Notices

Mad at DeutscheBahn

Reply

Oct 23rd, 2012, 08:57 PM
  #1
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
Posts: 2,799
Mad at DeutscheBahn

We made several train journeys while in Germany, and all were as efficient and easy as we'd expected, except one: on the day we had reserved seats on EC and IC trains from Salzburg to Rothenburg, the first train was delayed by more than an hour, so that we would not have arrived in time to catch the second train. The DB agent consulted his computer screen and ultimately put us on three different regional trains, so that we were ultimately only an hour late getting to Rothenburg. It was the getting there that was a problem...the "milk runs" had no reserved seats, and were very crowded, and there was no English signage or announcements made. There were also no digital readouts listing the upcoming stop, so I had to listen very hard to the announcements (in German) and then consult the wall map to try to decipher how close we were to our stop.

In addition, the agent had arranged it so that we had only 4 or 5 minutes between trains each time we transferred. So both of us 60 year-olds had to run through the stations, dragging our luggage, with no opportunity to get food or even water. There were no cafe cars (or potable water) on the regional trains, so we endured a journey of nearly 8 hours without any food or water.

I feel as though DB owes us some sort of refund, but am clueless as how to ask for this; the DB web site seems to have no "contact us" capability. I did ask the agent in Salzburg about this, but he said something to the effect that since my tickets were purchased online, he couldn't help us.

Any ideas?
azzure is offline  
Reply With Quote
Oct 23rd, 2012, 11:27 PM
  #2
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 5,497
DB has a process described at http://www.bahn.com/i/view/USA/en/se...overview.shtml.
greg is online now  
Reply With Quote
Oct 24th, 2012, 01:49 AM
  #3
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Posts: 14,843
actually DBs behaviour sounds about right but I can well understand (and share) your frustration and I look forward to hearing how you get on

My thoughts would be
1) Trains arrive late (Ah the myth of german perfection)
2) The milk run trains were crowded (pope is catholic etc)
3) No announcements in English (bears in woods)
4) Time between trains only 4 minutes (no surprise there then)
5) No food or water on milk run trains (yep)

Come on back with the results please
bilboburgler is offline  
Reply With Quote
Oct 24th, 2012, 02:50 AM
  #4
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
Posts: 9,017
LOL! This is standard procedure, noting to get mad about. If you're late for over one hour, you get refunded a few cents, maybe 5-6 Euro. The bahn is a pest, it's never on time. I'd rather stand an hour in a traffic jam, than sit on the floor onboard an ICE train. Just forget about it.

Nowadys, it's driving, even for shorter distances.
logos999 is offline  
Reply With Quote
Oct 24th, 2012, 02:58 AM
  #5
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
Posts: 9,017
And yes, it's true that since many people complained about "too much English" in the train stations, they have minimized using it. Why otoh would anybody, anywhere make announcements in foreign languages on local trains? imo quite an odd idea.
logos999 is offline  
Reply With Quote
Oct 24th, 2012, 09:09 AM
  #6
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
Posts: 2,799
Logos, I agree that regional trains need not have foreign language announcements -- US trains certainly do not. But some sort of readout listing the next station stop would certainly have been helpful.

I'm mostly upset about the no food/no water thing. I will try the DB web site that Greg has suggested.
azzure is offline  
Reply With Quote
Oct 24th, 2012, 09:20 AM
  #7
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
Posts: 9,017
Trying is good, if it reduces your frustration about DB. It'll just be futile. People here have found out how DB operates an have given up years ago. Just bearing it.
The 5€ aren't worth it. It's political lobbying that's responsable for all the mess DB is in.
logos999 is offline  
Reply With Quote
Oct 24th, 2012, 09:33 AM
  #8
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Posts: 66,595
If you took several train trips in Germany of similar link then perhaps you missed the boat on not buying a Germany Railpass that could be used on a hop on hop off basis on any train and can be as cheap per day as the cheapest discounted and restricted tickets if traveling several days. For others facing similar travel plans strongly look at the railpass - the more days the cheaper per day it becomes and again can give carte blanche freedom vs train-specific discounted tickets at the same or cheaper rate if traveling several times. with a railpass the OP would not have a complaint and could have taken any train - no 4 or 5 minute change times and if miss it just simply hop the next train.

