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Deutsche Bahn loses case against rival bus service

The Local · 20 Apr 2011, 14:51

Published: 20 Apr 2011 14:51 GMT+02:00

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Deutsche Bahn not only operates the country’s rail network, it is also the biggest German bus operator. It owns Bex, Autokraft and Regiobus Dresden, which in 2009 ran 22 routes and served 700,000 passengers.

But it cannot close down an initiative called Deinbus started by a group of students which challenges the traditional way of managing bus routes. They arrange bus trips for a particular route on a particular day – once at least ten people have registered online for it.

They were granted permission to start their company by the Lake Constance local authority but this was challenged by Deutsche Bahn which made a legal complaint.

Initially the Bahn seemed en route to victory, with a chamber of commerce ruling against Deinbus, arguing that a 1930s law forbids bus services on routes already served by the Bahn unless they offer a ‘significant improvement’.

But Frankfurt District Court on Wednesday rejected its complaint and said the authority had been correct to award an operating license.

The fact that Deinbus does not offer regular services, rather arranging bus trips as and when passengers want to travel, meant they were not covered by the ban.

“We couldn’t be happier,” said Alexander Kuhr, one of the Deinbus founders, shortly after the verdict.

“We want to now offer more trips and to grow further,” he said, adding that the attempt by Deutsche Bahn to close them down had only generated publicity for his company.

Story continues below…

Deutsche Bahn did not attend the hearing but later issued a statement saying it was going to check the verdict before deciding on whether to appeal.


The Local (news@thelocal.de)

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Your comments about this article

17:39 April 20, 2011 by Ludinwolf
This country amazes me *sarcasm* how it is so entrepreneur friendly.

Innovating here is just allowed if no elderly chap gets cracked.

Germany... one of the most ( wow ) ,.. one of the MOST unfriendly country for business.
04:33 April 21, 2011 by vonSchwerin
"a 1930s law forbids bus services on routes already served by the Bahn unless they offer a ¦#39;significant improvement¦#39;"

How many 1930s laws are on the books? And is this one from 1930-1932 or 1933-1939? Just curious.

At any rate, the economic situation of Germany has changed a lot since the World Economic Crisis of the 1930s. Maybe it's time to ditch such patently outmoded, customer-unfriendly laws.
11:39 April 21, 2011 by michael4096
Offering a full or partial monopoly in return for infrastructure investment such as a railway service is done in about every country in the world. Nothing particularly German about it.
09:22 April 22, 2011 by catjones
@michael4096...can you site an example in the U.S.?
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