Enlarge image

ICE parking space in Hamburg

Photo: Markus Tischler / IMAGO

The Bundeskartellamt has joined the call for Deutsche Bahn to be split into a company for the rail network and a company for rail operations. "More competition on the railways is good," said the president of the competition authority, Andreas Mundt, to the Süddeutsche Zeitung. Deutsche Bahn has many subtle ways to hinder competition. That should be changed."

A separation of grid and operation is the right model, Mundt explained. The restructuring decided by the Federal Government and the creation of a public good-oriented company for infrastructure within the railway group can only be the first step.

The Monopolies Commission, which advises the federal government on competition issues, also recommends breaking up the railway group. In its sector report in July, the committee had called for the railway infrastructure division to be "largely economically and organisationally independent of the other companies of the DB Group". The German government's reform package makes "sense", but does not go far enough.

The Cartel Office has been arguing with Deutsche Bahn about competition issues for some time. This includes, for example, traffic data on delays and train cancellations, which Deutsche Bahn withholds from third-party providers, or the handling of mobility platforms that sell tickets for the railway. The negotiations were "tough," Mundt told the SZ. Deutsche Bahn should put an end to the restrictions of competition.