Monday, October 22, 2007

German language legalism on railroad ticket

While being in Austria, I am planning to visit my parents in Linz on Thursday this week, and since the weather forecast calls for rain for the rest of the week, I decided to take the train instead of renting a car. So I went online to purchase a ticket from the Austrian Railroad company. The online ordering process was a bit cumbersome (after first selecting which train I wanted to take I had to then again select which train I wanted to take in order to actually reserve a seat on said train), but finally resulted in a printable ticket (with barcode and all).

However, I was quite bewilderd to find the following "important notice" on the ticket:

Wichtiger Hinweis:
Die Inanspruchnahme des Online-Standardtickets abweichend vom verkehrs√ľblichen Weg zur schnelleren Erreichung des Bestimmungsortes und in vorw√§rtsstrebender Richtung gilt dabei nicht als aufzahlungspflichtige Umwegfahrt.

This notice was quite puzzling to me, because I could not undestand the meaning of the entire sentence - despite the fact that German is (or should I say: was) my first language.

For those of you who don't speak any German, let me attempt a literal translation to show you why this is so strange (but it almost does make sense once you see the English translation):
Important Notice:
The utilization of the online standard ticket deviating from the usual
traffic path for the faster arrival at the destination city and in a
forward-going direction does not constitute a detour that would require extra

And I always thought that legalisms in English were bad enough...


D. Himes said...

No charge for better service? It simply makes no sense...! (BTW--Enjoy your trip!)

spiff said...


It could address the issue if the direct path is not possible, maybe because of an accident or other technical problems, you don't need to pay extra for any longer way you have to take.