Strikes Train drivers and train staff have to be patient. In the event of a strike, numerous connections are canceled and many passengers wait for the trains that are still running. People are queuing in front of the travel centers and thousands of travelers are stranded at the train stations. On Monday, March 27, there will be another strike in rail traffic, as "Ntv" reports. The railroad and transport union calls for a nationwide strike.
What rail passengers can do on strike days and when they are entitled to compensation. An overview:
Deutsche Bahn writes on its website that it always tries to set up an alternative timetable during strikes. Long-distance travelers should check whether their train is running or not from 12 hours before departure. You can do this online at the travel information desk or in the DB Navigator app. The train provides information about current traffic reports and strikes at bahn.de/aktuell. Most of the time, the train is accommodating even in the event of a strike and travelers can still change their travel times if they want.
If you are not traveling on Deutsche Bahn trains, but are traveling with a private railway company, you should first go to the company's website for information in the event of a strike, the consumer advice center advises.
In the past, Deutsche Bahn sometimes organized taxi rides for local passengers at larger stations. If you want to use a taxi on your own, you have to meet certain requirements in order for a railway company to cover the costs. This is regulated by the EU passenger regulation.
The railway company must therefore reimburse passengers for a taxi ride up to a maximum of 80 euros if their planned arrival at the destination is between midnight and 5 a.m. And the destination would be reached by train at least 60 minutes later. The same applies if the last scheduled train of the day is canceled and the destination cannot be reached otherwise by midnight.
In the event of a strike, the railways sometimes also release long-distance traffic for travelers with a ticket for local transport. Means: With such a release, travelers can also use an IC or ICE with their ticket for local transport. Railway companies can also organize shared buses as a replacement. Travelers can find up-to-date information in the event of a strike at bahn.de/aktuell.
If a train is severely delayed or canceled altogether, rail passengers have a right to compensation - this also applies to a strike. This is also regulated by the EU passenger regulation.
If travelers arrive at their destination one hour late, they will be reimbursed 25 percent of the fare, and if they arrive two hours late, a refund of 50 percent of the fare is due.
Delays always refer to the arrival time at the destination. This means that if travelers miss their connection due to a 15-minute delay when changing trains and thus arrive at their destination station an hour late, they are also entitled to compensation.
If there is a delay of 20 minutes or more at the destination station, rail passengers can take another train. This can also be a higher-value train - if it does not require a reservation. However, passengers may first have to pay for the additional ticket or the surcharge for long-distance transport themselves. And subsequently reclaim the higher costs from the railways.
Even with a season ticket, such as a monthly ticket, travelers can get money back if they are delayed by at least 60 minutes. "In the case of season tickets for local transport, the delays must be written down and submitted to the Service Center for Passenger Rights at the end of the month. Passengers for season tickets for local traffic receive: €1.50 (2nd class), €2.25 (1st class)" , informs the consumer center. However, amounts under four euros are not paid out - so there must usually have been several delays.
Deutsche Bahn recommends that delays are always confirmed by company employees. On strike days, however, this often proves to be difficult. The consumer advice center therefore advises documenting the delay with photos of display boards or a screenshot of the delay information in the app or on the website.
Compensation can be submitted to Deutsche Bahn by post with a completed passenger rights form and receipts or handed in at the travel center. Customers who have bought a ticket online can also do this directly in the app or on the computer in their customer account. More information about online refunds can be found here.
All refunds must be claimed within one year of the expiry date of the associated ticket. The first day of validity is noted on the ticket.
If it is already clear before departure that the train will arrive at its destination at least one hour later than planned, rail passengers can withdraw from the journey and have the full fare reimbursed. This also applies to canceled trains or missed connections. Anyone who is already on the move and cancels the journey can have the unused portion reimbursed. If travelers return to the station of departure, they get the full price back.
The worst case for many travelers during a strike: they are stuck at a train station. If the train cannot take you to your destination by other means, the company must find accommodation for you. Likewise, the way to the hotel and the next day to the train station must be organized.
If you want to find a hotel yourself, the consumer advice center recommends obtaining confirmation from the responsible railway company that there are no more trains that day and that the company cannot help with accommodation. Consumers must keep the hotel bill in order to be able to submit it. Deutsche Bahn informs on its website that hotel costs of up to 120 euros can be entered online in the passenger invoice form under the item "Due to the delay, I had additional expenses | I could not use my reservation". For costs that are higher than 120 euros, the original receipts must be submitted by post.
The consumer advice center informs that the railway companies must offer passengers free meals and refreshments in a reasonable proportion to the waiting time in the event of delays of more than 60 minutes. On the condition that these are available or deliverable on the train or station. If no food is provided, travelers should take care of themselves and keep the bills, advises the consumer center.
Sources: Consumer Advice Center 1, Consumer Advice Center 2, Deutsche Bahn, Deutsche Bahn 2,