The customer is at the center of our actions

For us, increasing punctuality is the most important lever for improving product quality. Internal punctuality management is based on lost units (number of delays) and will be expanded in future with additional key figures that take into account network utilization. To measure punctuality, we compare the target arrival time to the actual arrival time for every train/bus journey. A stop is considered on time if the scheduled arrival time is exceeded by less than six minutes in passenger transport or less than 16 minutes in freight transport. We use a punctuality rate to summarize the arrival of trains/buses on schedule or up to a defined maximum delay. In addition, DB Regional Bus also evaluates buses that have departed more than one minute too early as not punctual. The figures are recorded daily and are made available to executives and employees online, together with the lost units and other management key figures, allowing remedial action to be taken. In addition, punctuality data, together with the associated indicators, are prepared regularly and used by the Management Board to determine current points requiring action and where decisions are required. Punctuality is the key indicator of product quality in terms of the Strong Rail strategy, and is a determining factor in calculating the variable compensation amount for executives at DB Group.

Other important levers for increasing product quality include the use of modern vehicles, reliable and comprehensive customer and transport information, the quality and reliability of services offered, as well as reasonable travel and transport times. That is why we continually invest in our fleet and infrastructure, and optimize cooperation with our suppliers and sector partners. We also place a strong emphasis on tapping into the opportunities of digitalization. Our initiatives for increasing product quality and improving customer satisfaction are an important part of the plan to implement our strategy.

In addition to the various aspects of product quality, the continuous optimization of the price-performance ratio and product innovations, especially in digitalization, are key levers for increasing customer satisfaction. We work extremely hard on our basic service and focus on optimizing product and service quality. We offer our customers a comprehensive range of services for their information needs. Our target is to provide our products at a reasonable price-performance ratio in order to meet the expectations of our customers. The focus is on measures that increase the quality of our services and the efficiency of our processes. In order to assess the success of our measures from our customers’ perspective, we use direct indicators such as revenues and the number of passengers. In addition to this, we use the results of regular customer surveys to measure our success and find potential areas for improvement.

Development in the year under review






DB Group (rail) in Germany




     DB rail passenger transport in Germany




         DB Long-Distance




         DB Regional




     DB Cargo (Germany)




DB Arriva (rail: United Kingdom, Denmark, Sweden,
the Netherlands, Poland and the Czech Republic) 1)




DB Regional (bus) 




DB Cargo




To measure punctuality, we compare the target arrival time to the actual arrival time for every train/bus run. We summarize the arrival of trains/buses on schedule or up to a definedmaximum delay using a degree of punctuality.
1) Change in method in UK Trains line of business in 2021, previous years’ figures retroactively adjusted.

In 2021, punctuality in German rail transport was below the high level of the previous year. The main reason for this was the reduction in positive effects in terms of capacity, which therefore increased punctuality, due to the low volume produced in 2020 as a result of Covid-19.

  • Positive effects resulted from a further reduction in primary disruptions thanks to improved system availability.
  • Major structural and external challenges, in contrast, had a strong negative impact on punctuality. Structurally, strong traffic growth, primarily in existing bottlenecks (top connection hubs and lines), together with an expansion of construction volume in these areas, placed a significant strain on capacity. To counteract this development, measures have been adopted to contribute to an increase in quality in the coming years.
  • A large number of external special events also led to temporary slumps in punctuality during the course of the year: the severe cold spell in February 2021, high temperatures in June 2021, the severe floods in July 2021 and storms in October 2021.
  • The GDL strikes also had a negative effect.

Significant measures for improvement

In 2021, DB Group again implemented a large number of measures to reduce the level of disruptions in vehicles and network systems, which have a direct impact on punctuality.This reduced the number of primary disruptions. The impact of a primary disruption depends heavily on network utilization. The greater the utilization of a particular network section, the higher the probability that several trains will be affected by a disruption. Due to the increase in train-path demand and the extensive construction activities in infrastructure, the capacity utilization of the network has increased so sharply that, despite a lower level of disruption, the effects of traffic jams have increased sharply. As a result, punctuality targets were missed. Owing to this development, in addition to continued improvement of disruption levels, measures focusing on better capacity management are also being developed and implemented.

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Outlook - Top targets Strong Rail





Punctuality DB Long-Distance (%)



Punctuality DB Regional (rail) (%)



Punctuality DB Cargo (Germany) (%)



  • Punctuality is expected to improve in 2022. In order to achieve these goals, the quality measures initiated in 2021 will be continued and intensified. However, punctuality targets are under pressure due to the further increase in traffic volumes and a continued very high level of construction activity.

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