Use of German public transport rose to new high in 2019

Trips by bus and train in Germany over the course of 2019 rose to a new high of 11.6 billion, up 0.4 per cent over last year, the Federal Statistical Office (Destatis) reported on Wednesday.

The rise reflects constant growth since the figures were first compiled in 2004, although the trend is highly likely to be broken this year as a result of restrictions imposed in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

Long-distance rail travel increased by 1.9 per cent in 2019, with 151 million trips recorded, while the number of long-distance bus trips was down 7.9 per cent to 21 million. Bus travel on coaches belonging to companies based outside Germany were not included in the figures.

Most trips took place over short distances, with the number of short-haul trips rising by 0.4 per cent to more than 11.4 billion. Bus travel accounted for 5.3 billion trips, with 4.1 billion trips made by tram, suburban rail and metro. A further 2.8 billion trips were made by rail.

Current restrictions on travel are thought to have caused long-distance rail travel to plummet to between 10 and 15 per cent of the usual level.

All major long-distance coach companies have halted services, and short-distance commuter trips are also down, as many office workers are now working from home.

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