• Germany's news in English
 
jobs_header_v3

EU plans threaten to break up Deutsche Bahn

The Local · 17 Dec 2012, 11:37

Published: 17 Dec 2012 11:37 GMT+01:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

EU Transport Commissioner Siim Kallas is to unveil a raft of new measures in January that will radically open Europe's rail markets and seriously affect Deutsche Bahn's business, Die Welt newspaper reported on Monday.

Kallas wants to turn Europe into a single large network, abolishing previous monopoly structures.

In the proposal, quoted in the paper, Kallas wrote that the aim was to prevent "conflicts of interest" within network operators, and abolish "the potential for cross-financing that occurs in integrated structures." He believes the move will foster greater efficiency and save European taxpayers €23 billion.

The commissioner is supported by a recent EU survey which found that only 46 percent of Europeans are satisfied with their national rail service, and that trains have the lowest satisfaction ratings of any public transport system.

Deutsche Bahn CEO Rüdiger Grube told Die Welt that resisting Kallas' plans is one of his top priorities. He said the measures would mean that the separation of Germany's rail network ownership and train operations would come in December 2019, four years earlier than previously planned.

The German government has also consistently opposed the plans.

The Local/bk

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit


Your comments about this article

12:14 December 17, 2012 by pepsionice
After having traveled via a number of European rail systems....I would come to say that the Bahn is the best run system of all. They rarely if ever, run late. The accommodations are generally good (unless in the heat of the summer with the two-star HVAC systems they have). I don't don't think splitting it up would save any money in the long-run.
13:42 December 17, 2012 by Karl_Berlin
It cannot be the case that it is cheaper for me to rent a car, fill it with petrol and drive me and my girlfriend to Jena and back than it is for us to get 2 second-class return train tickets with Bahncard 2 reductions.

Go check out Interconnex to see how much cheaper tickets can be once DB's grip is loosened.
13:44 December 17, 2012 by thinktwice
@pepsionice: I have traveled via a number of railways too, but nowhere have I seen such ridiculous delays and high prices as with DB. The only thing they have better than others are the toilets.

Quoted from "Deutsche Welle" (http://www.dw.de/deutsche-bahn-to-publish-monthly-punctuality-statistics-online/a-15277541)

"A study of 20 German railway stations published by the consumer advocacy group Stiftung Warentest in February found that only 32 percent of long-distance trains arrived on time. To make matters worse, three out of four high-speed ICE trains were delayed."
15:21 December 17, 2012 by LecteurX
Yep, I second comments #2 and 3. Deutsche Bahn is a decent railway operator, but its fares are far too high and the "Leistung" is not that great for the price you pay. France's SNCF or Spain's RENFE generally offer better value for money for routes of comparable sizes as the German long-distance, high-speed lines.

I travel to Cologne from Berlin a couple of times per year and flying there is always considerably cheaper than taking the train (I don't have a BahnCard, but then I'm not entitled to any discounts on flights either). Driving there is longer than taking the train, but also cheaper still. How can that be? I like travelling by train, whether slow or fast. Unfortunately, in Germany it is a luxury I can seldom afford.
15:34 December 17, 2012 by Berlin fuer alles
What puzzles me is how DB got away with a monopoly for so long. Freedom to trade within the EU should have meant other train operators can compete for business in Germany. You can be sure if this happened in another EU country the Germans would be complaining about not getting access to these markets.
16:02 December 17, 2012 by JDee
DB own and operate both passenger and extensive freight operations within the UK ( where the rail market is liberated ). Therefore their stance is totally hypocritical.

Generally it should be a good thing, but operators have to be regulated to ensure they meet a minimum requirement of customer service. They should also put in places rules to avoid the fare debacle that exists in the UK.
17:04 December 17, 2012 by Gary K. Taylor
I would never say that the Deutsche Bahn is perfect. Nothing created by human beings is. However, it is a valuable asset to Germany. Margret Thatcher's break-up of British Rail into 9 private companies has been an unmitigated disaster. We will live to regret DB's demise.

Let us consider its strengths and weaknesses. On the plus side, it is making money. It is not a financial black hole for the government. The government only pays for infrastructure improvements such as new high-speed rail lines and station modernizations. An that is not a bad deal for the people. Its cross countrry and international rail service is reasonably good - not perfect - but just ask visitors from countries like the United States, and they will rave about its excellence compared to railroads in most other countries. Many less profitable routes have been successfully transferred Privatbahnen - thereby accutally expanding service to more places than were the case a generation ago.

On the downside, there is an urgent need to restructure train fares so that more people can afford to use the Deutsche Bahn. It would be desireable as well to strengthen the role that Regio Trains play in the DB network. People should be able to travel greater distances (Passau to Nürnberg, München to Stuttgart or Frankfurt, Hannover to Berlin, for example) on the Regios without constantly changing trains.

The Deutsche Bahn is far from being a disaster. It can be easily improved. Moreover, the day is coming when petroleum supplies will be limited, and petroleum prices will be exhorbitant. When it comes to the EU's plans to break-up Deutsche Bahn and other national railways, Germany should just say no.

- Gary K. Taylor
08:42 December 18, 2012 by frankiep
@JDee

DB may be in the UK thanks to the fact that the rail market is "liberated" but that is not the point. I have spent some time traveling around the UK and, of course, Germany. In Germany, my first choice is always to take the train to whichever city I have to go to. In the UK, taking the train is an option that never even crosses my mind.

I have a very bad feeling that the passenger rail system in Germany will turn into a bad joke, like it is in the US, if this proposal goes through. As it stands now, Germany's passenger rail system is one of the best in the world (really). Some improvements can definitely be made, but to scrap the entire organisational structure in favor of something completely different just doesn't make any sense.
11:57 December 18, 2012 by darwiniandemon
Honestly, for the price you pay for the DB, the service is unrealiable, inconsistent, and overall a dreadful experience.

