In Stuttgart, students have found a unique way to draw attention to the ongoing problems with defective escalators at a university station: putting up funny memes. This practice, which has been going on for years, recently took an interesting twist. Deutsche Bahn, which previously removed the homemade posters and even made accusations of vandalism, has now changed its attitude.
Deutsche Bahn announced that the students' creative efforts will not only be tolerated, but even encouraged through a competition where the best meme will be rewarded with an iPhone. This gesture is an acknowledgment of the students' ingenuity and an attempt to demonstrate a more relaxed approach to complaints and criticism.
Deutsche Bahn has pledged to address the situation. They shared information about the cause of the damage to the escalator and their plans to renovate the elevators. With a total investment of approximately 630.000 euros, the Bahn promises that the lifts will be renewed by the end of December.
Jens Fischlein, a student at Media University, sees the action as a source of entertainment and thinks Deutsche Bahn's response so far has been exaggerated. Two years ago, Fischlein posted a photo of the plastered escalator on Reddit, which was a lot attention pulled. As Fischlein notes, thousands of people, including the elderly, rely on the escalators every day.
Ulrich Heck, from the Verkehrsclub Deutschland (VCD), in his response to the situation in Stuttgart, emphasized the need for rapid repairs of the escalators by Deutsche Bahn. He criticized the Bahn's priorities, indicating that communication campaigns are not a substitute for actually solving infrastructural problems. Heck pointed out the dependence of many people, including persons with reduced mobility, on functioning escalators and elevators in public transportation facilities.
He also emphasized the broader problem of underfunding in public transport. According to Heck, not enough has been invested in public transport in recent years, which leads to these types of problems. He expressed the hope that politicians will recognize this problem and that improvements will take place in the future. Deutsche Bahn has indicated that the damage to the escalator, where a coat was stuck, will be repaired before Christmas.