Train late? You've got Rights!

The German lawgiver has passed a new law that not only clarifies your rights when traveling but also provides you with a new one. This article will let you know when you are entitled to taxi, hotel, costs when traveling with DB on short and long distance travel. It is all about the Act Adapting the Law on Railroad to the Directive (EU) no. 1371/2007 of the European Parliament of October 23, 2007 on the rights and duties of rail passengers (Directive on Passenger Rights - Implementing Act)


Situation: Train is Late for More than One Hour

For short and long distance trips, when your train is late for more than one hour you will be entitled to be reimbursed by a quarter and for more than two hours by half the price. Relevant is when you were supposed to arrive at your destination. Therefore you will be also entitled when you have to take the next and not the originally planed connecting because of a "delay in traffic (Verzögerung im Betriebsablauf)" even for only a few minutes. Expect that at some time, you will receive a refreshment in the train or at the next station. However, this is not applicable in trains where a reservation is required: InterCity Night Line or ICE Sprinter.


Note: The special surchage for ICE-Sprinter will reimbursed, when this train is late for more than 30 minutes – notwithstanding the above general rules.

Situation: After Midnight

When your train has a delay of more than 60 minutes and the clock shows midnight, you can either totally cancel the trip and have the full price reimbursed or continue on a different route. In the case that such delay requires you to take a hotel; the DB will have to pay. This rule is applicable until 5 a.m.

Situation: Short Distance

When you are only traveling short distance (50 km as on the ticket), your train has an hour delay and your delay is between 0:00 a.m. 5:00 a.m. you can ride a cab at the expense of DB – but only up to € 80. You will also have a taxi paid for when the last regular train of day is cancelled (§17 EVO).

When traveling short distances and the DB is 20 minutes late, you are entitled to use long distance trains (EC, IC and ICE) without surcharge or exchange of tickets. However, you will first have to pay and later be reimbursed.


You are not entitled to anything when the delay is not the sphere of influence of DeutscheBahn or could not have been prevented in spite of all due care. In other words, an Act of God or when an external interference hinders the train from being punctual. Imagine a lightning bolt hitting the overhead electric lines or a car stalling right on the tracks in a crossing. Another limit is the minimum claims limit of € 4; claims up to this amount can be refused.

Practical and Vital Hints:

When the train is late as described above, do make sure that you get the train conductor to note the delay on your ticket. Otherwise you will have a harder time proving that at this time it is not you that is late...

You need to fill a form that you will either receive at the info desk or online. Submit this form with the ticket and receipts to be reimbursed within one month after trip!

In the following cases, you may only apply for your reimbursement via the (Service Center Passenger Rights) Servicecenter Fahrgastrechte, 60647 Frankfurt am Main and not a ticket booth at your train station:

  • The train's delay was not confirmed on the form or only on your ticket while you were still on board,
  • You only want to submit a copy of your ticket,
  • You have special tickets like (e.g. Mobility BahnCard 100, Schönes-Wochenende-Ticket or Länder-Ticket [e.g. Sachsen-Ticket Single, Rheinland-Pfalz-Ticket])
  • You have a ticket for the car train,
  • You want to be reimbursed for necessary costs (e.g. taxi or hotel) due to delay

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Extra Help:

When your German is not sufficient to understand the form, give the LawFon 09001 529 366 10* a call and you will get an understandable explanation.


A new arbitration board has been instituted to deal with complaints on train service in general. When you disagree with the damages or reimbursement granted, please first address your complaint to the same agency with the wording "Ich lege hiermit Widerspruch gegen Ihre Entscheidung vom [Datum] ein ... (I herewith contest your decision of [date]". When even your complaint does not get the desired result, only then address an arbitration bureau.

Long Distance all over Germany

Schlichtungsstelle Mobilität
c/o Verkehrsclub Deutschland e.V. (VCD)
Postfach 61 02 49
10923 Berlin
Fax: 030 46 99 70 10
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Short Distance

Schlichtungsstelle Nahverkehr Berlin/Brandenburg/Sachsen-Anhalt
Postfach 12 06 26
10596 Berlin
Fax: 030 39 99 32 17
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Schlichtungsstelle Nahverkehr
Mintropstr. 27
40215 Düsseldorf
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Fax: 0211 3 80 96 66
Tel.: 0211 3 80 93 80
Ombudsstelle Nahverkehr Baden-Württemberg
c/o VDV-Landesgruppe Baden-Württemberg
Postfach 80 10 06
70510 Stuttgart
Tel.: 0711 78 85 72 01
Fax: 0711 78 85 72 02
email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Ombudsstelle Nahverkehr Bayern
c/o VDV-Landesgruppe Bayern
Postfach 202052
80020 München
Tel.: 089 4 70 24 84



National Enforcement Office


Postfach 200 565
53135 Bonn

* = (€2 / min. - cell phones might differ)



Additional information