Although customers can continue to purchase long distance tickets from Deutsche Bahn (DB) or other sources in the future, it will be two (or more) tickets and they will be counted as two (or more) journeys.
If you switch between DB and ÖBB from 9.6. 2018 you will receive two tickets instead of one – with far-reaching consequences for passenger rights. “If a ticket has been booked for a travel chain, the passenger rights apply to eachsection individually,” writes Deutsche Bahn.
What does that mean in concrete terms? An example: A traveller wants to take the ICE train from Hamburg to Munich and change there to the ÖBB night train to Venice. But the ICE is 45 minutes late and the passenger misses his connection. According to the previous rules, the companies should have brought it to Venice – for example with Eurocity the next morning. The overnight stay in Munich would have been reimbursed to the passenger.
DB AND ÖBB ARE ROBBING THEIR OWN COSTUMERS
With the new rules, the passenger now receives nothing at all. Since the ICE is only 45 minutes late, Deutsche Bahn does not have to pay any compensation. ÖBB is also doing well: Your night train left on time. The traveller must now pay for his hotel himself and buy a new ticket for the Munich – Venice route. After all, the ÖBB ticket in Deutsche Bahn’s Eurocity is no longer valid the next morning.
“By dividing the travel chain into sections, DB and ÖBB are circumventing the passenger rights of the European Union,” criticizes Matthias Gastel, the Green Party spokesman for railway policy in the Bundestag. “DB and ÖBB are robbing their own customers and depriving them of their right to fare refunds and accommodation costs.”
NEW: AGREEMENT DB-ÖBB NIGHTJET (16.4.18)
Is looks as good news. But is all now in good order? The decisive point is this condition:
“Die Regelung gelte aber nur für Tickets, welche in einem Buchungsvorgang erworben wurden.”
That means that DB and ÖBB consider their agreement being »Kulanz« (»ex gratia«) in Latin/English and not being a clear consequence of European law.
The limit the agreement to »tickets which have been purchased in one single booking procedure«.
This restriction contradicts European rules which consider a »journey« being a »single journey« even when several tickets are issued.
Questions can arise what is meant by »in einem Buchungsvorgang«: what happens if a customer cannot order special features in one step (e. g. bicycle transport), or if a special offer of DB (»Sparpreis Ausland«) cannot be combined with ÖBB night trains on the same ticket? This customer might do two bookings on the same platform within five minutes: does this ban him from the agreement or is he still included? We dont know.
EU passenger rights should always apply to the whole journey. The fact is that no railway company is willing to sell a tickets from, let’s say: Stockholm to Madrid in a way it is not including a burden and a risk for the passenger.
>> The agreement (German)
>> German minister Barley is not happy with this situation, read in Spiegel online (German)
>> If you can read German, take a look at the alternative DB 2017 report from Bahn für Alle.