Frankfurt / Stuttgart / Munich (AP) - The Deutsche Bahn gets in long-distance traffic another competitor: The company Rheinjet from Meerbusch near Dusseldorf wants to offer from 8 November a train service between Stuttgart, Munich and Frankfurt.
A train is to approach the three cities every two weeks on Friday, one after the other, said Rheinjet CEO Martin Michael of the German Press Agency. The company works together with external operators. The times are registered and already approved. For about a week customers can book the trips. Depending on demand, the offer should be extended in the future.
After Flixtrain, another provider ventures into the long-distance transport market, which is almost completely dominated by Deutsche Bahn with a market share of around 99 percent. "We're mainly looking for commuters who work in a city around the week and want to go home on the weekend," Michael said. Due to the different traffic there is no direct competition with the railway, it said. Offers like that of Rheinjet fall under the so-called occasional traffic.
However, Michael criticized the harsh conditions when selling and selling their own tickets, because customers usually searched for bookings in long-distance traffic only at the railway. The award of the routes is also made via a subsidiary of the railway and is therefore not neutral. Rheinjet has so far mainly brokered private charter flights.
The railway initially did not comment on the offer of the new competitor. However, the company announced that the new roadmap for 2020, which will come into force in December of this year, has now been finalized. According to the railway, 72,000 new train path applications were submitted. Nearly 5,000 of these were long-distance registrations, of which some 400 were received from external railway undertakings which did not belong to the DB Group. This is twice as many external applications as in the previous year, said a spokeswoman.
Nevertheless, Flixtrain - an offshoot of the long-distance bus company Flixmobility - was so far the only competitor in long-distance traffic. The company currently offers four connections several times a day. By comparison, at the end of 2018, Deutsche Bahn alone had 274 ICE trains in operation. 148 million passengers in long-distance traffic of the state-owned company face a good 750,000 in the first year of regular operations. The situation is likely to change little with the entry of Rheinjet.
While Deutsche Bahn has almost a monopoly position in long-distance traffic, the competition in local and freight transport is much stronger. According to the latest data from the Monopolies Commission, the group's market share in local traffic in 2016 was around 67 percent - measured in terms of train-kilometers. According to the railway, about half of the train path applications in regional traffic came from external providers.