When the locomotive driver has no blahs and the sun is shining

Open letter to the head of deutsche bahn

Dear mr. Grube,

Do you know friedrichsfeld? Probably not. But i would like to help you on the right track: friedrichsfeld is a district of mannheim and your company can cover the distance to the main station of the square city in ten minutes. At least in theory. When the locomotive driver has no blahs and the sun is shining. So if the timetable is kept to, it doesn’t take long to get to the city center. Or those who are in the center can climb the train from friedrichsfeld and continue from there.

Today it is cold, windy and rainy in the kurpfalz region. And presumably the locomotive drivers in southern germany have collective intestinal complaints: i am sitting here at the main station waiting for the train. He has ten minutes late. So as much delay as the travel time from friedrichsfeld itself. A mature performance.

What doesn’t work in mass transit works even less on rough routes. In the last week of february you stamped the winter to the hour buck. From the end of 2011, the axles of 67 ice trains are to be replaced: (why not just?). This may take three years. Until then – especially in winter! – delays are to be expected.

Control of operating risks

Railroad drivers simply have to understand that. How could a transport company plan for the winter?? It is as hard to predict as the arrival time of the train from friedrichsfeld! Why can’t the warming of the climate go a little faster – all the problems of the german railroads had to be solved by the hole in the ozone layer? Ok i exaggerate: "all" is not correct. After all, the diesel engine of the interregio express requires a heat-free period in the summer. Delays can happen there too.

And just as innovative as your company is with excuses, the sources of error are numerous: for example, it can happen, as in january 2009, that the booking systems fail throughout the entire country. Heise netze, citing a spokesperson for your corporate headquarters, reported a power outage at a berlin data center.

Thomas mitschke, data center director at ntt europe online comments:

The case makes it clear that apparently even gross and very gross companies do not carry out a really fundamental and comprehensive analysis and control of operational risks even in areas of central importance. In addition to internal risks, this also includes consideration of external hazards such as earthquakes, fires, floods and power failures. Even though germany’s power grids are very stable, there is still a residual risk. Every company would do well to plan for the possible consequences of unforeseeable events. Only those who have dealt with possible events will be prepared and able to make the right decisions in case of an eventuality.

Your press office may not now confirm the lack of electricity as the cause when asked by jj’s data salad: "that’s safety-critical information; we don’t get excited about it", there is.

Apparently, the group is having a hard time digesting the internal and external processes

Dear mr. Grube: do you know the operating system gnu/linux?? It is disclosed down to the last decimal point, and yet it is used in many security-relevant areas – such as the auswartigen amt and the bundesamt fur die sicherheit in der informationstechnik (federal office for information security). Already in 2003, 100 out of 217 embassies around the world were running on free software.

Achieving security through secrecy has long been outdated. And although microsoft protects the source code of its operating systems and applications like a state secret, the holes in windows and internet explorer are being exploited faster than the company can plug them. Nevertheless, your employees produce such mental diarrhea. Why?

Apparently, the group is digesting the internal and external processes only extremely poorly. This is a cause for serious concern. This gives the impression that the group is aware of the shortages in its own system and is therefore using the pretext "safety" attempts to cover up: presumably, just a few days ago, the design of the commuter trains and their maintenance system had been classified as top secret. In the meantime, the world has come to revolve around the upset "s-bahn disaster" and also wonders about the possibility of a "negligent" manager.

So it is not surprising that the railroads let themselves be thrown out of the same by every pub. The railteam – an alliance of railroad companies from belgium, germany, france, great britain, the netherlands, austria and switzerland – thought that a joint booking system would be too expensive. And so it was cancelled. That’s good: the friedrichsfeld example shows that a delay of one minute can be expected per route kilometer. Who would want to travel by train from london to vienna?? There you have to go to 1.Calculate 470 route kilometers with 24 hours delay. And maybe the train will be intercepted by a cattle from lower franconia or a wild sow from upper austria…

Pig is to be wished above all to the passengers of the german course on the ice distance munchen nurnberg: there is a suspicion that earth hooks were stolen and protocols were falsified. So less material was buried than accounted for. And the minus in the material is in inverse proportion to the costs. In the end, they were 50 percent higher than planned.

