#114: A free €29 ticket?, the 2021 vote, algae
Plus the average age of us Berliners
Hello 20 Percent!
You’re almost there. A three-day weekend. Monday we get a day off for German reunification, which is a bit contentious among Germans because of the thing that caused the division in the first place. But what it means for us is that supermarkets today and tomorrow will feel like a Wal-Mart on Black Friday.
But if you’re unable to plan ahead, we’ve got you covered with our What’s Open When Nothing’s Open page. It would be awful if it were German reunification day and you ran out of Remoulade.
Plus: It’s museum Sunday, when you can visit Berlin museums for free — maybe an idea to get in out of the cold.
On to the news unless you want to donate to our livelihoods, in which case stop by our Patreon page and then move on to the news!
The Berlin corona stats for Friday, September 30
New cases in one day: 1,654 (2,257 Tuesday)
Total deaths: 4,830 (+22 over Tuesday)
🔴 7-day Covid-19 incidence (cases per 100,000): 260 (226.5 Tuesday)
🔴7-day hospitalization incidence (also per 100,000): 10.6 (9.7 Tuesday)
🟢 Covid-19 ICU patient occupancy: 3.7% (4.6% Tuesday)
Source: Berlin’s corona page
2021 all over again
Berlin’s constitutional court Wednesday said it probably will require Berlin to re-do the elections for the city-state’s parliament after poor planning teamed up with the Berlin Marathon to make the 2021 election a year ago a shambles: missing and incorrect ballots as well as endless lines threw the results into question. The court won’t issue a final ruling until December and any vote couldn’t take place until March. But don’t expect anything to change. The ruling left-leaning triumvirate of the left-wing Die Linke, the environmentalist Die Grüne and the center-left SPD would probably keep its post, though a percentage point might move here and there. The Bundestag — Germany’s lower house of parliament — is also deciding whether parts of the federal election also have to be repeated here — also with little change expected. Just another sign that while Berlin looks like a big city, it’s more just a mid-sized calamity.
BVG for free?
In yet another sign of the calamitous nature of this place, public transport provider BVG Thursday kicked off the sale of its discount €29 ticket for Berlin’s AB zones by making it possible for anyone to download the preliminary October ticket for free. To get the €29 ticket, riders must sign up for a monthly subscription and will be sent a chipcard in November. Until the card arrives, subscribers were supposed to print out the temporary ticket and enter their name on the paper as proof they had paid because, despite having an app and presumably an entire IT department, BVG (like so much of Germany) still relies way too much on our grandparents’ technology. Now €29 ticket owners, BVG told T-Online, will have to carry two pieces of paper — the ridiculous temporary October ticket as well as the order confirmation for the subscription.
But also getting more expensive
The VBB, the public transport authority for Berlin and Brandenburg, said it will raise public transport prices 5.6% April 1. Brandenburg public transport folks wanted the rise on Jan. 1 but Berlin said it might be wiser to wait and see if a federal replacement for the €9 ticket emerges — and prevailed. The VBB is the umbrella organisation of local transport agencies like BVG and S-Bahn, and sets prices in the entire network.
Algae to blame for dead fish
After all the finger pointing in both directions across the Polish-German border, officials now say an algae bloom was responsible for a massive fish die-off this summer in the Oder river, about 100 kilometers east of Berlin, according to RBB24. The environment ministry said salt from an unknown source helped a brackish-water algae bloom, killing wildlife in the river which forms part of the Polish-German border. A Polish commission came to a similar conclusion.
Berlin has the second-youngest population of all German states with an average age of 42.6. Only Hamburg has a younger population, tough just slightly at an average 42.2.