Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Deutsche Bahn disses customers big-time

I rarely travel by train. Long time of no train travel, then in 2014 again, for Galacon, and there was trouble, that luckily could be resolved without disadvantage.

Recently I traveled to Den Haag in the Netherlands by train. Journey there was problematic, with two trains sharing one track at Groningen station and mine having to wait, so I had to wait 40 additional minutes at the station and get the next train and deal with an extremely uncommunicative information employee. And then they said that train wouldn't go all the way to Den Haag and that I had to get out earlier. I did and when I asked which train to take now, they pointed me to the one I just got out of, and that it would still travel farther than they had told me, to Den Haag, just not main station.
A few days later, on my journey back, this kind of experience would be 10-upped by Deutsche Bahn.

On my journey from Leer to Ooldenburg, there was a tree hit by a freight train. So my train had to stop and wait for a while until that was cleared up. So there was some delay. Eventually the train arrived in Oldenburg and we were informed that there is still another train in front of us between Oldenburg and Hude, so we have to wait. I assumed (as anyone else would) that this was a clash due to the fact that my train had arrived with delay, not fitting the schedule anymore.

Then (to keep things short here) over the course of almost TWO HOURS we were given absolutely minimalist and sparse information from the train pilot. First that there is now yet another train in front of us, so we have to wait again. Then much later even less information, merely that we still need to wait longer and that they will tell us as soon as they have new information, and whether we will be able to continue the journey at all. Then, another half eternity later, basically a repetition of that same announcement.

People had been losing patience and leaving the train all the time, and now mine was exhausted, so I left the train. And there other passengers approached me and told me that they had been traveling back-and-forth, that this was their third train now in a stuck situation, and only then I learned that there had been very stormy weather and that the track between Oldenburg and Hude had been blocked by falling trees and such, too. I was so pissed that they didn't tell us ANYTHING. The display next to the train showed ~120 minutes delay for my train. I had waited almost that long now, but didn't trust that information anymore. The full magnitude of this shoddy communication towards their customers hit me when I went to the main hall and looked at the main display and FUCKING ALL TRAINS were either massively delayed or outright canceled! There had been a country-wide storm warning and stuff and pretty much the whole train system had come to a halt. And while sitting in the train, we were told NOTHING about that. All that the Deutsche Bahn sociopaths were interested in was to try and fulfill their contract so that they wouldn't have to provide alternatives and act in the interest of those who pay the money to keep the business alive. They probably realized they couldn't organize enough buses either, so they tried to keep a lid on the information flow, almost imprisoning their customers using deception through omission. Treating us like cattle.

I eventually had to pay a taxi - the only option left at that time, which could have been avoided had I been properly informed about the situation earlier.

They later publicly admitted that they had 'failed' on that day. Well, words are cheap and they know it. People will forget or are dependant on train travel anyway, so for DB it's no loss - an easy cop-out, a rare event that they don't prepare for because it's too expensive. A couple of years from now they might again admit some maor screwup, and then business just continues as usual.

The interests of the customer are irrelevant to them. You are just tools, variables, in their business scheme.

The lack of customer-orientation in all kinds of businesses has reached a very troubling degree, and it is what happens when you give assholes even more leeway instead of dealing with the core problems that cause such things. The world is gradually going insane.

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