The plastic Bahncard is over since Sunday. Deutsche Bahn is now only issuing a digital version of the discount subscription. Social associations are criticizing the move.

As of this Sunday (June 9th), the plastic Bahncard is no longer available. Deutsche Bahn now only wants to offer the discount subscription as a digital version. From June 9th, customers will therefore no longer receive a chip card, as the railway announced. Existing Bahncards will remain valid until they expire. The measure applies to subscription variants 25 and 50, with which holders pay a quarter or half less for a ticket. The plastic card will only be retained for the Bahncard subscription 100.

Social associations criticize the move toward digitalization. “Deutsche Bahn is showing how it shouldn’t be done,” said Michael Stiefel, head of the “Participation of people with experience of poverty” project at Diakonie Deutschland.

“It is setting up an ecologically good project without considering the social consequences.” Digital offerings often pose hurdles, especially for people affected by poverty: “People who do not have digital devices or are simply overwhelmed by digital applications will be excluded from using them in the future,” it said. “This particularly affects people with little money and older people.” In addition, not everyone can use digital means of payment.

Deutsche Bahn rejects the criticism. It will still be possible to carry the Bahncard as a paper printout in the future. It can be bought and paid for in the company’s customer centers. However, all Bahncard customers also need a digital customer account. Deutsche Bahn says it now sells 90 percent of its long-distance tickets via digital channels. Ten years ago, the figure was 51 percent.

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