DB Arriva business unit
Development in relevant markets
European passenger transport has suffered massively from the introduction of Europe-wide travel restrictions and social distancing measures as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic. In many countries the restrictions were more severe and longer than in Germany. The number of passengers declined very sharply.
European railways completely discontinued their cross-border connections and in some cases drastically reduced their national services, most severely in France, Spain and Italy. However, a state-supported basic service in regional and long-distance transport remained in place. There were also considerable disruptions in bus transport throughout Europe.
The development in rail passenger transport for selected countries and railways:
- Spain/Red Nacional de los Ferrocarriles Españoles (RENFE): Very extensive lockdowns led to a drop in travelers of up to 96%. The offer in long-distance transport was temporarily reduced to 30%, in regional transport to 50%. Since mid-May 2020, regional transport has been operating the full timetable again.
- Italy/Trenitalia: Since the beginning of May 2020, Trenitalia has been operating 50% of its original regional transport services again. The long-distance transport services are being ramped up under strict hygiene conditions and restrictions with a maximum load factor of 50%.
- The Netherlands/Nederlandse Spoorwegen (NS): The number of daily passengers fell by 90% from mid-March to mid-May 2020. Since the beginning of June 2020, NS has been operating the full timetable again, but with a restriction of the maximum load factor to 40%.
- Sweden/Statens Järnvägar (SJ): Travel decreased by 4% in the first quarter of 2020 and by 77% in the second quarter of 2020. SJ continued to serve all routes, but reduced the number of trains and departures by about 50%.
- Grand Central Railway in the UK, which is operated commercially by DB Arriva, temporarily suspended its services as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic. A limited service was reintroduced in July 2020.
In response to the Covid-19 pandemic, the UK government has introduced temporary Emergency Measures Agreements (EMAs) for all rail franchises (including Chiltern and CrossCountry). Under these agreements, operators are paid a set management fee in exchange for operating services. The temporary EMA expire in autumn 2020.
Easing of the Covid-19 restrictions from mid-May 2020, led to a renewed increase in supply in most European countries, combined with increased hygiene and safety measures. However, demand remains weak for the time being and significantly lower than in the previous year.
The European long-distance bus transport at times came to a complete standstill:
- BlaBlaBus paused all transports in Europe from mid-March to the end of June 2020.
- FlixBus discontinued national and cross-border transports in Europe from mid-March to the end of May 2020. Limited operations in Austria, Portugal and Poland only started at the end of May 2020, and in mid-June 2020 also in France. In Sweden, Denmark, Croatia and the Czech Republic, some destinations had already been restarted before then.
DB Arriva was one of the first providers in Italy to be affected by serious consequences of the Covid-19 pandemic. Negotiations are still underway with the public authorities to make adjustments in response to lower than expected passenger numbers.
Since the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic, the British government has offered financial support to the bus sector to help maintain transport services. Concession payments have been kept at the level they were at before the Covid-19 pandemic. A review of the central government services will be carried out in October 2020.