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German railway stations ordered to go electronic

The Local · 5 Mar 2013, 10:24

Published: 05 Mar 2013 10:24 GMT+01:00

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The ruling from the Administrative Court of Cologne applies to some 1,900 stations or stops, some of which require passengers to call information hotlines to find out about schedule changes.

The case was made by Germany's Federal Railway Authority, an independent body tasked with the regulation of the country's train system, and followed an inspection of two stations in the northern state of Schleswig-Holstein.

While the company has signalled it will broadly accept the court's ruling, it is reportedly considering appealing in a few of cases, on the grounds of the economic feasibility of installing the new systems.

The rail giant is also unwilling to install the devices at stops with a daily footfall of less than a hundred.

Deutsche Bahn serves 5,500 stations and stops nationwide, two thirds of which are already fitted with electronic boards and public address systems.

Story continues below…

DPA/The Local/kkf

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

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Your comments about this article

11:58 March 5, 2013 by lucksi
It is pretty sad that you need a court order for that to happen. Now they just need to find a way to make the displays unlocatable, moody/rude and unknowing to fit in with DB service.
14:28 March 5, 2013 by Bigfoot76
Those displays are constantly malfunctioning. Windows vista perhaps?
17:19 March 5, 2013 by zeddriver
I'm sure that this will provide a convenient excuse to really jack up the cost of tickets.

I have yet to find the cost of riding the trains to be cheaper than driving a car anyway. Plus It takes a heck of a lot longer to get to where one is trying to go via the train. Then add in the highway robbery at the bahnhof car park. And it becomes an insult.
17:26 March 5, 2013 by scottfree
DB is the best rail system in the world. The closest is in Japan, and that doesn't cover the volume and distances in Germany. DB is Germany's favorite whipping boy, but this is completely unfounded. If anyone has experience with any other country rail systems please speak up. And no, postage-stamp-sized Switzerland isn't a realistic comparison. DB has no equal. It offers high quality trains, very good on-time record, excellent ticketing options, good prices when compared to driving costs, and excellent comfort. If anyone has any real complaints, and not just zu meckern, please jump in. But I guarantee up front you are wrong.
18:29 March 5, 2013 by michael4096
Be careful what you wish for. Don't want to create an expensive display system at a almost unused station: close the stop.

In Britain they had a brain wave - to stop train operators running late services, fine them for not being on time! Now late trains are a thing of the past - the train operators just cancel a service if it is going to be late. Instead of a late train, you get no train.
18:52 March 5, 2013 by lucksi
@Scottfree: I invite you to ask google/wikipedia as to see just how untrue your statements are. In a year: DB transported 2.3 billion passengers according to the statistical federal office. Rail passengers in Japan: 9.4 billion. Punctuality of DBs long distance trains: catastrophic compared to Japan (but better than most of the rest of the world)
19:37 March 5, 2013 by scottfree
@luksi: Read it again carefully. Germany has 2x times the track distances and the passengers are higher for long distance in Germany. Most of Japan's rail passengers are short distance such as between Tokyo and Yokohama. Also, Japan is an island. Germany hosts trains from at least 4 countries and with it passengers. And the distance is important when you are talking about total average ontime statistics. If you have higher distances, higher density, crossing more stations with more track complexity and you still have good on-time stats - that's incredible. Just think about it. Statistics you mentioned on wikipedia are not always comparable. So check the numbers carefully and report back.
20:20 March 5, 2013 by zeddriver

It's a much better system in Japan. I lived on the outskirts of Tokyo for 5 years. I used the trains all the time. Much more user friendly. In Japan. One can simply buy a cheap 50 yen ticket. Get on the train and go where ever you want. Then upon disembarkation show your ticket at a window and pay the rest of what you owe. That takes care of having to decipher the system. Or like I have found to be the case here in Germany. Is that as an auslander who just wants to see the sights. the system doesn't work very well. The system is set up for a German who knows precisely where they want to go. It does not lend it self to simply getting on a train with having bought a minimum ticket then getting off. And then pay what you owe. The German system sucks for a sightseer. So I don't bother. As I said. I have yet to find a fare that ended up being cheaper than taking my car.

Perhaps if I was a commuter that makes the same trip daily. It might be fine.
22:24 March 5, 2013 by scottfree

I understand that you might not understand the system, but I respectfully disagree with your points. First, there are Länder tickets. 30-35 Euro and you can go all over the state with friends. I live in BW, so it has great coverage. Then there are tickets such as EuroRail and InterRail, which are perfect for tourists. 5 days travel over 1 month etc. Perfect and easy. Then there are tickets specifically for DB. 5 days for 174 Euro etc. There is a ticket for just about ANYthing you would want to do! The site is in English and its simple. Buy it all online! It doesn't get easier. Anyone with an internet connection and a credit card is covered. Take 20 minutes and you'll understand it all.

Now lets talk cars. First, there is an investment of at least a 1-2K Euro for a very old junk car, or upwards of 30K for something nice and made in Germany. That's a serious upfront investment. Don't underestimate the real costs of driving. Now add taxes, which are not cheap in Germany 200+ Euros per year in most cases (that alone would pay for the DB 50 card). Then add insurance. Then add the actual costs of fuel per trip. Now go back and tell me that trains are expensive. That's just not true. Its only that we own cars since we believe in most cases they are critical to our lifestyle, and thus the costs are just factored in to our monthly costs. But that's hiding the real cost of the cars we drive. So take the plunge and use trains. They cost less, are more environmentally friendly, and get you there on time more often then your car will. Just look at the daily traffic and compare the few minutes you might be late on a train to the 30+ minutes you spend in your traffic jam.

We as humans simply don't compare the real costs and time it takes to use cars in Germany. The trains are better. And back to my point, they are better in Germany then anywhere else.

I've spent a lot of time in Japan, mostly based in Meguru ku in Tokyo and travelling north and south from there. The amount of times I've been crammed into a subway or a normal Japan train was hard to take. The amount of people makes it often uncomfortable. From my own anecdotal evidence, Germany is still better. Maybe the payments could be like in Japan, but don't use that as the reason why Japan is better.
23:59 March 5, 2013 by zeddriver
I live in a very small village in the forest. The bus doesn't even go near where the wife works. So we need a car. So that is a cost we will have anyway. But with my car on a holiday. I can say the following. Hey look at that over there. Put on the brakes make a turn and go there for a photo opp. or whatever. I demand the ability to change plans when i want. Remember. I'm not German and I don't plan my holidays to the minute on a spreadsheet around the German rail systems routes and schedules. God forbid should I want to go to a small village to see a castle ruin that's not near a train station. It's already a pain in the arse planning a holiday. And what if we see something that we want to buy. Oh joy. I get to carry around that lamp on a train. provided they would even let us on with it. I've had more success using Ryanair's web site than DB's.

I can say what I want about trains in japan versus Germany. It's just my opinion. As I already said. It was easy to use the trains in Japan. Even if they were full on occasion. The Japanese are so polite that it wasn't a bother. It has been much more difficult here. I liked the Paris underground better than DB. Although the ICE to Paris was good.
16:19 March 26, 2013 by franconia
@zeddriver I will bet that i am 1 1/2 hours faster at a castle on Lake Starnberg by train then you are by car, from Nuremberg. If you are not German, than you certainly have picked up their nasty habit of "Meckern". ( P.S. I am )
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