BERLIN, June 15 (Xinhua) -- The introduction of a new high-speed connection between Berlin and Munich in December has since witnessed a surge in passenger numbers recorded on the route, Deutsche Bahn announced on Friday.
Two million people travelled between the two German cities during the period, marking a more than two-fold increase compared with numbers recorded by the state-owned enterprise on the older route. Demand had hereby outpaced the expectations of the German National Railway Company which announced an increase in the number of daily fast connections between Berlin and Munich from six to ten in the course of the year.
Birgit Bohle, the head of long-distance travel at the German National Railway Company described the development as a "remarkable success" on Friday. Her company spent 10 billion euros (11.6 billion U.S. dollars) revamping the route in order to enable travelling speeds of up to 300 kilometers per hour.
Whereas the older rail connections between Berlin and Munich entailed a journey which could take as long as six hours, passengers can now travel the distance of 632 kilometers between the two cities in four hours. Berlin and Munich are Germany's largest and third-largest cities with a population of 3.4 million and 1.4 million respectively.
Deutsche Bahn is currently selling around 15,000 tickets per day for the new connection. As a consequence, the German National Railway Company was on track to reach its own annual goal of raising the total number of passengers transported between Berlin and Munich to 3.6 million in 2018.
The early success of the high-speed connection also reflected positively in the overall quarterly earnings of the German National Railway Company between January and April. In the first quarter of 2018 (Q1), the number of passengers for all civilian services offered increased by 3 percent compared with the same period last year.
Gross revenue in Q1 grew even faster by an annual rate of 7 percent. The German National Railway company explained to the press that the circumstance largely owed to the longer average duration of journeys booked by customers which were more profitable for the company.
Bohles further emphasized on Friday that the Berlin-Munich link also boasted an above-average performance with regards to punctuality. Some 84 percent of high-speed trains arrived within six minutes of their official schedule and hence "on time" according to the National Railway Company's definition.
The commercial success experienced by the state-owned enterprise on its new flagship route has also drawn attention from other providers of railway services in Germany. The private-sector company Flixtrain has recently filed a request with regulators to operate its own daily connection between Berlin and Munich from December onwards.