The positive sides of deutsche bahn

Dear mr. Grube: are you sure, given this conglomeration of bankruptcies, bad luck, mishaps and incompetence, that you really want to go through with the once-in-a-century-project stuttgart21??

I have the impression that the thicker and sweeter the accompanying music of such megaprojects, the faster and deeper the project crashes again. And the most swaggering low-flyers start their communication right away in english! I’m already keeping my fingers crossed for the residents and visitors of stuttgart that the new underground station doesn’t rush even deeper into the depths than the subway in koln is currently planning to do.

But there are also the positive sides of the deutsche bahn: for example the train named after the company "card". With this grandiose innovation, the customer saves 25, 50 or even 100 percent of the fare. Wow! The card is valid for one year and is renewed for another year if not cancelled 6 weeks before the expiration of the previous card. The lawyer monika hecken of the consumer center rhineland-palatinate gets the impression here, "that it is a subscription. This should be pointed out to the customer even more clearly".

And to ensure that the customer is always mobile when he is not waiting for his train, the card is even ahead of its time: one month before the old card expires, the new one is already in the customer’s mailbox. Nobody should be bothered by the fact that in case of such a plan he has to pay already two weeks before the new card is valid.

Hedges would like customers to have a choice between a one-time bahncard and a subscription with automatic renewal. I agree wholeheartedly! Unfortunately, it is not possible to find out from your press office at the moment whether you want to take up the actually innovative proposal.

I was always enthusiastic about your card. The photo alone opens up unimagined possibilities. How gladly i was to be buried for example by the station master by handshake and personal salutation with my arrival. Like the border guards of the gdr in the past – they still needed the (alphanumeric) license plate number. Today it is possible by analyzing my likeness. Madness!

Experts for all kinds of informer services

Or the phenomenal memory: for a long time i could marvel on the internet that i once drove from darmstadt to stuttgart at the beginning of the millennium. I was looking forward to being able to show my great-grandchildren in 2050 a long list of all the places where deutsche bahn has transported me in the past 50 years. But there is probably nothing out of it now. Of course, it would have been mean if only i had been prevented from looking at my travel data, and your employees had been allowed to continue to use their full potential.

I guess the review of past train journeys on the internet was also limited to half a year under the impression of the big brother award 2007. The group had received the award in the field of economy. Especially padeluun mentioned in his laudation an alleged rfid chip in the bahncard 100: "the chip can be read by radio, unnoticed by the user."

Rfid – how laughable! "Near field communication" (nfc) is the future: the cell phone will become a personal companion and assistant in all situations in life – even mobile ones. Already 500 citizens of berlin course travelers can loose the ticket, in which they their cell phone to one "touchpoint" hold. Proudly declare 2009 in the brochure "moving people – connecting worlds" (pdf):

This scanner-based system was introduced in 2007 as the first transport service provider in europe.

Finally i know what i have always dreamed of: of course, i would like to tell the expert for all kinds of informer services not only my bank details, my physical and electronic postal address, but also my cell phone number and possibly my current whereabouts!

Meanwhile my regional train arrived in frankenthal. It is cold, windy and rainy in the vorderpfalz as well. Unfortunately, my connecting train could not wait. It was punctual. I have to wait an hour for the next train according to the timetable. However, a half hour delay has already been announced.

I have used the ample time to educate myself: so i just read from the arbitration board for public transport e.V.. The should be held since the 1. December 2009 passengers "especially in case of delays and train failures" help the taxpayer to his right. Claims at least federal minister of justice leutheusser schnarrenberger. Let’s see if they can do something for me.

It digs you cordially

Your joachim jakobs

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