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Minister blasts Deutsche Bahn over AC debacle

DPA/The Local · 22 Jul 2010, 10:16

Published: 22 Jul 2010 10:16 GMT+02:00

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Ramsauer told broadcaster Deutschlandfunk that the rail operator had “snatched all the possible savings there are,” ahead of a planned initial public offering, adding that such cuts would have an effect on the company's service.

Speaking ahead of a meeting between Deutsche Bahn boss Rüdiger Grube and the transport committee of the Bundestag, Ramsauer added that it would, however, be “too simple” to make a “direct, single-cause connection” between the savings measures and the breakdowns in the air conditioners on the high-speed ICE trains.

Deutsche Bahn has aimed for several years to float on the stock market, and has bought foreign transport operations while also trying to improve its bottom line to lure investors. The company plans to make an initial public offering when market conditions are favourable.

Ramsauer stressed cutbacks to boost the bottom line were not the only reason for the air conditioning debacle, which has affected at least 50 trains and resulted in several hospitalisations after the temperature rose to 50 degrees Celsius on one train on July 10.

The unusually high temperatures and the technical problems with older rolling stock were also to blame, he said. Therefore the precise causes had to be thoroughly investigated.

But Deutsche Bahn needed to improve its communications policy, he said.

He also described the €500 compensation Deutsche Bahn was offering to train travellers who needed medical treatment after air conditioners broke down as “appropriate.”

Story continues below…

Passengers association Pro Bahn, however, branded the amount insufficient.

“Anyone who had to be treated in hospital because of (the air conditioning failures) should not content themselves with €500,” Joachim Kemnitz, assistant to the Pro Bahn director, told daily Berliner Zeitung. “That doesn’t cover one trip in the ambulance.”

DPA/The Local (news@thelocal.de)

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Your comments about this article

14:36 July 22, 2010 by goody
When I was heading back to frankfurt airport from hanover I couldnt believe how hot and crowed the RB trian was.I couldnt get a reservation I had to stand all the way there people were all standing in the asiles .Thats ridiculous they should put extra train cars on the line If germany has enough money to give GREECE they should have enough for all there trains,If you would have been in Canada you would be sued for millions of $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$.
14:43 July 22, 2010 by retprob
The DB is just following the RB's procedures.They didn't air condition their trains,either...
17:39 July 22, 2010 by freechoice
the german government should find DB for providing free saunas for the german public. say maybe a billion dollar fine that will wake up the DB management.
07:27 July 23, 2010 by 1FCK_1FCK
Back in 2006 after the US-Italy match in Kaiserslautern, which over 40,000 people attended, DB didn't put on any extra trains, much less train cars. The train to Frankfurt was illegally over-crowded, with 3 passengers for every 1 seat. Reservations didn't matter. It was first come, first served. People were crowded onto the floors, etc. It was a nightmare. And that was 4 years ago. With the float now eminent it's no surprise service is going even further down hill. Nothing like the new wonderful world of neo-liberalism. Privatize everything until they own everything. The rest of us can go to hell, or die. Though they don't really want us to die, because they need us to work the minimum wage jobs which we'll grab since there are so many unemployed.
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