And every year the groundhog says hello. It's been just a year since Deutsche Bahn announced the last price increase, now the next one will follow. This time it is up to seven percent that a ticket will cost more.
"Like many other companies, Deutsche Bahn is also forced to react to the massive price increases by adjusting prices," says the statement with which the group wants to sell the price increase to its millions of customers. With this sentence alone, Deutsche Bahn unmasks itself.
The convenient reference to the "many other companies" diverts the focus from one's own strategy. Taking responsibility for your own actions looks different. The group feels “forced”, just as if there were no alternative.
A look at Spain, whose economy is suffering from inflation just like Germany's, shows that this is not true. But the railway company Renfe refrained from raising prices. Incidentally, according to the logic of the Deutsche Bahn statement, prices would have to fall again if inflation weakened. A step that is about as likely as a Transrapid on German soil.
It's always difficult to get customers to believe that they should pay more for something in the future - even though the service provided remains the same. In the case of Deutsche Bahn, it's even more tricky:
Some customers may have the constant feeling that the service they are buying is getting worse and worse over time, namely that the trains are even less punctual and the service more and more unpredictable. This backlog of reforms is to be blamed on the corporate management.
All of this also has a political dimension. With its already high prices - also compared to other European countries - the railway is not competitive. Those who live in the countryside are far too often cut off from the rail network. It is therefore difficult to do without your own car.
In times when the turnaround in traffic is one of the political imperatives of the hour, this is fatal. Of course, this mammoth task is also a matter for politicians. It has failed to make domestic flights and cars unattractive. Deutsche Bahn and politicians have so far failed to provide an answer to the question of what reliable mobility in the future might look like.