Having moved to Switzerland 1.5 years ago, the SBB/CFF is a clear and perfect example how to run a rail network. Always on-time, clean, and friendly. And a 3 minute delay is really a 3 minute delay. A 5 minute verspätung on the DB can range from 5 minutes delay to the train being cancelled.

Albeit the fare is a little higher, the service is excellent. With a half-tax card, the prices are comparable to DB.
14:02 December 18, 2012 by DocEllis
This would be great news, IF: Prices would come down and available service would expand. More stops longer hours.

DB is not going to like this at all.doc
15:20 December 18, 2012 by franconia
Only the Germans complain, they are World Champion in complaining. Break up DB and you have a Deutsche Amtrak.
08:41 December 19, 2012 by murka
European rail system is ridiculously eclectic, given the relatively short distances. Where are the trains Aberdeen-Athen, Stockholm-Naples, Riga-Lisbon and like? 10 changes you say? Just ridiculous.
17:00 December 19, 2012 by jg.
"DB may be in the UK thanks to the fact that the rail market is "liberated" but that is not the point. I have spent some time traveling around the UK and, of course, Germany. In Germany, my first choice is always to take the train to whichever city I have to go to. In the UK, taking the train is an option that never even crosses my mind."

It is the point. If it was OK to force the UK and other EU member states to liberalise their railways, telecommunications, energy and utility companies - allowing French and German companies to buy them up, then the Germans and French should be made to follow the same rules. The UK is always in the firing line for being such bad Europeans but it is the big two that are evading all the rules and directives that they voted for.
Today's headlines
Nazi POW leaves estate to 'kind' Scottish village
The former German soldier stayed on to work in the Perthshire village for a time after the war. Photo: Andy Buchanan / AFP file picture

A former Nazi prisoner of war has left his entire estate in his will to a small village in Scotland to show his appreciation for the kindness he received there during his captivity.

US tries to block Chinese purchase of Aixtron
Photo: Oliver Berg / DPA / AFP

US President Barack Obama on Friday moved to block a Chinese company's purchase of German semiconductor equipment maker Aixtron by rejecting the inclusion of Aixtron's US business in the deal.

Merkel to chart 2017 election battle at party congress
Photo: Tobias Schwarz / AFP

After Donald Trump's shock victory, Francois Hollande's decision not to seek re-election and populism on the rise, German Chancellor Angela Merkel is next up on the campaign podium to set out her strategy for winning in 2017 polls.

Berlin vs Munich: whose newborn polar bear is cuter?
Berlin's (left) and Munich's (right) newborn bears. Photos: Tierpark Berlin / DPA

Both city zoos welcomed baby polar bears into the world in November, with Berlin zoo its releasing first photos on Friday. But which one is more adorable?

Learn how to speak German like a silver screen icon
Dirty Harry. Photo: DPA

We all agree that there is no other option than to learn irregular German verbs by rote. But when you want a bit of downtime, why not learn from your big screen heroes?

Stolen Dachau 'Work will set you free' gate found: police
The entrance to Sachsenhausen concentration camp. Photo: DPA

An iron gate from the former Nazi concentration camp in Germany's Dachau with the slogan "Arbeit macht frei" ("Work will set you free") has been found two years after it was stolen, police said Friday.

Mystery flight path artist draws new message in sky
Photo: DPA

A pilot who likes to draw patterns in the sky using his flight path has returned with his greatest artwork yet.

Berlin 'abusing power' to stop Snowden coming to Germany
Edward Snowden. Photo: DPA

Opposition parties have accused the coalition government of overstepping its authority in its attempt to block American whistleblower Edward Snowden's trip to Germany.

Germany gains record number of Michelin-star restaurants
Head of the Michelin Guide, Michael Ellis (centre) with Michelin-star chefs at a presentation in Berlin. Photo: DPA.

Germany had a slew of newly minted Michelin-star restaurants this year, and its top-rated establishments held onto their prestigious three stars.

At last: Germany passes major disabled rights reform
People in wheelchairs watch as the German parliament deliberates on the new disability rights reform. Photo: DPA.

For years people with disabilities in Germany have called for legislation to provide them with better benefits and opportunities in life and work. On Thursday the German parliament passed such a reform - but is it enough?

Lifestyle
10 German Christmas cookies you have to bake this winter
Sponsored Article
The key to launching your international career
Lifestyle
Our 10-step guide for doing Christmas just like a German
National
Here's why so many Germans vote for the far-right AfD
National
7 events in Germany that'll make December unforgettable
Lifestyle
7 frosty German sayings to make you a winter wordsmith
National
This is how unequal German society has become
National
Six things you should know about the Lufthansa strike
National
9 ways living in Germany will make you a better person
National
These 10 German Christmas markets cannot be missed
Features
8 German words that unlock amazing secrets in English
Culture
10 German words with simply hilarious literal translations
Lifestyle
7 things Germans do that make foreigners feel awkward
International
Why Donald Trump's grandad was booted out of Germany
National
This is what is really inside your Döner kebab
National
Rejoice! Christmas markets start opening across Germany
Education
These German universities are best at landing you a job
Travel
Why Heidelberg is Germany's most inspiring city
Lifestyle
This soppy German Christmas ad will bring you to tears
National
Here's where Germans speak the best (and worst) English
Culture
10 German books you have to read before you die
Culture
U-Bahn train found filled with autumn foliage in Berlin
Features
Seven German words that unlock amazing secrets about English
Travel
Germany's ten most beautiful towns you've never visited
6,591
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd