For a long time the German rail company underestimated the competition to its services by long distance coach operators. Now under pressure, Deutsche Bahn promise to speed up connections and lower fares.
At a supervisory board meeting on Wednesday, the state-owned rail operator announced it will be launching a campaign which hopes to win over some fifty million new customers.
Deutsche Bahn’s plans include high speed train links to almost all cities in Germany. In addition, when current building projects are completed, journey times should be reduced on important services. Passengers will be able to purchase a new frequent traveler card for three instead of the current twelve months, enabling them to buy tickets at reduced prices. In future, charges for seat reservations in economy class will be dropped. Deutsche Bahn also wants to improve its mobile telephone reception and provide free Wi-Fi which is already available to first class passengers.
The aim is to offset growing competition from coach companies. According to media reports, the rail company’s turnover dropped by 1.3 percent to 4 billion Euros (4.25 billion US $) last year. Deutsche Bahn plans to invest a total of 12 billion Euros over the next fifteen years in its latest project.
ej,pw/sc (Reuters, afp, dpa)