Saturday, June 28, 2014

City Night Line and Inter-City

City Night Line: why is "die Deutsche Bahn" making it hard to book a bicycle ticket?

The 25th of June, after I've written a post about booking a ticket, I've noticed a small problem in the booking process. All of the Inter-City trains for the next day were already booked full. I could've traveled without a bike but taking it with me was the point of it all. After looking at every possible connection I could have taken, I've found the following website.

Site of CNL regarding transportation of a bike or tandem



Translated: "Bicycles are carried free of charge, but you have to have an international bicycle ticket."

FREE but you have to buy a ticket from us.

The text refers to a 'Bahnschalter' (ticket counter). You have to buy a ticket at the ticket counter (costs a fee!), which also implies that you have to reserve this ticket within Germany. A tourist who stays for 2 weeks has to make a reservation for this service. When it is booked full, he/she has to find another way to travel long distances. The only option that comes to mind would be to rent a car.  

Edit: just found a long distance CNL reservation option {click this}. Call the number to reserve a spot on the train weeks beforehand. Booking on the internet is impossible at the moment though.


"0180 6 99 66 33 (20 ct/Call for German landline calls, Calls from other networks and mobiles may cost more)."

So basically you'd have to make a reservation per phone.


Now I'll show you everything you'd have to watch out for.

searching train in Germany with possibility of carrying a bike

I have marked the link to Angebotsberatung. They have hidden it a bit. A direct link can be found here: http://www.bahn.de/p/view/angebot/sparpreis/spartickets.shtml. You can find ticket at half the price.



If you have looked up a connection, it is possible to check the box at "Fahrradmitnahme im Zug". Let's look for a connection.


City Night Line connection from München-Amsterdam centraal


Here you see the Sparangebote and the Normalpreis. Let's book the ticket by clicking "Verfügbarkeit prüfen".

Ohne anmeldung buchen weiter

After this step, it should've initiated the financial part. Instead, it showed me this:


Hinweis Bahn Bicycle Ticket Train Error Internet Booking


So this page is telling me that I can buy this without a bicycle ticket.

The website is saying the following:

"Hinweis

Sehr gehrte Kundin, sehr geehrter Kunde,

leider ist für diese Fahrtmöglichkeit eine Buchung der Fahrradkarte im Internet nicht möglich. Sie können ihr Ticket jedoch ohne Fahrradkarte jetzt buchen.


"* Info on how to contact them *"

Im Internet können Sie Fahrradkarten unter den folgenden Voraussetzungen buchen:

Ihre ausgewählte Fahrt
- enthält ausschließlich Züge, die die Fahrradmitnahme erlauben,
- enthält einen Fernverkehrsanteil,
- enthält keinen Nachtreisezug,
- enthält ausschließlich innerdeutsche Strecken,
- beginnt frühestens einen Tag nach dem Buchungstag"

Making sense of the Bahn train search tool

I'd have to ask one silly question at first: Why did I check the box that asks me if I want to take my bike with me?

On the internet, checking a box that is telling me that I agree with something, mostly has huge effects, as it is making me agree with 5 papers of dense judicial jargon. On the Bahn website, it has no other function than to filter out the ICE and Thalys. Anyway, the page is telling me that I cannot book a CNL-ticket or international tickets online. That doesn't only mean that I can't book a direct connection from Germany to the Nederlands over the internet. It also means that booking a bicycle ticket over the internet for a German night train is impossible as well. My question to the Deutsche Bahn is the following: why isn't there a possibility of booking tickets for international - and night trains over the internet? It would make things a lot easier for tourists.

I was actually quite frustrated by this all, decided to take my train to Köln, and then to Mönchengladbach without buying a bicycle ticket.
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