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Challenges for users without a smartphone

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Challenges for users without a smartphone

The German railway wants to digitize the BahnCard 25 and 50 as early as this summer. This means that there will be no more plastic cards. So if you don’t have a smartphone or a DB customer account, you’ll probably be left empty-handed in the future.

Now that Deutsche Bahn is pushing ahead with the digitalization of its route network, BahnCards are now also being put to the test. Deutsche Bahn is currently not attracting any positive attention. Due to ongoing union strikes, traveling by train is hardly possible.

The railway has now announced the next digitization to its customers via email. In the future, both the BahnCard 25 and the BahnCard 50 will only be available digitally. The BahnCard 100 remains untouched for the time being and will be issued in plastic format as usual. Customers then have to load their rail cards into the DB Navigator app on their smartphone and show them there when checking tickets. But what about people who don’t own a smartphone? According to DB, people without a smartphone can have a replacement document printed out. This is then also valid when checking tickets. However, for such a printout you need at least a digital customer account on Bahn.de.

Reasons for digitalization

The German railway had already digitized all test rail cards in 2023. The company cited environmental protection concerns as the reason for digitalization. In the email, Deutsche Bahn explained that, as a climate-friendly means of transport, it sees itself as having a special responsibility to act in times of climate change. In order to do good for the environment together with customers, they would avoid using plastic with the BahnCard in the future.

The railway would like to abolish the usual plastic cards from June 9th this year. However, whether this is really a good alternative at the moment remains questionable. Especially with regard to the replacement document in paper form. People who do not have a smartphone and do not want to install the DB Navigator app or do not want to store their data in a customer account with the railway will have a difficult time benefiting from discounts through a BahnCard in the future.

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