FROM August 1 German Railway introduces a revised suite of fares following heavy criticism and dissatisfaction among passengers with the arrangements launched last December. These required advanced booking and compulsory reservations to secure discounts on long-distance journeys, and quota controls limited the number of reduced tickets available. Speaking at the launch on July 2 in Berlin, DB Chairman Hartmut Mehdorn acknowledged that ’we had acceptance problems with our customers’, but insisted that the fares structure was not to blame for problems related to the economy and to competition from low-cost airlines (RG 7.03 p413).

Most significant change is the reintroduction of a railcard offering a 50% discount, although the price has risen to €400 for first class and €200 for second class. DB says that the cheaper railcard offering a 25% discount introduced last December proved popular, and this is being retained; purchase price is €100 for first and €50 for second class travel. The two railcards will be marketed as Bahncard 50 and Bahncard 25.

A further change is the launch of Bahncard 100, offering a year’s unrestricted travel on DB services for €5000 in first class and €3000 in second class. This replaces so-called Personal Network cards priced at €5250 and €3350 for first and second class respectively.

For less frequent travellers not wishing to purchase a railcard, DB now offers discounts of 50% or 25%. The 50% reduction is available for return tickets purchased three days in advance that include a Saturday night stay; if a weekend is not included, the reduction falls to 25%. Compulsory reservations are required, and both discounts are quota-controlled.