Integrated Interim Report 2019 – Germany needs a strong rail system

Development of business units

Passenger transport

Market developments

The developments described below are based on preliminary data and data which sometimes have different time horizons, so this report does not provide full information about developments in the first half of 2019 as at the time of writing.

German market experiences continuous growth

  • The overall market showed a rise in volume sold at the beginning of 2019, following a slight decline in the same period of the previous year. This is supported by rising employment and disposable income. Key developments included:
    • Increase in volume sold of motorized individual transport with moderately rising fuel prices.
    • Visible year-on-year growth in domestic air transport due to significantly lower easyJet fares compared to those of the Lufthansa Group and previously those of Air Berlin.
    • Significant decline in long-distance bus transport due to the late Easter holidays compared to the previous year, and a proportional shift in demand from FlixBus to FlixTrain.
    • Moderately rising prices in motorized individual transport, relatively stable price development in long-distance bus transport, price drops in the flight segment, driven by intense competition in the low cost ticket segment and rising rail prices.

Rail passenger transport

  • Volume sold increased moderately (+1.1%) in rail passenger transport in the first quarter compared to the same quarter of the previous year.
  • Regional rail passenger transport showed robust growth in the first quarter (+1.2%) with continued intense competition, while DB Regional reported almost stable in performance (–0.3%). 
  • Long-distance passenger transport experienced similar growth in the first quarter (+1.0%), driven by the FlixTrain product expansions.
  • Demand in DB Long-Distance transport at previous year’s level (+0.1%). ◊ Commencement of operations of FlixTrain from Berlin to Cologne end of May

Public road passenger transport

  • Declining volume sold in public passenger transport in the first quarter (–1.0%).
  • Long-distance bus transport shrank significantly more (–8.0%) than local bus transport (–0.3%).
  • In the seventh year of the liberalization of the longdistance bus market, FlixBus remains the dominating service provider with a market share of over 95% and a static supply.
  • Volume sold in the first quarter was significantly subdued year-on-year due to the supply optimization of FlixBus, the late Easter holidays and product expansions by FlixTrain.
  • The French company BlaBlaCar launched its own long-distance bus service in June and pushed IC Bus out of third place.
  • DB bus transport declined significantly (–1.8%) as a result of falling demand for rural scheduled services and an adjustment of the supply portfolio.

Europe-wide gains for trains and buses

There was robust development of the overall European market. This development is supported by positive conditions, increasing employment and rising incomes, although Italy and particularly Great Britian are weakening due to Brexit uncertainty. European railways recorded visible growth in the first quarter, led by Eastern European railways with above-average development, followed by Italy, Sweden and Norway.

New growth impulses in the European rail passenger transport have resulted from the following initiatives:

  • Sweden plans to reintroduce night trains on the way to becoming the world’s first “fossil-free welfare state.”
  • The French railway market is recovering after the discontinuation of last year’s strike on rail reform (39 strike days).
  • Independent cross-border activities of the TOCs are becoming increasingly visible:
    • SNCF prepares to enter Spain’s rail passenger transport market.
    • Trenitalia’s subsidiary Thello applies to French network operator SNCF Réseau for open access highspeed lines to Paris.
    • FlixTrain applies for routes in France and Sweden.
    • CzechLeo Express plans to expand into Poland up to the Ukrainian and Belarusian borders.
  • Norwegian Railways (NSB) merges rail and bus companies in Norway and Sweden under a new brand Vy with the aim of strengthening its position as a mobility-asa-service provider; Trenitalia introduces free now (formerly MyTaxi), a new intermodal door-to-door solution.
  • European long-distance bus service continues its momentum thanks to FlixBus activities:
    • FlixBus is acquiring its smaller competitor Eurolines from the French Transdev Group, including the Isilines buses operating in France, expanding in Bulgaria and preparing to enter Russia.