Since Febuary 1st, Deutsche Bahn’s mobility-service center (MSZ) has discontinued their support for certain public transport companies. This is due to the reason that, according to DB, these public transport companies would like to organize assistance for handicapped people themselves rather than taking advantage of the procedures used and provided by the MSZ.
In a nutshell, this means that handicapped people have to contact certain public transport companies directly in order to arrange assistance for some parts of their desired journey.
This is a clear disadvantage and will cause more effort to arrange future journeys, and it surprised me that even DBSV and DVBS complained about the fact that DB informed them so late (on January 31st), just one day before initiating the change! As such a change probably did not happen due to a kind of spontaneous decision and I am sure DB discussed this long before already, informing such a big group of their customers at short notice has been a very unfair approach indeed.
Long-distance traffic including FlixTrain (FLX) is not affected by that change; however, as for local traffic, it depends on the region and the companies operating it and whether they are supported by the MSZ or not.
Abellio NRW, Cantus, Metronom and Nordbahn are just a few of the companies not supported by MSZ anymore; so in order to arrange assistance for a train operated by any of those companies, you have to contact the company directly.
A list of supported train companies can be found hereunder (German only):
Click to access mdb_288801_teilnehmende_eisenbahnen_am_verfahren_mit_der_mobilitaetsservice-zentrale_stand_01_2019_2.pdf
A list of both (supported and not supported public transport companies) can be found here (German only):
Click to access barrierefrei-verzeichnis-nebahnen.pdf
Further information in German, as well as an excerpt of the DB FAQ can be found in an article by the DBSV:
Given that the MSZ handled the assistance in different trains and at train stations for a long time, I think this change will be very confusing for a lot of customers, and it will probably cause a lot more calls, busy lines and tremendously long waiting times.
Besides, the MSZ handled it just perfectly and I consider the situations where the assistance didn’t work out to be rare.
No matter who (DB or anybody else) forwards the information to the train stations to arrange assistance, the outcome is the same; for me being a handicapped, passionate traveler, it involves just a bit of a research and a few more phone calls to arrange my assistance all the way, depending on where I would like to go.
Thinking back to my Sweden trip in July 2017, I know how complicated it can be to arrange assistance if you have no clue about which company does what. I was busy for quite a while calling up different companies to arrange my assistance.
One positive thing though: As for traveling abroad asking DB for assistance, procedures haven’t changed! Plus, it is now possible using the mobile version of Deutsche Bahn’s website to book tickets easier and more accessibly (in my opinion). The website can be found here:
To set the language to English, click on the link labeled with IMG/Flag_En_Low, found at the very top of the page. Alternatively, use this direct link:
I wish you a pleasant journey!