2017 Integrated Report – Departure into a new era

Passenger transport

In passenger transport our objective is to maintain our strong market position in the rail and bus transport market in Germany, while growing in Europe. Throughout Europe, regional and local transport contracts are being increasingly put out to tender. Through DB Arriva we have successful operations in the bus and/or rail transport business in 14 European countries. This puts us in a good position for further growth. The liberalization of the European passenger transport markets is, however, progressing at different speeds across Europe. In many other countries, the national long-distance transport market has not yet been opened to competition.

Outside Europe a new market for rail operation and maintenance projects is developing, for which international operators are increasingly being sought. In the year under review we accordingly established DB International Operations.

Falling momentum in the German passenger transport market

Passenger transport market
in Germany
 (% based on volume sold)

Growth rate

Market share

2017

2016

2017

2016

Motorized individual transport

+1.0

+2.1

84.3

84.3

Rail passenger transport

+3.0

+4.5

8.5

8.4

     DB Group

+2.6

+1.0

7.1

7.0

     Non-Group railways

+5.6

+27.4

1.4

1.4

Public road passenger transport

+0.0

+0.4

6.3

6.4

     DB Group

–7.7

–2,2

0.6

0.7

Air transport (domestic)

+0.5

+3.2

0.9

0.9

Total

+1.1

+2.2

100.0

100.0

Figures for 2016 and 2017 are based on information and estimates available as of February 2018. As the market shares for each mode of transport have been rounded up or down, the total may not add up to 100.

The German passenger transport market grew once more in 2017, though on the whole less strongly than in the previous year.

  • We estimate that there was moderate growth in motorized individual transport.
  • Rail passenger transport posted marked growth.
  • Public road passenger transport was stagnant.
  • There was a slight increase in air transport.

This was largely due to developments in the prevailing socio-economic conditions, which – though less dynamic – were still positive, as well as to special factors.

  • Employment figures and disposable incomes posted solid growth, but so did fuel prices and inflation.
  • There were marked increases in the costs of using motorized individual transport and in air and long-distance bus fares, whereas the rise in rail fares was more modest.
  • Storms caused heavy infrastructure damage and significant transport restrictions.
  • Train services on the Rhine Valley route were temporarily suspended.
  • There was one day fewer of service due to the 2016 leap year.

Marked increases in bus and rail travel in Europe

European passenger transport market 
(% based on volume sold)

Growth rate

2017

2016

Rail passenger transport

+4.0

+1.5

     DB Group

+4.6

+3.4

Figures for 2016 and 2017 are based on information and estimates available as of February 2018. Growth rates for each mode of transport have been rounded up or down to the nearest half percentage point.

Developments in the environment for European passenger transport in 2017 were positive, though they lost momentum.

  • European rail passenger transport posted growth of about a substantial +4.0%.
  • European long-distance bus transport grew despite a strong consolidation of providers.

Employment and real disposable incomes rose moderately in many European states, but so did annual average fuel prices. Compared to the 2016 leap year, a missing day of service dampened demand.

European bus and rail services were stimulated by movements towards market liberalization and greater international involvement on the part of established providers.

  • Finland announced that the rail passenger transport market will open up from 2020, with the associated division of VR, the Finnish state-owned railway, into four companies.
  • Spain published criteria for the award of contracts to operate passenger services from and to Spain. National Express operated its first services in competition with the Spanish state-owned railway RENFE through its Spanish subsidiary Alsa Ferrocarril.
  • For the first time, Swiss Federal Railways (SBB) found itself in competition for the award of long-distance concessions in Switzerland, with regional rail operator BLS.
  • In Great Britain, French state railway SNCF joined forces with Virgin and Stagecoach to compete for new high-speed services under the West Coast franchise.
  • Italian state-owned railway FS took over its Greek opposite number Trainose, the Dutch bus and railway operator Qbuzz, and the British railway company c2c. It also formed a joint venture with First Group to compete for franchises in Great Britain.
  • East Japan Railway entered the British passenger transport market, winning the West Midlands franchise with Abellio.