“Disaster event on the railroads”: fierce criticism of db board and federal ministry of transport

Many delays, technical problems and too little money: in view of the numerous construction sites at deutsche bahn, the management of the state-owned company is coming under heavy fire. “This has become one big catastrophic event”, grumbled railroad supervisory board member klaus-dieter hommel, who is also vice chairman of the railroad and transport union (EVG). “If deutsche bahn were a car manufacturer, the steering wheels would be mounted on the back and the wheels on top, hommel told the “welt am sonntag” newspaper ( wams ).

Employees have lost hope

Vice chairman of the supervisory board and EVG head alexander kirchner warned of growing frustration among employees. “Quite a few people think: it’s not going to get any better anyway. Many colleagues have lost hope”, kirchner told the redaktionsnetzwerk deutschland (saturday). “Colleagues on trains and in train stations are directly confronted with passengers’ anger about delays. They constantly have to justify themselves for problems that they neither caused nor can prevent.”

Read also: ticket payment restricted: customers are angry – and it’s the german railroads’ own fault!

Railroad boss richard lutz and ronald pofalla, member of the board of management responsible for the network on 15. On january 1, the federal ministry of transport will present key points for measures to improve the situation and then present them to the supervisory board.

Invest five billion more in rail and railways

“I expect the management board to explain in a comprehensible manner how the additional financial requirements are to be covered”, chairman of the board michael odenwald told the paper. “The management board must now work out a viable solution with the owners and present a concept to the supervisory board at its meeting in march.” According to earlier statements, the railroad wants to invest an additional five billion euros in trains and the rail network from its own funds over the next five years.Four billion euros of this has not yet been financed, as was heard in circles of the control body.

Most recently, transport minister andreas scheuer (CSU) warned that the quality of rail travel must be improved as quickly as possible. “This is a huge task for the top of the railroad”, emphasized scheuer. The federal government, as the owner, also has representatives on the supervisory board and thus controls management.

Deutsche bahn a stock corporation since 1994

“The railroad has been driven to wear and tear for years”, said EVG leader kirchner. There is a lack of capacity in infrastructure, trains and personnel. This is leading to a gradual collapse of the system.”

The left-wing in the bundestag is calling for nationalization again. “What the highly paid board of directors, managers and supervisory board can do, heads of departments have been able to do for a long time. And they don’t collect millions for it”, wrote parliamentary managing director jan korte in a proposal to his parliamentary group. The letter has been made available to the deutsche presse-agentur. The railroad has been a joint-stock company since 1994, and the shares are all owned by the federal government.

Politics shares responsibility

“No one can tell us that the railroad as a government agency was run worse than it is now.”, according to korte. The first parliamentary leader of the FDP, marco buschmann, rejected the demand as “grotesque” back to. “Problems are caused by poor management and inadequate supervision. That’s why transport minister scheuer and the board of directors are now called upon and not “recipes out of the mothballs”, he said on sunday.

Union boss kirchner did not just blame the current board of management and its predecessors for the difficult situation: “politicians are also responsible for the desolate state we are in now: over the years, they have failed to provide the necessary funds for modernizing the infrastructure.”

Railroad employees increasingly the target of actual attacks

The green transport politician matthias gastel accused the CSU of having contributed significantly to the crisis of the railroads through wrong political decisions. “It is not enough to commission DB with a structural reform and otherwise leave everything as it was in terms of rail policy”, gastel told dpa. The CSU has provided the transport minister since 2009.

German railroad employees are increasingly the victims of violent attacks. This year, according to the railroad, 1981 body injuries have already been reported in the first nine months alone. This is the result of a response from the federal ministry of the interior to a question from the left-wing parliamentary group in the bundestag. According to this, there were a total of 1876 body injuries in 2015. In 2016, the number had risen to 2374, and last year to 2550. Previously, the “passauer neue presse” had reported (saturday) reports on this.


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