Train prices shouldn't increase due to failing quality, experts say
Due to the imperfect service offered by German national rail provider Deutsche Bahn, the company should refrain from increasing fares as planned, experts said Monday.
“It would be a welcome decision if Deutsche Bahn did not increase their prices this year,” transportation policy expert for the environmentalist Green party, Anton Hofreiter, told daily Berliner Zeitung.
“First the service, punctuality and cleanliness must be improved, then Deutsche Bahn can demand more money,” he added.
Passenger advocacy group Pro Bahn also rejected price increases.
“It would be a very important signal to travellers if Deutsche Bahn would hold off due to the many problems over the summer and last winter,” leader Peter Naumann told the paper.
While the company needs enough income in order to pay its employees, it must also provide good service, he added.
“This is not the case right now,” he said.
In recent months problems with Deutsche Bahn trains have made national headlines. During the particularly intense winter many trains were cancelled due to weather, while failed air conditioning over the hot summer created dangerous situations for passengers.
Rail expert for the Federation of German Consumer Organisations (VZVB), Holger Krawinkel, told Berliner Zeitung that passengers in Germany have become more sensitive to poor service quality on trains.
“With further price increases Deutsche Bahn would be risking massive numbers of customers walking away,” he said.