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Bahn CEO intervenes after railway gives teen wine as redress

The Local · 8 Feb 2010, 11:51

Published: 08 Feb 2010 11:51 GMT+01:00

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One day after the gift was given to the girl’s family, Grube called them to promise “something better” for their troubles, news magazine Focus reported.

Two weeks ago, the girl was forced to disembark a train at a closed station late at night when the temperature had dropped to -18 degrees Celsius because she was short on ticket fare.

The girl, identified as Jennifer, had been in Berlin visiting a friend, and assumed that the cost of her trip home to Groß Köris would equal that of her ticket into the city. But the train conductor informed the teenager that she had to pay an additional €2 to buy her ticket on board.

When Jennifer failed to produce the extra cash, the conductor forced her to disembark, refusing to speak with her mother on her mobile phone.

The incident was the latest in a string of controversial measures taken against children without proper tickets, but happened despite new measures instituted by the rail company that forbid employees from forcing children from their trains.

Story continues below…

While the company called Jennifer’s case “totally unacceptable” and promised to remedy the situation, her family apparently received only a bottle of wine and a discount Schönes Wochenende weekend ticket, the magazine said.

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

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Your comments about this article

12:20 February 8, 2010 by BR549
This is a situation that proves "common sense" isn't so "common"! I think the DB CEO should replace those involved in this incident from the conductor to the manager who followed up and re-institue those measures agressively. Idiots....
14:02 February 8, 2010 by Sibo
the question is wasn't there anyone among the passengers on that train who could give that girl 2 euros. Shame on some people, guess they were busy minding their own stupid business
15:23 February 8, 2010 by hanskarl
perhaps a year of free passes for this young lady and a bottle of red and white wine a month for the family where these costs are deducted from the pay checks of the conductor through the manager would suffice.
16:41 February 8, 2010 by Henckel
In the USA, this would not only be in poor taste, but also illegal. The drinking age in the United States is 21.
17:27 February 8, 2010 by journette
This was an epic fail in terms of training ticket inspectors. In Melbourne, which also uses ticket inspectors, there are still sporadic reports of bullying and excessive use of force by these inspectors. Most of my experience with German ticket inspectors has been pleasant, so this might be overreacting over one incident (I draw on my own firsthand observations of Melbourne ticket inspectors, which has overall been a lot less satisfactory), but I do think that when you put people in positions of power like this, recruitment should involve some kind of screening/psychological assessment process along with good training.
17:36 February 8, 2010 by Dogs_Gonads
@ Sibo.

Yes ,all the other passengers offered to pay the difference.

Take this as you like, but Germans love uniforms.

@ journette

They do get good training and the like.See last comment darüber. ^
17:37 February 8, 2010 by Legal E
Ah. Yes, its the think I like about Germany. Rule book and the thing I really hate. Rule book. No right or left but just the rule book. So what its -18C you have not paid, Get off. If you die that is not my problem as I done my job to the rule book... and a bottle of wine shows how high their ivory towers are in the sky.... now I am going to make a nice cup of TEA:
19:02 February 8, 2010 by D R Jones
Isn't it a damn shame that an employee couldn't see that he/she needed to ignore the rule when it placed a teenager's life in jeopordy? Perhaps large companies in Germany are like the ones here in the U.S. Employees are so afraid of being fired that they no longer use good common sense. Who is to blame the employee or the company that treats their employees like slaves?
20:24 February 8, 2010 by lordkorner
I just don't know,stories like this just want to make you hang your head in shame,shame on the conductor,has he/she a daughter ,niece,little sister who they would wish this treatment on, and yeah shame on the fellow passengers. As for the compensation ,that just beggars believe ,There are a lot of things that I love about this country and then again some thing you hear just make you wonder...
22:46 February 8, 2010 by ColoSlim
Sibo is right. Nobody was acting rationally that night. Step in people and help each other out.
00:07 February 9, 2010 by Geoff DeVere
The actions of DB Bahn seem a little extreme. But personally, I think the bottle of wine was a nice gesture.

Geoffrey "Ragnar" DeVere

2720 NW Pettygrove St.

Portland, OR 97210

3163 S. Pacific St.

Tolovana Park, Or 97145
04:11 February 9, 2010 by SilberFuchs
Geoff - why are listing your addresses?

No one offered to send YOU any wine! ;-)
04:52 February 9, 2010 by wood artist
Mein Gott! There are two people in Oregon who read the Local?

In the simplest of terms, the original fare inspector/conductor did not apply the least bit of common sense here. As someone else observed, there are rules, but this was a time when something more than that was required. First, she should have simply allowed the girl to ride. Given what I've read, I'll bet the girl would have been happy to return later with the additional 2 Euros. Even if she didn't offer that, I'd still let her ride. And, when the other passengers offered to make up the difference, she should have allowed that. Why not? What possible thinking would disallow that?

Now, after the original error was made, and the results made public, DB screws it up even further by offering...a bottle of wine? Maybe I'm missing something in German culture, but the wine sounds like a really poor bribe.

The local manager should have met with the family and the girl, apologized for the actions of his employee, and made it clear that DB will make the changes necessary to insure it never happens again. Nothing they can do will change what the girl went through, but an offer of a year's pass for the family...or something like that...would at least demonstrate that they really did understand the problem and want to make amends.

Fail...about 300 different ways!
14:18 February 10, 2010 by beeker
Make that thee people in Oregon.

Sure a bit of common sense would of been good in the situation. DB management sounds like they are GM or Chrysler trained execs. Don't care about customers, workers, or stock holders (taxpayers in DB's case)
19:16 February 10, 2010 by kent
chalk up another EPIC FAIL to the overly authoritarian totalitarian uniformed masters of ORDER and DISCIPLINE the german establishment.
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