Consumer advocates are calling for free reservations

The discussion about a reservation requirement continues. From the point of view of consumer advocates, this should be possible free of charge. Deutsche Bahn continues to reject this.

The 1st f an ICE-4

BFrom the point of view of consumer advocates, long-distance travelers should be able to reserve a seat free of charge in the Corona crisis. “In addition to the mask requirement, distance is simply the best thing we can do at the moment,” said Klaus Müller, the board member of the Federal Association of Consumer Organizations, the German Press Agency. Trains shouldn’t be crowded.

“The railway must therefore use additional wagons on routes with a lot of traffic, use intelligent technology to equalize the occupancy in the train and give preference to passengers with a reservation,” said Müller. “Whereby the reservation fees in long-distance traffic should be omitted during Corona.”

Second-class passengers currently pay four euros for a reservation, and eight euros for a family. In the first class, on the other hand, the fixed seat is included in the flex and saver price. In the past few days there were again calls for a reservation requirement.

40 percent more or even completely for it

Deutsche Bahn has so far rejected this and did not want to add anything to it on Saturday. “Our customers appreciate the flexibility,” CEO Richard Lutz had recently emphasized again. For the railways, flexible boarding is also an important selling point in competition with airplanes.

According to Lutz, the group tries to use the booking system to avoid booking more than half of the seats on a train. Sometimes the train crew distribute the passengers in order to allow space. Cleaning, disinfection, ventilation and the requirement to wear a mask also meant that there was “virtually no risk of infection” on the trains, as Lutz explained.

Germans are divided on the question of the reservation requirement. On the one hand, 34 percent support the course of the railway, as a YouGov survey showed this week. On the other hand, 40 percent are more or even fully in favor of making the reservation compulsory.

“The federal police have to get him off the train”

The chairman of the conference of transport ministers, Saarland’s head of department Anke Rehlinger (SPD), said on Thursday on Bavarian radio that the question had not yet been finally clarified. The idea is basically correct, but practical questions are still open.

With the free reservation, Müller suggests a middle ground. “There is a dichotomy that cannot be resolved: between as many people as possible who should take the train again, and distance rules because of the corona pandemic.” However, rail has the opportunity to present itself as a safe and reliable means of transport.

The passenger association Pro Bahn reacted skeptically. “You can do that, but it won’t solve the problem,” he said honorary chairman Karl-Peter Naumann. So far, there is no evidence that there are many infections in long-distance traffic.

Pro Bahn, on the other hand, worries about local transport, where reservations are only possible in a few cases. “The problem is with the S-Bahn, the U-Bahn and the buses, when people are crowded, sometimes still out of breath because they ran.” There it must be checked more consistently that everyone is wearing masks. According to industry information, the number of mask refusers is increasing.

Consumer representative Müller called on Deutsche Bahn to respond in a more customer-friendly manner to violations of the mask requirement. “We hear that most consumers do not put on the mask of forgetfulness and negligence,” said Müller. In such cases, train attendants could help out with mouth and nose protection. “If you still refuse, the Federal Police have to get you off the train.”