An open letter to Movia and DSB
Normally, I’m all for being positive. But it’s Monday, and nobody likes Mondays, so what better day for a little rant.
The public transportation system in the Copenhagen metropolitan area consists of three main means of transport: busses, S-trains, and the metro (underground). There are also regional trains and boat busses, but the first three really carry most of the load. S-trains and the metro are run by DSB, while the company in charge of bus traffic is called Movia. Here’s my open letter to them, admittedly a quite ranty one.
Dear Movia and DSB,
First off, let me say that I have accumulated quite a bit of experience with both of you over the last 2.5 years I’ve been living here. Since I’ve had a quite serious back injury two years ago, I’ve given up biking (not very reluctantly, to be honest!) – which (a) makes me total a weirdo in Copenhagen, and (b) puts me entirely at the mercy of the public transportation system.
My commute to and from work takes at least 45min one-way, and that’s when everything runs perfectly smoothly. Here’s the catch, though: it NEVER does. Well, okay, maybe not never. But it so rarely does that I explicitly notice when it does, and it puts me in a great mood for the rest of the day. And that for a city that is so frequently praised for its great public transport!
After three instances of cable theft at the same station in a row, I have to ask you, DSB, how difficult can in be to increase security and ensure that doesn’t happen any more? And why are there no better emergency plans in place to replace cancelled trains? Instead, every incident of cable theft, every tree fallen onto the tracks, every tiny bit of snow seems to lead to a full-scale disruption of the train system.
Plus, while you are super strict with checking people’s tickets (where I had a very impolite run-in with one of your ticket inspectors on the metro, who was incredibly condescending once he realized I was not Danish – but I was in the wrong, so I’ll let that one slide), yet you never actually enforce bike rules on your S-trains. Every morning, I witness people cramming their bikes into over-crowded trains, people stepping on and off the train with their bikes at Nørrebro, even though that’s not allowed during rush hours. When I try to tell one of these people that what they’re doing is wrong, there is no room for their bike, and they should wait for the next train, I’m met with incomprehension, anger, and a bike wheel rolling over my foot. Trains are made for people, and if you have these rules in place, it’s your job to properly enforce them!
And Movia, you’re unfortunately no better. At first, I was super thrilled to see that most bus stops have displays that show how far out the next bus is – what a great invention! I quickly realized, though, that these displays do not have any connection whatsoever to reality, and that “Movia minutes” don’t have a lot in common with the actual, standard, 60-second minutes we all know. The fact that your busses plan their no-shows precisely when I would need them most (when it’s pouring down, freezing cold, or I really have to be somewhere) doesn’t help.
But the one thing I really can’t forgive the both of you is the completely messed-up ticketing system. You had a great thing going with the “klippekort” – something that was also great for visitors and tourists, by the way. Instead, you’ve moved everything to your app (which requires internet access, something foreign visitors don’t usually have). And don’t even get me started on the infamous “rejsekort” – to this day, I don’t understand why you didn’t just buy the London Oyster card system, which works perfectly fine, and instead decided to develop your own solution. To say it was off to a rocky start is the understatement of the century – for weeks, the news were full with customers complaining about the system being down, them being charged for nothing, and the cards checking in and out on their own while supposedly safe in people’s pockets. The rejsekort also made for a fun bus ride, where one of the blue buttons had a malfunction and kept saying “CHECK UD! CHECK UD! CHECK UD!” for 25 minutes straight. It was one of those moments where you’re not sure whether you should laugh hysterically, cry uncontrollably, or go on a murderous spree!
And finally, despite all of these mishaps, malfunctions, and general screw-ups, you still seem to think it’s okay to raise prices yet again – with the oil price falling, mind you! I would tend to disagree.
Movia, DSB – I really hope we can work out our differences and become friends. After all, we are dependent on each other – me more on you than the other way around, as after all, you are still in a privileged monopoly position. I will try to stay calm and keep my cool, but I hope you guys can work on your issues, too. Otherwise I’ll just have to buy a car!
(Not so much) Love,
Here are some helpful links for you, dear readers (who are NOT Movia or DSB):