Ach. The light-rail trains in Berlin are only running on half-schedule, with some lines completely out. The federal train oversight board had warned the S-Bahn to check their wheels, and again after an accident a few months ago.
"Yeah, sure, we'll do a special check," they had said. And ignored the request.

The federal train oversight board hit back, requiring about 1/3 of the fleet to be taken out of service immediately, and threatening to revoke the license of the S-Bahn, which is a 100% daughter of the German DB train system. They were planning on going public, and were in the process of bleeding their daughters dry. The S-Bahn in Berlin paid a whopping 32 million Euros to Mama last year, and was expected to pony up 50 million this year. The "savings" were created by closing up the shops, junking old but servicable cars, and firing skilled workers.

So now they have not enough room in the shops, not enough skilled workers, and not enough money. And the Berliners are madder than all get out. The Berlin government reduced their monthly payment by a third.

I should be so lucky - we bought a monthly pass just a day before this all started. I used to need 50 minutes to work, the car takes 25 on a good day. Now, with the trains running only every 20 minutes, I need 70 minutes to get to work. Standing. In a hot, packed car (because they shortened the train sets). Okay, there's a lot of traffic now that many people are driving instead, but I was really angry about the now useless monthly pass.

The ChaoS-Bahn announced that all yearly ticket holders who were still with them in December would ride for free. On all of the Berlin public transport, not just the S-Bahn. Well, whoopdiedoo, but what about us poor folk who bought monthly passes and not yearly ones? I wrote a nastygram asking for them to refund half my money. I thought that was appropriate.

Today there was a loooooong call on the answering machine. From the S-Bahn. An apologetic older gentleman wanted to tell me in person how sorry he is that the S-Bahn screwed up and everyone is doing the best they can. But there are no plans to reimburse monthly pass holders. I can, however, purchase a yearly ticket (!) and then I will get an extra free month!

You kind of have to admire the logic - great for them, but this chaos is projected to continue on until fall. I think I'll pass on this offer.

1 comment:

brainerror said...

I'm quite lucky that I can travel to work by bike. Takes me 25 minutes, but that's okay - it's Berlin, after all. ...maybe you could drive a scooter? ;)

Question aside, what would you recommend to learn icelandic, especially if you're not, erm, interested in the phonetics?