Deutsche Bahn loses case against rival bus service

A court has ruled that Deutsche Bahn cannot protect its extensive bus services by stopping a start-up business which offers cheaper long-distance coach trips across Germany.

Deutsche Bahn loses case against rival bus service
Deinbus founders Kuhr, Ingo Mayr-Knoch and Christian Janisch. Photo: Deinbus

Deutsche Bahn not only operates the country’s rail network, it is also the biggest German bus operator. It owns Bex, Autokraft and Regiobus Dresden, which in 2009 ran 22 routes and served 700,000 passengers.

But it cannot close down an initiative called Deinbus started by a group of students which challenges the traditional way of managing bus routes. They arrange bus trips for a particular route on a particular day – once at least ten people have registered online for it.

They were granted permission to start their company by the Lake Constance local authority but this was challenged by Deutsche Bahn which made a legal complaint.

Initially the Bahn seemed en route to victory, with a chamber of commerce ruling against Deinbus, arguing that a 1930s law forbids bus services on routes already served by the Bahn unless they offer a ‘significant improvement’.

But Frankfurt District Court on Wednesday rejected its complaint and said the authority had been correct to award an operating license.

The fact that Deinbus does not offer regular services, rather arranging bus trips as and when passengers want to travel, meant they were not covered by the ban.

“We couldn’t be happier,” said Alexander Kuhr, one of the Deinbus founders, shortly after the verdict.

“We want to now offer more trips and to grow further,” he said, adding that the attempt by Deutsche Bahn to close them down had only generated publicity for his company.

Deutsche Bahn did not attend the hearing but later issued a statement saying it was going to check the verdict before deciding on whether to appeal.


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Copenhagen Metro lines reopen after two-week closure

Lines M3 and M4 of the Copenhagen Metro are back in service having reopened on Sunday, one day ahead of schedule.

Copenhagen Metro lines reopen after two-week closure

The two lines had been closed so that the Metro can run test operations before opening five new stations on the M4 line this summer.

The tests, which began on February 10th, are now done and the lines were running again as of Sunday evening, a day ahead of the original planned reopening on Monday February 26th.

“We are very pleased to be able to welcome our passengers on to our two lines M3 and M4,” head of operations with the Metro Søren Boysen said.

“The whole test procedure exceeded all expectations and went faster than expected and we can therefore get a head start on our reopening now,” he said.

Time set aside for potential repeat tests was not needed in the event, allowing the test closures to be completed ahead of time.

“Several of our many tests went better than expected and we have therefore not used all the time we needed for extra tests,” Boysen said.

The two lines serve around one million passengers every week, according to the Metro company.

READ ALSO: Copenhagen city government greenlights extension to Metro line

The new stops on the M4 line will be located south of central Copenhagen in the Valby and Sydhavn areas. The will have the names Haveholmen, Enghave Brygge, Sluseholmen, Mozarts Plads and København Syd (Copenhagen South).

The M3 and M4 lines, the newer sections of the Metro, opened in 2019 and 2020 respectively.