2018 Integrated Report – On track towards a better Railway

Development of business units

Passenger transport

Development in the German and European passenger transport market was differentiated in 2018.

German market with stable development

  • Based on our own estimations, volume sold in mo­­torized private transport remained slightly below the previous year’s level:
    • Positive effects from a stable labor market and greater levels of disposable income were not sufficient to offset the negative development caused by the sharp rise in fuel prices.
    • Market share fell slightly.
  • Volume sold in rail passenger transport rose significantly once more:
    • Regional and long-distance rail passenger transport benefited from favorable income and em­­ployment situations as well as the sharp rise in fuel prices. The demand was also driven by restrictions in air transport.
    • DB Group recorded a strong increase in volume sold, especially for DB Long-Distance, as a result of the new high-speed line Berlin — Munich and measures to promote services. DB Regional maintained the same level of volume sold as the previous year.
    • Non-Group railways only increased their volume sold slightly. In long-distance transport, demand rose moderately after FlixTrain took over the sale of Locomore services and Czech train operator Leo Express took over operations.
    • The market share of rail passenger transport rose slightly.
  • The volume sold in public road passenger transport stagnated:
    • The number of passengers using long-distance bus transport rose moderately once again de­­spite a slight increase in fares. FlixBus remains the market leader with a market share of 90%.
    • Local bus transport only benefited slightly from in­­­­creasing population and employment figures and only expanded its service offering moderately.
    • DB Group public road passenger transport contracted slightly due to a decline in demand for rural bus transport and loss of tenders in North­­ern Germany.
    • The market share of public road passenger transport remained stable.
  • Volume sold in air transport fell slightly:
    • Following the insolvency of Air Berlin during the previous year, it was not possible for the Lufthansa Group or easyJet to take over all of the available slots at German airports.
    • The market share remained unchanged.

Rail passenger transport and long-distance buses with significant growth in Europe

  • European rail passenger transport grew considerably by about 2.0% in 2018. In addition to the major European railway countries, many smaller railways also increased their volume sold:
    • In the Czech Republic, this was a result of continued supply and service improvements by the Czech state-owned railway CD and private providers RegioJet and Leo Express (+7.6%).
    • In France, this was a result of recovering demand for the French state-owned railway SNCF thanks to the launch of new high-speed lines (+4.7%).
    • In Italy, this was a result of increased punctuality and customer satisfaction in regional and long-distance transport services provided by the Italian state-owned railway FS (+2.6%).
    • In Spain, this was a result of the large-scale low-cost service EVA on high-speed lines and im­­provements to the quality of the Spanish state-owned railway RENFE (+2.4%).
    • Estonia, Finland and Lithuania recorded strong growth with some areas reaching double digits.
  • European long-distance bus transport grew moderately in 2018:
    • The market leader FlixBus continued to drive development and increased its passenger numbers by about 50% on average in 28 countries. The most dynamic development was achieved in Luxembourg, Norway, Sweden, Poland and Portugal. Demand also grew considerably in Belgium, the Czech Republic, Croatia, Hungary and Spain.
    • In response to the dominant position held by FlixBus, European long-distance bus operators (British Na­tional Express, French OUIBUS, Italian Marino Bus and Spanish ALSA) formed an alliance.

Order book in passenger transport declined

Revenues that are directly connected with transport contracts or concessions are either independent of (secured revenues, primarily concession fees) or dependent on (unsecured revenues, primarily revenues from fares) the number of passengers.

Order book in passenger transport

as of Dec 31 (€ billion)







DB Regional 1)










     unsecured 1)





DB Arriva

























     unsecured 1)





1) Previous year’s figure adjusted.

The order book declined during the year under review. Additions of about € 9.7 billion from the transport contracts awarded were offset by disposals (primarily due to services performed) of about € 12.3 billion and changes in assumptions of about € –1.3 billion (primarily due to exchange rate effects).

The secured revenues at DB Regional increased due to changes in the recognition of revenues from fares in gross contracts and the shift from unsecured to secured revenues as a result.

Number of BahnCard holders down slightly compared to previous year

Number umber of BahnCards
as of Dec 31 (thousand)














The number of BahnCard holders has fallen slightly. This was driven by a decline in the number of BahnCard 25 holders following the previous year’s significant growth, which was the result of a promotional campaign for the 25th anniversary of BahnCard no. 2. The number of BahnCard 50 and BahnCard 100 holders continued to increase.