Berlin (dpa) – The mask only under the nose, under the chin or without it at all: To ensure that this photo remains the exception on the trains, especially during the Christmas season, Deutsche Bahn and the federal police want to ensure compliance with the mask requirement intensify in December.
Thousands of federal police and security officers must ensure that a surveillance team runs around every second long-distance train in the coming weeks. The group and the federal police drew attention to the measures on Monday with a national action day.
Hundreds of emergency services were deployed across the country in regional and long-distance trains, as well as trams, suburban trains, and metros. The campaign is part of the safety concept with which Deutsche Bahn promotes confidence among passengers during the Christmas period.
“We certainly have more than 2000 colleagues from DB Sicherheit at work,” said Berthold Huber, board member Passenger Transport, Monday. “Wearing the mask is checked every second movement.” The federal police is also deploying 6,000 officers for this purpose, said federal police president Dieter Romann.
The railway always insists that the majority of travelers adhere to the mask requirement. “Violations are now the absolute exception,” said Huber. With more than 99 percent of customers, there is nothing to complain about. The police and security personnel should only intervene at one percent.
“From September of this year to last weekend, we met about 200,000 people on the train who were not wearing masks,” said Romann. Of these, the personal details of 3,600 passengers were recorded and forwarded to the health authorities so that fines would be due. In 500 cases, the controlling persons had to get off at the next train station.
“Above all, you need people who participate, are attentive, sensible and above all keep an eye on the neighbor,” said Federal Transport Minister Andreas Scheuer (CSU) on the occasion of the national day of action.
However, the emergency services don’t have much to do at the moment, as evidenced by a regional trip on Monday morning from Berlin Central Station to the new BER airport. There were only a few passengers on the train; most wear their mouth and nose guards correctly. No one was noticed or even expelled from the train. Little is happening at the moment in long-distance transport either. According to the railway, the utilization is currently a maximum of 25 percent.
To ensure that this remains the case during the Christmas period, Deutsche Bahn is expanding its offer. With the timetable change in mid-December, 15 new ICE 4 trains will be on the route and thus approximately 13,000 extra seats. In addition, the federal company wants to offer 100 special trips during the Christmas season. “There is more offer with fewer travelers to straighten things out,” said Scheuer.
Railroad driver Huber did not say on Monday whether further federal aid would be needed to fund this additional offer. From the economic stimulus package put together by the federal government during the first lockdown in the spring, the railway would have already received five billion euros for the losses in the corona crisis. The aid has yet to be approved by the European Commission.
“If we only have an occupancy rate of 25 percent and that on the busiest days, it will have an economic impact”, Scheuer emphasizes. Air traffic is also experiencing a huge drop in demand. “That means that after the crisis we must join forces to remain economically successful and offset these heavy losses.”