It should be a nice trip with his family. But already the beginning clouded the day. Sebastian kotschenreuther, his wife and their daughter wanted to have a nice day in lichtenfels. "I actually love riding the train", says sebastian kotschenreuther. It started at the station in kronach. A mistake. "My wife had to heave the little girl's baby carriage and my wheelchair up the stairs. I then tried somehow to get up with my crutches", says sebastian kotschenreuther. Neufanger can walk a few meters with his crutches. For longer distances he then needs the wheelchair.
"What's the point of the voucher from the pension office that allows me, as a wheelchair user, to ride regional trains and regional express trains for free if I can't get to the track??", the young father of a family has been asking himself for a long time. Sebastian kotschenreuther cannot understand why deutsche bahn (DB) does not act at the station of a district town like kronach.
We ask the DB press office: why isn't the kronach train station being made barrier-free?? "The free state is currently in talks with DB's station& subsidiary, which is responsible for the railroad stations service talk about the further barrier-free expansion of railroad stations for the period 2018 to 2023", a press spokesman for the DB announced.
But it is not certain whether the kronach train station will be included in this program. That would be decided only at the end of 2016. "Unfortunately, we are not in a position to comment on whether kronach will be included in this "bavarian package" before then – financed by the freestate and DB station& service – is recorded", the railroad spokesman continued. All bavarian stations that are not yet barrier-free and have more than 1000 passengers are included in the selection. This also includes kronach.
Help from railroad employees
To make traveling by train easier for wheelchair users, DB offers a number of assistance services. "The entire travel chain can be planned via the mobilitats service of the bahn", the press spokesman explains. A few years ago, sebastian kotschenreuther planned his trip to koln in exactly the same way. According to the railroad spokesman, however, there are no entry, exit or transfer facilities in kronach. The most recent ones were in lichtenfels. "In wise foresight i started in bamberg", says the neufanger.
For the DB's mobility service, he had to register well in advance. Nothing for spontaneous ideas. Sebastian kotschenreuther has indicated in the DB form that he needs help with carrying suitcases. The rest he can do alone. As meeting point the neufanger gave directly the departure track in bamberg.
At the time of departure in bamberg was far and wide no help to see. "Then someone from the army helped me to get in." Once on the train, he sent an email directly to the railroad's service department asking why this had not worked out. The answer: sebastian kotschenreuther was standing at the wrong meeting point.
In wurzburg the help worked out well again. "Someone was standing right by the track and chauffeured me to the next track", he says.
Once again, no one from DB was on hand in koln to help sebastian kotschenreuther with his suitcases. "As I was already rolling away, I see someone approaching me with the lift truck. I even turned away. I did not say that." The newfangler only wanted help with his pack and not to be driven through the area with a lift truck. An unpleasant situation for him.
Only stairs went into the train
And then there is also the matter of the trains. Because as a wheelchair user you first have to get in there. The new regional trains are already equipped with ramps at the entrance, not so the older models. And according to kotschenreuther, the ICE can only be reached via steps anyway.
"Some trains, for example, were equipped with ramps that could be used to negotiate the steps between the platform and the train, says the railroad spokesman. Unfortunately, it is not enough if only "some trains" are used are equipped with it. According to sebastian kotschenreuther, the exit must be at ground level to the track. "For everything we have standards, but we can't get it right", according to the neufanger.
His verdict on rail travel: "better not". That is much too coarse auand."