Status: 02.12.2023, 10:16 a.m.
By: Karolin Schäfer
Snow and ice have caused chaos in local and long-distance public transport in southern Germany. When rail passengers are entitled to a refund.
Munich – The south of Germany is currently drowning in masses of snow. The German Weather Service (DWD) warns of heavy snowfall, especially around Munich. It is also snowing heavily in the south of Baden-Württemberg. In places it gets slippery on the roads. "Avoid all car journeys," says the DWD. But even the train does not seem to be an alternative means of transport at the moment.
Trains are cancelled in droves in southern Germany: What rights rail passengers now have
Rail traffic is severely affected in southern Germany. Long-distance services were discontinued in the greater Munich area as well as to Stuttgart, Nuremberg, Austria and Switzerland. "We recommend postponing travel to and from Munich," Deutsche Bahn (DB) reported. Subways, buses and trams are also struggling to make progress in the winter chaos. In Munich, nothing works at least until 12 o'clock. The railway expects the disruption to last throughout Saturday (2 December). Munich Airport also capitulates in the snow chaos.
But what rights do travellers have in such an exceptional situation? Those who have to or want to postpone their planned trip on Friday due to the onset of winter can also use the ticket at a later date, according to DB. This means that the train connection is lifted.
Snow chaos paralyzes railways: What travellers need to know now
The ticket is then still valid for the journey to the original destination station – even if a different route than planned has to be used. Booked seat reservations can also be cancelled free of charge. This regulation also applies to passengers with international DB tickets.
If you only have a ticket for local transport, but want to switch to an ICE, for example, you must first buy the required ticket. This can then be reimbursed via the Passenger Rights Service Centre. However, that rule does not apply to significantly reduced tickets, such as the Deutschlandticket.
An ICE train is parked at the main station after heavy snowfall. © Matthias Schrader/dpa
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But be careful: DB is already warning of very busy trains on Sunday (3 December). If you are flexible, you should therefore plan your trip in the period from Monday (4 December). Until 9 December, the original ticket can be used to travel abroad. However, DB recommends that you also obtain a corresponding certificate at the travel centre.
The onset of winter in southern Germany: long-distance services largely suspended – when there will be a refund
In view of the onset of winter in southern Germany, however, passengers can also do without their journey altogether. Those affected will then receive a full refund of the price of their ticket. However, rail passengers are also entitled to reimbursement in these cases:
- Cancellation of the train (price is fully refundable)
- Trip aborted and driven back to the departure station (price is fully refundable)
- Delay at the destination station of more than 60 minutes (25 percent of the ticket price refunded)
- You will only travel part of the booked route (unused portion will be refunded)
Meanwhile, a traffic accident in wintry Bavaria has claimed one fatality. (kas)