DSB ticket scandal now a political issue

The Danish Parliament and EU Commission will investigation whether market-sharing tactics are to blame for conspicuous price disparities between DSB and Deutsche Bahn tickets

The EU Commission and Danish Parliament are intervening in a case involving possible market-sharing agreements between Denmark's DSB and German railway operator Deutsche Bahn (DB).

Liberal Party MEP and deputy chairman of the European Parliament's Liberal bloc, Karin Riis Jørgensen, will bring the matter of DSB's higher-priced foreign rail tickets and alleged market-sharing agreements with Deutsche Bahn to the attention of EU Competition Commissioner Neelie Kroes.

"I intend to contact the new Competition Commissioner and ask her to investigate train ticket prices in Denmark and Germany, and take a look at other EU countries to determine whether state railway operators may have entered similar price agreements. I'm surprised by the sizable price differences that (daily newspaper) Jyllands-Posten's report found. It can't be right for consumers to have such widely disparate prices on such totally banal goods," said Karin Riis Jørgensen.

In the Danish Parliament, the Danish People's Party and Socialist People's Party will press Transport Minister Flemming Hansen to intervene in the matter, and investigate any substance to allegations that DSB entered market-sharing agreements with Deutsche Bahn.

Socialist People's Party transport spokesman Morten Homann was particularly piqued by DSB's price policy on foreign rail tickets, which are far more expensive than price offered by DSB's foreign competitors.

"It's strange that the very same trip on the exact same train costs up to 40 percent more when booked with DSB than, for example, Deutsche Bahn. It's not small change, after all. These huge price differences are detrimental not only to passengers, but for train transport as an alternative to air travel. It makes train travel less competitive, pure and simple. So it's a problem that must be addressed," said Homann, adding:

"The most important thing is to find out what's causing these enormous price disparities. And then, of course, we must determine if any unlawful activity has taken place. If market-sharing agreements do exist between DSB and the German railways, then it's serious business indeed," said Homann.

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