Two weeks before the start of the Germany ticket, consumer advocates warned of a restriction of passenger rights for users of the new ticket.
"Users of the Deutschlandticket are in danger of becoming second-class public transport customers," said Marion Jungbluth, mobility expert at the Federal Association of Consumer Organizations, the German Press Agency before a hearing in the Bundestag's Transport Committee. "Passenger rights must not be restricted."
The reason for this is the "IC or ICE" option, which is not so well known but is very practical for passengers: if a local train is expected to arrive at its destination with a delay of at least 20 minutes, passengers with a pure local transport ticket can also use a faster long-distance train for this route . Passengers must first pay for the additional ticket themselves, but are entitled to a refund.
However, travelers with a Germany ticket could be excluded from the "IC or ICE option". Jungbluth said that railway companies apparently feared overcrowded cars if Deutschlandticket users switched to higher-quality trains. However, restricting passenger rights destroys trust in rail transport.
Hearing in the Transport Committee of the Bundestag
The Ministry of Transport refers to the possible regulation on an explicit wish of the industry. "All in all, the Deutschlandticket provides significant financial relief while at the same time expanding the range of services and is therefore also a significant improvement for travelers in local transport in terms of consumer friendliness," said a spokesman. A hearing on an amendment to the General Railway Act due to EU requirements is being held in the Bundestag's Transport Committee. In the course of this, the railway traffic ordinance and thus also the compensation regulation are to be changed.
Jungbluth said that the combination of a Germany ticket and a long-distance train ticket would mean that passenger rights would not apply to the entire connection. In concrete terms, this means that anyone who travels to a train station with the Deutschlandticket but misses a booked ICE train due to delays in local transport, for example, is not entitled to compensation.
In this case, the customers would have concluded two transport contracts, which would be considered separately in terms of passenger law, according to DB. "Deutsche Bahn should enable the integration of the Germany ticket so that travelers are protected throughout the journey. That would increase customer satisfaction and make rail travel more attractive," said Jungbluth.