Deutsche Bahn (DB) has committed to bring extensive changes to ticket distribution practices, following the investigations of the Bundeskartellamt, Germany’s independent competition authority. The new measures to be implemented will improve the ticket sale facilities of DB’s competitors. In 2014, the Bundeskartellamt has initiated proceedings against Deutsche Bahn AG on the suspicion that it has abused its dominant position in the sale of rail passenger tickets. At the time, DB’s competitors complained about the limited access to Deutsche Bahn’s sales channels.
Competition on the German rail passenger transport market was just given a new impetus, said Andreas Mundt, President of the Bundeskartellamt. “Deutsche Bahn has agreed to facilitate the ticket sale of its competitors. These may now, for example, sell tickets in railway station shops“, he added.
DB has agreed to significantly reduce and also to equalize the commissions requested for mutual ticket sales. Rail passenger operators will be allowed to sell tickets for Deutsche Bahn’s long-distance services at their ticket machines. This measure will specially help travelers in smaller stations, where Deutsche Bahn has no customer services and provides no ticket sales facilities. In addition, the access of DB’s competitors to selling tickets in station stores will be simplified. Until now, the in-station rental agreements have made ticket sale largely impossible to third parties, impacting the existence of competition. In future, DB’s competitors will have more freedom to customize the distribution of their tickets.
According to Deutsche Bahn, the Bundeskartellamt had not identified any breach of the antitrust rules. “We welcome this decision. With the agreement now achieved all market participants will receive maximum legal certainty. This will further promote the already dynamic sale competition, ” said Ronald Pofalla, Member of the Management Board of Deutsche Bahn AG for Economic, Legal and Regulatory Affairs.