Deutsche Bahn is discontinuing another sales channel for long-distance tickets. With a few exceptions, travelers will no longer be able to purchase their tickets by telephone on (030) 2970 from May. The company confirmed this on Tuesday when asked by stern.
The reason is the low usage of the offer. "Because less than 0.5 percent of all long-distance ticket sales are still made via the hotline today," said a spokesman for Deutsche Bahn. 80 percent of travelers now buy their tickets digitally.
Until now, it was also possible to order train tickets for ICE, IC and EC services over the phone and then receive them by post or pick them up from a ticket machine. This will soon be over.
Despite the decision, the Deutsche Bahn service number should remain active around the clock, including for timetable information and general information. "You can still book offers that are not yet available digitally by telephone," says the company. According to Bahn information, this includes, for example, tickets for group travel or certain international connections. "We would like to concentrate even more on telephone travel advice in the future," the spokesman continued.
Criticism of the state-owned company's decision comes from the Pro Bahn passenger association. "Here, the possibility of booking tickets for a fringe group of passengers is abolished," said federal chairman Detlef Neuss to stern. The association sees the profit orientation of the railways as a problem. "If the number of ticket bookings by phone decreases, then this service is no longer economically viable." Pro Bahn proposes separating ticket sales for long-distance transport from the public limited company and "operating it economically in the sense of public services".
The cessation of ticket sales by telephone is the second cancellation of a sales channel within a short period of time. At the beginning of last year, Deutsche Bahn stopped the traditional sale of tickets from the conductors directly on the train (stern reported). At that time, too, the reason was: too little use by travellers. Instead, they have the option of buying a ticket digitally via the DB Navigator app and the website up to ten minutes after the train has departed.
Deutsche Bahn also recommends booking via the app and website to all those who have previously bought tickets by telephone. If necessary, the employees of the hotline will also be advised on the digital purchase of tickets, the railway spokesman promises. In addition, the travel centers, sales agencies and ticket machines are still available for purchasing tickets.
Anyone who is dependent on barrier-free travel can still contact the Deutsche Bahn mobility center on (030) 65212888 when planning and booking.
Sources: Deutsche Bahn, Pro Bahn