How Deutsche Bahn wants to make it easier to find seats on crowded trains

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You know the feeling: a train arrives at a station in Germany and certain cars look to be completely full, while others have plenty of seats still available – but you have to run the length of the platform to get to the right car before the train takes off without you.

Deutsche Bahn is looking to stop you from having to make that frantic run, by letting you know which carriages are freer ahead of time.


Both the DB app and its displays on train platforms already show which cars will stop at what spots in the platform when the train comes in. That’s how you know where the first class car will stop, for example. DB will add a kind of traffic-light system to these displays. Red will show up on the display next to a car that’s completely full. Yellow will stand in for a car that’s already got a fair few passengers riding in it. Green will show up next to cars that are mostly empty.

The new system, powered by door counters to measure who is going in or out, is aimed at making the boarding process more efficient – thereby reducing delays.

How many trains will get this?

Deutsche Bahn wants at least a quarter of all regional trains to have this technology by the end of 2024. S-Bahn riders in both Hamburg and Stuttgart will start noticing the new traffic light system on some trains this month.

In February, it’ll get rolled out on routes between Hamburg and Lübeck.

Cities on the Rhine and Main rivers, such as both Frankfurt and Mainz, should start noticing the system on some trains beginning in April.

And finally, the system is slated to come to the Berlin S-Bahn in May.

READ ALSO: More staff, longer transfer times: How rail travel in Germany is being improved