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Old November 13th, 2014, 07:28 PM   #2401
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It’s an interesting story. But how does this situation relate to, for example, that in Britain? Or rather, is this situation somehow unique or is just a reflection generally of train travel versus bus (coach) travel in Europe?
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Old November 13th, 2014, 07:30 PM   #2402
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TedStriker View Post


It’s an interesting story. But how does this situation relate to, for example, that in Britain? Or rather, is this situation somehow unique or is just a reflection generally of train travel versus bus (coach) travel in Europe?
It's definitely a reflection of train vs bus in Europe. Most young people I know travel by bus because it's much, much cheaper than traveling by train. It fits the profile of the article above.
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Old November 13th, 2014, 08:38 PM   #2403
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One of the reasons I ask is because I doubt that we'd ever see a story like this in relation to Britain because train services and bus services here have been in competition for so long.

I wonder how many train services are under threat as a result of the rise of bus services across Germany. The story seems to suggest that this is now going to be more of an issue so I'm just wondering how much drama ought to be attached to it.
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Old November 13th, 2014, 09:09 PM   #2404
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LtBk View Post
An interesting article from the IRJ about rise of long distance bus operators in Germany and challenges facing passenger rail service:http://www.railjournal.com/index.php....html?channel=



Comments?
Awful news. From a macroeconomic point of view, it's much more efficient to concentrate as many people as possible on a single mean of transport to take advantage of economies of scale.

The rails are already there only to be used by mass-transit; highways are also used by private transportation so it's not a good idea to increase their usage by letting buses use them too while railways are emptied.

I hope Switzerland never takes such a bad step.
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Old November 13th, 2014, 10:02 PM   #2405
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British trains are still heavily used and the system is expanding again despite the competition from buses. The sky will not fall in Germany either.
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Old November 13th, 2014, 11:11 PM   #2406
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Buses have a somewhat unfair advantage over trains as they pay very little for use of the infrastructure. A bus operator basically only has to pay for their fuel and automobile taxes, while there is no charge for use of the infrastructure itself.

Trains, on the other hand, get charged for each kilometer they make, for the power they use, and for each station they call at. There are charges for shunting, for empty runs, for overnight stabling, for usage of cleaning facilities, and so on.
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Old November 13th, 2014, 11:15 PM   #2407
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In Germany rail network and train service is not split, both are offered by Deutsche Bahn. In long distance services DB has a market share above 95%, and rails are owned by DB as well. So DB pays all this charges to himself.
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Old November 14th, 2014, 12:12 AM   #2408
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Yes, money flows within the DB Konzern but it still flows! DB Fernverkehr AG (the operator) has to pay a hefty charge to DB Netze (the infrastructure manager) to be allowed to use the railway infrastructure. On the roads, most of the costs of the infrastructure are paid for by the government. Only a portion of those costs is paid for by the road users, e.g. through fuel and road taxes.

In France, the highway network is privatized and maintenance is paid for by tolls paid by the road users. If you were to drive a "Fernbus" from Paris to Lyon, taking the Autoroute du Soleil is the quickest way to get there by road. The toll road portion of the trip is 378 kilometers long, a long distance bus would pay € 111.70 in tolls for usage of this road.

A similar trip in Germany would be from Leipzig to Germany. A road user doesn't pay a cent extra for this trip while a rail operator has to pay an amount between € 1000 and € 2000 for track usage, depending on the type of train path.
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Old November 14th, 2014, 12:16 AM   #2409
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Aren't buses subject to the same toll as trucks, in Germany?
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Old November 14th, 2014, 12:20 AM   #2410
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Currently that is not the case, although the call to change that is getting louder.
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Old November 14th, 2014, 12:37 AM   #2411
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Originally Posted by Sunfuns View Post
British trains are still heavily used and the system is expanding again despite the competition from buses. The sky will not fall in Germany either.
Especially since the first bus operators already withdraw from the market meaning we'll see some prices hicks in the near future as well.
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Old November 14th, 2014, 01:17 AM   #2412
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Currently that is not the case, although the call to change that is getting louder.
They'd better do it before the industry gets too big to be touched...

Also, train fares have to pay for at least a part of stations and other passengers structures.
And apart from the usage of motorways, buses get for free the access to city centers (maybe even with the right to use city bus lanes), while access to crowded nodes is one of the thoughest burdens on IC trains.

I think there is space for a segment of users who prefer to avoid certain "luxuries" (like fancy stations, or travel safety...), but the competition must be fair.
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Old November 14th, 2014, 01:36 AM   #2413
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There should be costs associated with using bus lanes and the bus stations to assist with upkeep/maintenance. It makes sense to me.
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Old November 14th, 2014, 02:26 AM   #2414
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wilhem275 View Post
I think there is space for a segment of users who prefer to avoid certain "luxuries" (like fancy stations, or travel safety...), but the competition must be fair.
SNCF is trialing this with the Ouigo, their low-cost high speed offering. It's basically like flying with RyanAir: there's only 1 class, no bar, you pay for a wall socket, et cetera. The goal is to keep trains running on the high speed lines as much as possible, and minimizing times spent in stations.

From Paris, you can go all the way down to Marseille for fares as low as € 10. The drawback is that you don't board in Gare de Lyon, you board at Marne la Vallée Chessy (at Disneyland) instead. Ouigo trains serve peripheral stations as close to a high speed line as reasonably possible.

