Interview • 01.06.2012

Vending machines at the railway station:”Around-the-clock at attractive prices“

Interview with Michael Greschniok, Press Officer for Deutsche Bahn AG (German Railways), Department Passenger Stations

Vending machine: Snacks and soft drinks at the railroad platform. © Schellbach...
Vending machine: Snacks and soft drinks at the railroad platform. © Schellbach

German Railways (DB) has 5,700 passenger stations. With 3,500 vending machines, it is the most important German partner for operators of snack and soda vending machines. At the large railway stations, they complement the product range of stores – even after closing time. German Railways asks the operators to also equip smaller railway stations that do not have a shop, with vending machines.

What significance do vending machines have for snacks, drinks or photos at your railway stations?

The vending machines provide merchandise and services around-the-clock at attractive prices and of high quality. In doing so, they ideally complement the range of products at the railway station. Currently, around 3,500 snack and soda vending machines as well as about 500 photo booths are being operated in our transport depots.

You issue an invitation to tender for vending machines on a regular basis. What requirements do the operators have to fulfill?

The operators should be able to manage the railway challenge with all its facets. This includes a very good credit rating for example, the willingness to install modern vending machines including further development of technology – for instance banknote acceptors or the changeover to cashless payment options – the continued availability of all items in service and quick repairing of defects. The size of the railway station is of lesser importance, what is crucial is the potential at the respective location.

How do you calculate operating leases? Is there a commission?

We charge a minimum operating lease with commission.

How has the reliability of vending machines developed from your point of view?

Thanks to the cooperative and dedicated operators, the use of modern equipment as well as the adherence to corresponding regulations in the contracts, there is a very good standard in terms of reliability, so that travelers and visitors to railway stations come across an excellent supply situation.

Which products are best sellers at the railway station vending machines?

There is no difference to other vending machines. Customers clearly favor well-known brand-name products.

Do you influence the product range?

Only in exceptional cases.

You are testing a pizza vending machine in Frankfurt. Are there early results already?

The vending machine is being highly accepted and customers are satisfied. In addition, it also caught the attention of the local media.

How is vandalism generally developing at railway stations, at ticket vending machines and at vending machines?

Unfortunately, vandalism also happens at railway stations. However, the operators are generally well prepared for this and protect their equipment with corresponding measures.

Interview by René Schellbach,


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