, trains aren’t running on that line. 20-Minuten Takt means they’re running every 20 minutes).

SEE ALSO: What you need to know about the German rail strikes


In the capital, S-Bahn services and regional train services have been severely impacted by the strike but the U-Bahn is not run by Deutsche Bahn so is running normally. That means that trying to get around by bus and U-Bahn (both run by BVG) should help you avoid the strikes.

If you’re happy to do plan ahead, there are still some S-Bahn services running. This website (in German) details which lines have been completely closed and which ones still run a train every 20 minutes.

In terms of the key lines: the Ringbahn is not running at all in either direction. Nor is the north-south S26 line, the S45 to the airport (the S9 to BER is still running), and the S75 from Wartemberg in the north-east into the city.

All other S-Bahn lines are running every 20 minutes with the exception of the S8 which is running every 40 mins. Not all of them are doing the full route though.

You can plug your journey into this English page run by Deutsche Bahn and it will show you how to best avoid the strike action.

In terms of regional trains to and from satellite towns, there is a detailed list of which lines have been completely halted for the strike and which have a form of replacement service.

The following lines are not running at all: FEX, RB10, – RB11, RB13, RB20, RB21, RB22, RB23, RB31, RB49, RB55, RE/RB66

Other lines connecting Magdeburg, Dessau, Eberswalde, Stralsund, Rostock and Cottbus with the capital are running reduced services.


The German finance capital is also seriously affected by strikes on both its S-Bahn and regional services.

A full list of the lines that are not running reduced services can be found in German here.

Be careful to check for updates, as the page is updated every day at 11 am for the following day. 

Here are the current services for Thursday and Friday: The S2, S4, S7 and S9 are not running at all. Other lines are running on basic services but often only every hour.


A large number of regional and S-Bahn services in the west of the country have been completely stopped. These include the RE8 over Mönchengladbach, Cologne and Bonn, the RE9 between Aachen, Cologne and Siegen, and the RB33 between Essen and Aachen.

The S4 through Dortmund, the S8 through Düsseldorf and the S68 to Wuppertal have also been completely stopped. See here for further details.

Updates will be posted daily at 10:30am on the website.


In Munich, a replacement S-Bahn timetable has been put in place for the duration of the strikes, with long delays expected on most lines.

The S1, which normally runs between the city and the airport, will be running every 20-40 minutes, but won’t go as far as the airport. The S2, S3, S4 and S6 will equally be running a partial service every 20-40 minutes and won’t stop at all stations. 

The S7 will only be running on an hourly basis, while the S8 will be running every 20 minutes between Pasing and the airport, and will also be running every 40-60 minutes to stations further along the line.

The S20 will not be running at all during the strike.

DB has not yet published a detailed list available of which regional trains have been affected in Bavaria, but cross-border services into Austria, Italy and Hungary and likely to be heavily impacted.

However DB say that they will update the travel planner website for Bavaria every day at 12:00 for the following day. You can plug your departure point and destination into that site here or check for general travel updates on here.

Other areas of the country

Various other parts of the are facing impediments to travel due to the strike. The east of the country is particularly affected. For an exhaustive list of all of the regions of the country where lines are not running according to schedule you can peruse this web page (in German).

READ ALSO: Germany’s train strikes: What rights do you have as a passenger?