From what I hear in the rail media, Ouigo is quite a success and is doing better than SNCF anticipated. Appearantly, there is a market for this kind of services and with Ouigo, SNCF has a good competitor for both domestic flights and buses.
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Old November 14th, 2014, 07:07 AM   #2415
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There are often sub-markets for cheaper travel. There are event those multi-day buses transporting people on 20-30h journeys between the Balkans and Northern Europe for little money (I have nothing against their existence, I just abhor the mess their passengers often make on rest areas restrooms).

Any business operating multiple brands within the same sector needs to think about cannibalization.

In Italy, several years ago, Trenitalia came up with a new concept called "TrenOK". A low-cost non-stop train linking some major city paris like Bari-Roma with older rolling stock, Internet sales and lower prices. Lasted only 2 years I think. The trains were successful, but they didn't brought many passengers from Ryanair and Air One. Instead, majority of traffic was just demand diverted from the ES*City and other non-Freccia services on those routes...
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Old November 14th, 2014, 09:11 AM   #2416
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Originally Posted by Wilhem275 View Post
Aren't buses subject to the same toll as trucks, in Germany?
Even if they are, this is still not fair competition. Wear and tear caused on
road infrastructure by vehicles are proportional to the fourth power of the
axle load (this has been proven by a university study many years ago). So,
to be fair, a truck (max axle load of 7.5 tons) should pay 10^4 times the
the road tax of a car (axle load approx 0.75 ton, so 10 times less), which
is of course never the case. Same for tolls on highways. So we motorists are
all subsidizing the truck and bus companies that can then unfairly take away a
significant market share from the rail industry. If all heavy road vehicles had
to pay their real share of the infrastructure costs, the rail transport would
be far more successful in Europe than it is today.
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Old November 14th, 2014, 10:36 AM   #2417
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The market-crazed FDP (may the party rest in peace) in 2013 killed the ban on IC buses where competitive to trains that had existed since the 1920s (i.e. the birth of motored buses). One must lay blame on DB too though. Initially they did not take the threat seriously. They failed to recognize that there is a significant market for cheap traveling and that their saver fares are often still too expensive for these people. Way too late, they started reacting by (re-)introducing the IRE between Hamburg and Berlin, a slow but cheap alternative to the ICE. However DB's other reaction has been to create more and more bus lines themselves.
Competition in the bus sector is running wild and the business has not proven profitable. It is expected that only few companies will survive the ferocious price war. Once the market is consolidated in a year or 2, prices will go up, non-profitable routes will be dropped, and perhaps pressure on trains will lessen, but nonetheless due to the structural discrimination to the advantage of road traffic, bus services will be here to stay.
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Old November 14th, 2014, 05:36 PM   #2418
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Originally Posted by AlexNL View Post
Yes, money flows within the DB Konzern but it still flows!
Yes, it flows, but it has no importance.
And that's like DB has almost a full monopoly ih German long distance services, because for them the price for using the tracks is virtually zero, while any other operator has to pay a large sum. And actually that's why rail charges are so high: in order to create a monopoly and to avoid having competitors.
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Old November 14th, 2014, 05:48 PM   #2419
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MarcVD View Post
Even if they are, this is still not fair competition. Wear and tear caused on
road infrastructure by vehicles are proportional to the fourth power of the
axle load (this has been proven by a university study many years ago). So,
to be fair, a truck (max axle load of 7.5 tons) should pay 10^4 times the
the road tax of a car (axle load approx 0.75 ton, so 10 times less), which
is of course never the case. Same for tolls on highways. So we motorists are
all subsidizing the truck and bus companies that can then unfairly take away a
significant market share from the rail industry. If all heavy road vehicles had
to pay their real share of the infrastructure costs, the rail transport would
be far more successful in Europe than it is today.
For every study that claims that road isn't covering it's external costs there is one that claims it does. I don't think the matter is settled that clearly.
For one thing, you forget speed, which also matters a lot and also influences the wear on the infrastructure disproportionally.
The other thing is that if were would indeed tax road vehicles more the the result would not be a move from road to rail. The result would be a contraction of the economy because transport became to expensive. The major reason why so much freight travels by road in Europe is because the railways are traditionally very unreliable, not because road has an unfair advantage.
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Old November 14th, 2014, 05:52 PM   #2420
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AlexNL View Post
Yes, money flows within the DB Konzern but it still flows! DB Fernverkehr AG (the operator) has to pay a hefty charge to DB Netze (the infrastructure manager) to be allowed to use the railway infrastructure. On the roads, most of the costs of the infrastructure are paid for by the government. Only a portion of those costs is paid for by the road users, e.g. through fuel and road taxes.
Otoh, only a portion of the costs associated with rail use is paid by the users as well. Rail is heavily subsidised everywhere. For example, DB-Netz gets loads of money directly from the government every year.
So it's not as if rail has to pay it's own way.

Quote:
In France, the highway network is privatized and maintenance is paid for by tolls paid by the road users. If you were to drive a "Fernbus" from Paris to Lyon, taking the Autoroute du Soleil is the quickest way to get there by road. The toll road portion of the trip is 378 kilometers long, a long distance bus would pay € 111.70 in tolls for usage of this road.

A similar trip in Germany would be from Leipzig to Germany. A road user doesn't pay a cent extra for this trip while a rail operator has to pay an amount between € 1000 and € 2000 for track usage, depending on the type of train path.
Given that a train can carry a 1000 passengers, whereas a coach only carries 50 I'd say that the rail access charges are reasonable.
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