Trainers have pushed for the introduction of rules for trainers to be able to run their own business without being forced to do work for the state.
The rules, if adopted, would be in place for the first time in Germany, where the majority of the nation’s trains are operated by the state and private companies.
The train operator Association of German Train Operators (BZH) has said that it wants to introduce a similar system to France, which also has a similar “train-sharing” policy, although it has not specified what the terms of this policy would be.
Under the French model, the state gives train operators the right to operate their own trains on the public transport network and train operators can only share out the operating costs with the government.
However, the French government does not have to cover the operating cost of the trains.
A train driver for the BZH said the new rules would make it easier for train operators to take their business elsewhere.
“In France, train operators have to pay the state for the right of use, so it’s a huge burden for the train operator,” said Wolfgang Schütz, a train driver from the state of Hesse, who works as an adviser for the group.
He said the proposed rules would “prevent the worst consequences for train operator, which is a huge challenge for them”.
According to the BZA, train operator turnover is at its lowest point in decades, but the operator is still struggling to pay for its trains, which are still being used to deliver trains between cities such as Frankfurt and Cologne.
Train operators’ annual turnover is around $1.6 billion, but Schüts said that in the current environment, it is “unreasonable” for the company to be expected to pay more.
“When we’re paying for the operating expenses, we should be paying more for the quality of the service,” he said.
Schütz also noted that some of the train operators’ main competitors are private companies, such as Siemens, which has said it will no longer operate trains in Germany after the end of 2021.
Schulz also said that while the current train-sharing system in Germany “doesn’t work”, the new system “will work”, but that it would be better if it were implemented more widely.