Great sites for others to learn about German trains and railpasses IMO - www.seat61.com; www.budgeteuropetravel.com and www.ricksteves.com.
PalenQ is offline  
Reply With Quote
Oct 24th, 2012, 09:41 AM
  #9
 
Join Date: Jun 2003
Posts: 20,177
4 or 5 minutes to change trains in minor cities is normal in Europe.

Sounds like the French railways have better compensation policies than DB, though -- for just 30 minutes late, they already refund 25% of your fare.
kerouac is online now  
Reply With Quote
Oct 24th, 2012, 12:24 PM
  #10
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 5,497
My 2 cents on this subject starts with recognition that the market has shifted to do-it-yourself model. What it means is that it is up to the consumer to actively take steps to protect their interests. With access to info on internet, the lack of help from the provider side is roughly counteracted by consumers having access to information on other options. Without initiatives from the consumer side, the providers' interest is to supply least as possible. One can say the supplier failed to provide this and that, but in the end, most one can expect is what is covered by the fineprints, which is not much. When I take trips with several segments, I study the alternatives in case there are foul ups at different segments. Of course, the provide might give me suggestions, but under DYI model, I am the one who needs to decide if that suggestion is to my interest or not. I also try to design out risky connections such as needing to take the last transport of the day boat/train/bus, etc, with 5min connection time, etc.

Even if the train is equipped with digital display, it may not be working. I always note at least the station before where I need to get off. Having access to local smartphone data plan significantly facilitates last minutes trip planning, so that is what I usually do when I arrive in a new country: bee-line to a cellphone store.

Ah, the food. I got bitten by this on my first trip to Europe. The train had a restaurant car, but everything was sold out, really? I always grab picnic meals in town or at larger stations to avoid having to rely on food availability on board.
greg is online now  
Reply With Quote
Oct 24th, 2012, 02:03 PM
  #11
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 390
Azzure:

You are entitled to a refund of 25% of the fare if delayed by more than one hour and of 50% if delayed by more than two hours.

It happened to me this summer: I lost my connection at Mannheim and was delayed by 1 hour 23 minutes. I went to the ticket counter at my final destination (Halle) and got my refund in cash. They also credit your credit card.

Hope this helps.

Phil.
Phil is offline  
Reply With Quote
Oct 24th, 2012, 04:06 PM
  #12
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 824
Sorry this happened to you and hope you get your refund.

Once you got off your reserved schedule, you probably could have delayed catching a train along the way until the next came along and had lunch. The agent could have planned that for you. The hard part is figuring it out along the way. DB starts with the assumption that you want quick connections; you have to tell them otherwise. I realize Monday morning quarterbacking is pretty useless.

It might not have helped in your case, but I try to know how often trains travel to points along my route. For example, trains leave once an hour from Ansbach to Steinach (connection to Rothenburg). If I miss one, I can catch the next. I have used this knowledge to stop for an hour or so to visit a town.

I am also in my 60's and have told my wife, we are not running to catch any trains.

Good luck with your claim. Gary
Gary_Mc is offline  
Reply With Quote
Oct 24th, 2012, 04:12 PM
  #13
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
Posts: 2,799
Thanks - I am sending my details off to the DB Passenger Rights department. I have little hope of actually being compensated, but I will let you know what happens.
azzure is offline  
Reply With Quote
Oct 24th, 2012, 05:36 PM
  #14
 
Join Date: Aug 2008
Posts: 26,391
It's too bad this happened but trains get delayed. We found out it's always best to carry food in any journey, train or car and always water.

You certainly can't be miffed at a country for using their own langauge. If a German person was riding around on a public transportation in your area, what help would they find?
LSky is offline  
Reply With Quote
Oct 24th, 2012, 06:41 PM
  #15
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Posts: 1,738
I hope you get some satisfaction, too.

