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Deutsche Bahn faces long-distance bus rivals

The Local · 3 Dec 2009, 15:41

Published: 03 Dec 2009 15:41 GMT+01:00

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Deutsche Bahn already faces unwanted competition from French peer SNCF, which has said it intends to compete on major European routes and inter-city service in Germany.

Most long-haul bus services are currently banned within Germany to protect the rail service from competition, but this could end by 2011 pending approval of details in the coalition contract between Angela Merkel’s conservative Christian Democrats and her junior coalition partners the Free Democrats.

“There are already companies in the starting gate,” head of the International Coach Tourism Federation Dieter Gauf told the paper. “When the law goes down they’ll go for it.”

Coach service between large and medium German cities could be offered at prices some 30 to 40 percent lower than Deutsche Bahn prices, head of the BDO association of German omnibus companies Martin Kaßler said. The demand for the service on the few lines already allowed to operate within the country is high he said, citing some 400,000 passengers per year between Berlin and Hamburg.

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Since 1931 all long-haul bus services, except those that travel to and from Berlin, have been restricted in Germany. Only bus companies that apply for a special Deutsche Bahn-approved permit can get around the ban.

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

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Your comments about this article

16:47 December 3, 2009 by questionsasker
YES faster, DB takes 5 hours with regional trains from Mannheim to Erlangen, and while the roads between the two cities are 255Km, the DB route is 370Km with 4 umsteigung and associated delays. So, a bus doing 100Km/h would need 2 and half hours not 5!!!
17:11 December 3, 2009 by dtexpat
2.5 hour on A6? Yeah - ok - whatever. I have yet to make it from Mannheim to Heilbronn in less than 1.5 hours thanks to the Continual Construction Zone.

This is EXACTLY what the autobahns need - more big honking vehicles on them to add a little excitement to the elephant races !
19:15 December 3, 2009 by berlinski
dtexpat "This is EXACTLY what the autobahns need - more big honking vehicles on them to add a little excitement to the elephant races ! "

Maybe with these big vehicles on the more than adequate Autobahns, there will be less need to take the car. At the moment, the choice is either expensive DB train tickets or take the car. The bus service will make it possible for many people to leave the car behind for long journeys.
19:56 December 3, 2009 by pepsionice
In my case....for Kaiserslautern.....if you wanted to go up to Wiesbaden to shop....it'd take around two hours to make the trip up there. A Bus can make the trip in 70 minutes....and actually drop you off in the middle of the shopping district.

I could see a bus leaving daily from K-town to make a run like this and probably costing less than 22 Euro round-trip.
21:55 December 3, 2009 by dtexpat
I can't see many more people taking the bus on their holiday vacations that don't already take the train. Can you just imagine the glorous time we would all have on a bus packed with vacationing kids?

Most of the north-south autobahns are so jacked up during the summer due to the never ending cycle of construction mixed with the continual flood of semi's that adding buses will only prove to make the congestion even worse.
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