12. January 2016

Captain Train simplifies international train ticket sales

Online portal: Parisian start-up strengthens the Pro-Rail Alliance

Booking tickets that cross international borders - until now not so easy.

Berlin, January 12, 2016. The Pro-Rail Alliance has a new member, this time from the international start-up scene. From today, the Paris-based booking portal Captain Train will strengthen the German transport alliance’s commercial side. “We welcome Captain Train as our 131st supporting member,” said Dirk Flege, managing director of the German Pro-Rail Alliance, on Tuesday in Berlin. “We have being complaining for years about the fact that buying train tickets for journeys that cross international borders is too complicated. With an appealing, well designed Website and an award winning App, Captain Train has come up with an elegant, customer-friendly solution,” said Flege. “Using this portal, rail travellers can rapidly access information on the fastest connections and the best prices for Germany and most of Europe.” Tickets can be booked online, but any customer enquiries will be answered by real people working in real time. “This is exactly how we envisage the much vaunted digitalisation of transport, where booking train tickets becomes easier and more personal at the same time,” added Flege. He promised that in terms of transport policy, Captain Train will feel very much at home as part of the Pro-Rail Alliance.

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The online platform Captain Train is outfitted with clarity and completely ad-free

“We share the same goals as the Pro-Rail Alliance,” said Captain Train’s chief operating officer, Daniel Beutler. Beutler was previously employed for many years at Deutsche Bahn, most recently as director Western Europe Sales. “In Germany, as well as in Europe, the railways desperately need more political backing. The fact that Captain Train makes booking easier is an important contribution. However, we expect a fairer competitive framework from policy makers,” said Beutler. For example, cross-border train tickets would immediately be noticeably cheaper if Germany did not impose VAT on the whole ticket price. “It is absurd that plane passengers do not pay VAT for international flights anywhere in Europe. Unfortunately that is not the case for train tickets. After Croatia, Germany has the second highest VAT rate on train tickets in Europe,” said Beutler. As a supporting member of the Pro-Rail Alliance, Captain Train will “vigorously fight for fairer competition between the different modes of transport.”

160108_Captain Train_PM_Geschäftsführer Daniel Beutler
Daniel Beutler, CEO of Captain Train

As an independent European portal for booking train tickets, Captain Train for the first time combines the tickets being offered by the biggest European rail operators. The portal now offers tickets from 19 countries. Captain Train funds itself out of the commission paid by the train operators and carries absolutely no advertising. With 5000 ticket sales per day and over 50 employees, the start-up is growing rapidly. In December 2015, the Paris-based start-up won the German-French business award.


Additional information:

Link to the Captain Train booking portal

Overview of all 131 supporting members of the Pro-Rail Alliance

Chart: VAT rates for international tickets in different EU countries