I must say that I rode numerous trains from and back to Frankfurt over a 2+ week period this summer--11 different days, ICE and IC and regional trains. I had an 8 day rail pass and bought a regional (or whatever it's called) day pass 3 other days. I had one cancelled train (one of only 3 "legs" --different trips--what is that word?--that I made reservations for the whole time) that sent me scurrying in confusion, wishing Iknew more German, as well as one seriously delayed (track ahead closed for over an hour) that sent be back to point A (Frankfurt) and since I had a railpass, I just worked out an alternate plan that I'd had in mind for another day. In all those days, several with 4-6 "legs" or different trips, I found the trains to be on time within 5-10 minutes well over 75 per cent of the time. Yes, those very few minutes to change platforms/trains sometimes made me a bit nervous, but in general I found them efficient. And I found the DB staff in every station while not smiling/glad-handing friendly to be helpful and efficient. And there was always at least one agent in every station, even small ones, who spoke enough English (most spoke plenty even though they always said "a little") to help me. I did LOVE the Railpass and would do it again. My husband also drove me around on 5 different weekend days and that of course has lots of advantages, but we found ourselves in stopped or very slow traffic on the autobahn a few times, and as I was traveling by myself during the weekdays, I'd never have been able to see what I saw by train if I'd tried to do it by car.

All that to say--there are no perfect modes of travel, and I'm spoiled by my freedom to drive here in south Texas, but I highly recommend the German rails (and a Railpass is often wonderful, and my experience with the DB staff was fine.)

And all this not to say that you shouldn't be seeking some sort of answer/maybe refund, but I just want to add my positive experience.
texasbookworm is offline  
Reply With Quote
Oct 24th, 2012, 11:12 PM
  #16
 
Join Date: Apr 2005
Posts: 795
I have just returned from Germany where I spent four weeks travelling around by regional trains, which were sometimes crowded, but also frequent. On several days, I also spent about eight hours on the train. However, I did not go the whole time without food or water. Instead, at about midday, at one of the change stations, I would stop for an hour or so, have a relaxed lunch, buy some more provisions for comsumption en route, then catch the NEXT train heading for my ultimate destination. Regional trains seem to run at one or two hourly intervals on most routes, so there is no real need to rush. However, generally speaking, I found the connection times between trains perfectly manageable, and I was able to get me and my luggage to the next train quite comfortably. I also do not speak German, so relied on the on-board route maps to tell me what stations were coming up. Every train I travelled on had such maps posted on the wall/ceiling of every carriage, so the information is readily available. You were unlucky to miss out on your reserved seat routine on IC and EC trains, but your description of travel on regional trains seems to be not only accurate but normal. The only unusual aspect is that you did not provide yourself with necessary food and drink before you boarded your first train where, I assume, you might have had time to do so.
adeben is offline  
Reply With Quote
Oct 25th, 2012, 01:31 AM
  #17
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 8,720
Thanks for your post. While perhaps not many will ever be in that predicament, it is most helpful to be forewarned. Eight hours without water could land some people in a hospital. We usually buy sandwiches and water at our first boarding station and this is a reminder to always be sure and allow time do so.
Sassafrass is online now  
Reply With Quote
Oct 25th, 2012, 10:12 AM
  #18
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
Posts: 2,799
Adeben - had I known there was no food or water on the regional trains, I would of course had supplied myself with provisions...I'm not stupid. It was my first time traveling on German trains, and I had no way of knowing this. It would have been nice if the station agent had let us know. It would also have been nice to know we had the alternative of catching a later train...the revised routing given to us didn't seem to allow for improvisation.

You were lucky to have route maps posted on the wall or ceiling of your trains. The trains I was in did not have them so conveniently posted; I had to go in search of them each time.
azzure is offline  
Reply With Quote
Oct 25th, 2012, 10:18 AM
  #19
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
Posts: 2,799
Adeben - had I known there was no food or water on the regional trains, I would of course had supplied myself with provisions...I'm not stupid. It was my first time traveling on German trains, and I had no way of knowing this. It would have been nice if the station agent had let us know. It would also have been nice to know we had the alternative of catching a later train...the revised routing given to us didn't seem to allow for improvisation.

You were lucky to have route maps posted on the wall or ceiling of your trains. The trains I was in did not have them so conveniently posted; I had to go in search of them each time.
azzure is offline  
Reply With Quote
Oct 25th, 2012, 10:20 AM
  #20
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
Posts: 2,799
Sorry for the double post.
azzure is offline  
Reply With Quote
 



Thread Tools
Search this Thread
Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are On



All times are GMT -8. The time now is 10:28 PM.