Tuesday, 21 August 2018

B B C 2

A Railway P.S.
The brain expired towards the end of yesterday's blog and fbb missed out a little snippet about the train service to Füssen. The diagrammatic representation of the Deutsche Bahn (DB) network ...
... shows how "challenging" it is to understand diagrams when they, possibly, attempt to give too much information. But the clever plan does explain a little more about the Füssen service.
The ORANGE line represents a two-hourly service from Augsburg designated RE - Regional Express. The DEEP RED line is the two hourly service from Munich (München) designated RB - Regional Bahn. Connections are available at Buchloe to offer an hourly service both ways. It is not entirely clear what the difference is between RE and RB in this case.

Note also the station at Marktoberdorf Schule. It is what it says on the tin, a station just for school pupils and staff!
Germany does not allow Streetview, so the aerial Google Maps view is the best fbb can provide. And, in case you wondered, trains do stop there at schooltimes and on schooldays only as per the timetable extract.
fbb cannot think of the similar station in the UK with a similar school-specific stopping pattern.

Back to Rosshaupten - And Those Logos
Here fbb is floundering. So here goes with a fearfully risky flounder, no doubt corrected by a more well-informed comment in due course.

Local public transport is, in very general terms, controlled by the state authorities and be are in Baden Würtemburg.
To the west is France, to the east is Bavaria ...
... and to the south is Switzerland. Rosshaupten is in the state of Baden Wurtemburg - so fbb's jocular title is erroneous. B B C 1 (and B B C 2) should have been Baden-Würtemburg Bus Company.

Most rural and interurban buses in Germany are under the overall management of DB. Thus we have our first bus logo.
The bus operating company is RVO, but it is not clear (to fbb!) whether this is an independent long-tern contractor or simply a subsidiary of DB.

Die Regionalverkehr Oberbayern GmbH (RVO) feierte 2016 ihr 40. Unternehmensjubiläum und damit auch ihre einzigartigen Freizeitlinien. Den runden Geburtstag nahmen wir zum Anlass, unsere Begeisterung für Mobilität und unsere Heimat Oberbayern zum Ausdruck zu bringen. Und Sie, liebe Fahrgäste, bekommen auch ein Stück vom Geburtstagskuchen ab!

GmbH (Gesellschaft mit beschränkter Haftung) is the equivalent of the UK's Ltd.

For its operations in the Allgäu "region" (which includes Rosshaupten), RVO has its own subsidiary, RVA ...
... the logo on the flag! 

Die Regionalverkehr Allgäu GmbH (RVA) ist ein Tochterunternehmen der RVO und sorgt für Mobilität in den Landkreisen Ober- und Ostallgäu.

And just to befuddle our tiny minds a bit further, Allgäu is not a "political" area at all but a geographical area which includes parts of Baden Würtemburg and Bavaria.

The presence of the other logo on the timetable in the frame ...
... adds another dimension! 

Die Oberhavel Verkehrsgesellschaft GmbH (OVG) ist das größte und leistungsfähigste Unternehmen des öffentlichen Personennahverkehrs im Landkreis Oberhavel.

OVG appears to be an independent bus and coach operator with a nice blue livery ...
... operating under its own name elsewhere but here in Allgäu painted shiny red, labelled RVA and thus a subcontractor to RVA.


But it doesn't matter a jot to the passenger because everything is integrated and advertised as a seamless set of services with red buses.
Confusing it is not, because the contractual complications are well hidden behind sensible and co-ordinated marketing and branding. Apply, if you will, the National Express operating system to local buses.

What a good idea - but, of course, buses in Germany are highly subsidised and utterly regulated and therefore do not rely on the unhelpful mix of commercial and/or tendered routes and times.

Too Much Information?
Full timetables are published on line and, for RVA at least, dead easy to find. If the Tyrannosaurus Rex of bus blogging can find them, the click-route MUST be easy!
(click to enlarge the timetable) Note that times are given for every stop, even if there is no apparent difference!

But there are copious column heading notes to explain those little differences.
On schooldays (S) the 0615 from Rosshaupten is operated by RVA, but on non-schooldays (F) another subcontractor appears, namely "K¨O;TZ"; but fbb can find no other evidence! It is a place name, but more than that, fbb is baffled.

Note that connecting journey 0073 505 is operated by a TaxiBus with prebooking arrangements covered by the note 2 in a box). Other white-on-black numbers refer to journey specific notes shown at the foot of the table and, obviously, in the list on the bus stop "flag".
Pre-book taxi forms the bulk of weekend service on bus route 72, some booked six hours in advance, some one day in advance.

All of this fascinating detail is provided on the one set of tables with stereotypically teutonic thoroughness; and, to repeat a thought, the variations in operator, size of vehicle schooldays etc. do not cause a major problem as it is all there on one set of tables.

On Sunday last, the family moved across the border to Österreich (Austria) to spend a few days in Innsbruck.

 Next Hungerburg blog : Wednesday 22nd August 


  1. That's the wrong OVG I'm afraid! Will try to find the right one later!

    1. Ostallgäuer Verkehrsgemeinschaft (OVG)- literally East Allgau traffic company, a sort of local PTE that sets fares. The wikipedia entry says it is NOT integrated with local rail

      The other OVG is Upper Havel Bus, named after the local river and just to the north of Berlin.

  2. Kotz is a locally based bus operator. ("Fa" = Firma, generally an indication of a non-limited company). They have probably won a bus working or two under tendering, the outcome of which is frequently displacing DB from local bus work. However, much of DB's work is placed with sub-contractors, and there is usually no requirement to have buses painted in any particular livery.

  3. It's not quite true to say that "Most rural and interurban buses in Germany are under the overall management of DB", at least not any more. Whilst DB do have a significant part of that market, they are often and increasingly obliged to tender for it just like everybody else.

    Your description has the RB and RE the wrong way round - the orange line is the RB to Augsburg, which stops at every station along the way. The deep Red is the RE to Munich, which misses 8 smaller stations on the way into Munich (in the area between the two snapshots, on the Munich S-Bahn), as do all RE's on that stretch. RB/RE stopping patterns can be the same for large distances, although here it is a little unusual for the patterns to be so similar.

  4. The "40th birthday in 2016" gives a clue to the ownership of RVO. When I went to Germany in the 1980's, rural buses were operated by a mixture of DB and Deutsche Post, but the area round Garmisch was all RVO.

    German wikipedia says that RVO was formed by the merger of railway and post buses in Upper Bavaria in 1976. Since Deutsche Post gave up bus operation in the late 1980s, RVO has been wholly owned by DB. RVA is a subsidiary, set up to operate outside Bavaria, which is 70% owned by RVO and 30% by a private bank.

    Incidentally, to cross-reference back to last Friday's blog, note the "99" headnote to journey 506. This is a standard DB note, which indicates that stops are not served in order down the page; in this case starting at Prem and then calling at Lechbruck.

  5. Thanks to all who sorted the logos out!

  6. The letters "VG" occur quite often in the abbreviations for organisations related to transport in Germany. It can be for a Verkehrsgesellschaft, a transport company - usually an operator. Alternatively, it may be a Verkehrsgemeinschaft, which translates roughly as "transport community" - a joint body, which determines fares. The generic term is Verkehrsverbund, and there is some similarity to a PTE, although they specifically handle fares/ticketing and some marketing - but not the timetables. A Verkehrsverbund generally belongs to its participating operators - this page shows the ownership breakdown for the equivalent body in the area around Freiburg:-