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#100: €9 ticket woes and a poisoned river
And some weekend ideas
Hey-o 20 Percent!
This is our 100th newsletter, which is the best news of the day. Looking back, 20 Percent is a bigger success than expected, even though maybe some metrics aren’t where I’d hoped they’d be. But a big thanks to all of you for reading, interacting and donating. Here’s to the next 100!
Speaking of good news: The €9 public transport ticket continues to be a success, by nearly all metrics. Most German cities had fewer traffic jams in July, news agency Redaktionsnetzwerk Deutschland reported Friday, even when adjusted for school holidays. The ticket is credited with the decline. Not surprisingly, the German statistics office also recently said train trips of more than 30 kilometers have also increased.
I admit to being a bit of a skeptic of the €9 ticket — it seemed like both a nice present to public transport riders during dark times but also a political gimmick. That is, until I started travelling to other German cities and discovered how easy it made local transport — I no longer had to learn how to use the Rube Goldberg-like ticket machines of other cities. I could just get on and go. So easy!
Making public transport simple seems the most expedient way to boost ridership, and that’s what the €9 ticket does. Although the price probably needs to climb, Germany would be missing a massive opportunity if they just leave it as a one-off.
Enjoy the ticket’s last month and also thanks for reading. Feel free to donate over on our Patreon and, above all, share with your friends (please) and enemies (just because).
The Berlin corona stats for Friday, August 12
Received booster: 63% (63% Tuesday)
New cases in one day: 2,909 (2,526 Tuesday)
Total deaths: 4,737 (+10 over Tuesday)
🔴 7-day Covid-19 incidence (cases per 100,000): 293.4 (295.5 Tuesday)
🔴7-day hospitalization incidence (also per 100,000): 14.8 (18.5 Tuesday)
🟡 Covid-19 ICU patient occupancy: 6.2% (6.2% Tuesday)
Source: Berlin’s corona page
Don’t swim in or drink from the Oder
If you’re heading toward the Polish border this weekend, don’t go near the Oder river (that forms the border). Thousands and thousands of dead fish have been washing up on the river’s shore near Frankfurt an der Oder and officials have found mercury in the water, according to RBB24. Other toxic chemicals may also be responsible for the kill-off and they’re moving northward toward Schwedt. German officials are irked because the Polish government knew about the catastrophe last month — and found traces of the solvent mesitylene — but didn’t tell Germany, according to Tagesspiegel. Criminal investigators on both sides of the river are investigating both what’s in the water and how it got there.
Students not getting €9 ticket … yet
Enjoying the €9 public transport ticket? Most university students in Berlin aren’t — they have yet to receive a refund for the semester-long transport ticket they buy as part of their studies, according to RBB. The problem — the Berlin-Brandenburg public transport association (VBB) and the schools don’t bill each other for the tickets until September or October. But even then most schools don’t yet know how they’re going to get the cash to notoriously skint students … either next month or maybe even in October.
Student freed by police
A 22-year-old student was freed a week ago by police after he disappeared on his way to a rave July 30. Police released few details other than to say he had been held for nearly a week and that they had arrested a 23-year-old man in connection with the crime — reportedly for demanding a ransom. The victim’s family had used social media and posters to seek help locating the man.
Our fair city-state has 1,858 playgrounds covering 332 hectares (820 acres).
If you haven’t seen Everything Everywhere All at Once then your Friday evening plans are set — in English with German subtitles at 9pm at the Freiluftkino Hasenheide, which is just a quick bike ride from your place anyway. Crazy-good movie with that pleasantness that is watching a movie outside (they’re also doing it again Sept. 3). Linky link.
The Gardens of the World in Marzahn is doing something called Culture Meets Garden, highlighting the cultures of the gardens in the museum with traditional dance, performances and food. The place is worth a visit, a lengthy stroll and now some noshing. 12pm to 7pm Saturday and 12pm to 5pm Sunday. Just buy a day ticket.