Conference Information:



Derailed - Aus dem Gleis
Customer rights and rail privatisation



Date: 5 June 2002

Location: Tagungszentrum Katholische Akademie, Berlin


With last century's passengers' rights into the future? Rail passengers in Germany have to deal with unreliable timetables, late or overcrowded trains, insufficient services or abandoned lines. There is little possibility for complaints or obtaining compensation as the law governing passengers' rights dates from the 1930s.


Britain's answer to these problems was privatisation. Running the services, maintaining the infrastructure and dealing with passengers are all handled by different organisations and companies. Yet the system still seems to be on the brink of collapse and has to rely on government grants worth millions.


Are the reasons for this crisis down to structural problems or rather to be explained by the fact that more competition on the railway leads inevitably into a cul de sac?


The aim of the conference is to examine the possibility of improving customer rights in the public transport sector and discuss what lesson Germany can draw from the British experience with rail privatisation. In the end 4.7 billion railway passengers all want the same thing: a safe railway that gives value for money, improves its services and has a broad network. And above all: one that works.


The conference has been organized by Verbraucherzentrale Bundesverband e.V., PRO BAHN e.V. and the Anglo-German Foundation.


  • For detailed English programme (23 KB)  please click here 
  • For detailed German programme (122KB)  please click here