New train schedules met with sharp criticism

Reduced departures and altered times are not sitting well with Danish commuters

On December 13, rail operator DSB will roll out a completely altered schedule.

The plan, which the DSB described as “simple, clear and easy to remember”, is based, according to them, on “fast times, fixed stops and better connections with shorter travel times on selected routes”.

Many commuters beg to differ, however, saying that the new travel times, especially early morning departures that will now leave half an hour later, will seriously impact their work lives.

Commuters not happy
“This is simply bad piled on bad,” Erwin Næs, a commuter representative for Hvalsø og Lejre, told Metroxpress.

“Bad departure times for our limited number of express trains, coupled with six weeks of being ‘closed for the holidays’ throughout the year.”

Anne Fiber, a commuter representative for East Funen, is pleased that DSB is trying something new, but doesn’t think the plan will accomplish much.

“Rail traffic on East Funen is so tightly woven that there is no room for adjustments,” she said. “This plan will inhibit DSB’s ability to attract new customers and retain existing ones, and it will no doubt send many commuters to their cars and drive people away from public transport.”

Pure cost-cutting, says researcher
Niels Agerholm, a traffic researcher at Aalborg University, said that DSB simply wants to save money by cutting down on the number of trains departing with too few passengers.

“It seems to make sense in the short-term, but in the long run, DSB will be the loser because the affected customers will buy a car and never come back on the train,” said Agerholm. “It makes it harder and harder to live in an outlying area.”

Losers and winners
Tony Bispeskov, the information head at DSB, recognised that some customers would feel a negative impact due to the new schedule.

“There will be customers who are worse off with the new timetable,” he said. “In general, however, the new plan serves more customers better than the old one did.”

Most of the changes will affect Funen and Jutland. In Zealand, the first departure from Kalundborg to Copenhagen every morning has been changed from 4:06 until 4:46, and the early morning departures from Haslev will also leave at a later time.

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Bispeskov said that DSB is obligated to meet the minimum needs of every station in the country, and insisted that it will do.