Deutsche Bahn trains at Leipzig Hbf (Photo: DB/Max Lautenschläger)

GERMANY: Environmental association BUND has called for Deutsche Bahn to ensure people can access all products including reduced fares, BahnCard discounts and seat reservations without creating an online account.

This follows DB’s decision that BahnCards would only be issued digitally and not as physical plastic cards.

‘Instead of removing barriers, Deutsche Bahn is building new ones’, commented BUND spokesperson Josephine Michalke on June 6. ‘By abolishing the BahnCard as a physical card, customers who are unwilling or unable to use purely digital services are excluded.’

BUND said DB should also be a ‘role model’ for data protection. The association recognised that using customer data would be helpful for improving services, but expressed concern that the train operator could create ‘movement profiles’ of its users.

‘As a corporation that is 100% owned by the federal government, and therefore by all of us, there is a special responsibility when it comes to data protection and data security’, said Michalke. ’DB must live up to this responsibility. We therefore expect that in the future, in addition to the BahnCard, all types of tickets, including Sparpreise [saver fares] and seat reservations, will continue to be available to purchase without a customer account and physically on site.’