#124: Cyclist dies, bilingual kids, hot October, WeShare
It's Jazzfest this weekend
Hi members of the 20 Percent and friends,
The €49 flat-rate public transport ticket — the replacement for the summer’s €9 ticket — is coming, our leaders have decided. Like its utopian predecessor, the Deutschlandticket will include all local and regional public transport in the country — so, yes, you’ll be able to crisscross Deutschland in regional trains to your heart’s desire.
The ticket will be introduced January 1 or else early next year (depending on technical issues), says transport minister Volker Vissing (FDP).
Not everyone’s happy. For one, it costs €49! Some say that’s too pricey for people on low incomes. Some critics say it isn’t cheap enough to lure drivers to occasionally switch to public transport. And others say it will primarily benefit suburban and rural residents who already commute long distances by train.
Thankfully, Berlin already has its very own €29 ticket. It only covers the city’s AB zones, but that’s ideal for hardcore Berliners who dread the thought of travelling beyond Spandau or Köpenick. Two days ago, local pols extended the €29 deal through March 2023. They also chalked plans for a €9 version for welfare recipients and people on asylum seeker benefits that kicks in January 1.
If only the BVG would actually mail plastic travel cards to all 140,000 people who signed up for the €29 ticket in October — and stop beating up passengers — we’d be sitting pretty.🙄
Have you received your card? Let us know!
More news below.
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Berlin corona stats for Friday, November 4
New cases in one day: 1,410 (2,534 Tuesday)
Total deaths: 4,965 (+24 over Tuesday)
🔴 7-day Covid-19 incidence (cases per 100,000): 235.6 (299 Tuesday)
🔴7-day hospitalization incidence (also per 100,000): 11.1 (13.7 Tuesday)
🟡 Covid-19 ICU patient occupancy: 6.2% (6.5% Tuesday)
Source: Berlin’s corona page
Cyclist hit by truck dies
The 44-year-old woman who was hit by a cement truck while biking in Wilmersdorf on Monday died in hospital of the injuries sustained in the accident. Media attention has focused on the fact that a fire truck carrying rescue equipment was delayed by a traffic jam caused by climate activists rather than highlighting that yet another cyclist (the tenth this year) had to pointlessly die because of poor cycle infrastructure and a driver’s negligence.
Programme for bilingual kids axed
Since 2016, the federal government has financed the salaries of special part-time language instructors in 350 Berlin kindergartens. The programme encourages kids who don’t speak German at home to develop their skills in both German and their mother tongues. The programme motivates parents to foster their kids’ bilingual abilities — which are often undervalued by educators (unless the languages are western ones like English or French). With federal funding set to dry up at the end of the year, RBB reports that Berlin officials might continue the Sprachkita programme, but warn that other preschool programmes would have to be sacrificed.
Hooray, a Berlin start-up success story: local car-sharing outfit Miles has scooped up Volkswagen’s all-electric WeShare, according to Tagesspiegel. With 500 WeShare vehicles now on board, Miles commands a fleet of 4,500 cars in the city and operates 9,000 cars across Germany and in two Belgian cities. The firm, which claims it’s been profitable since 2020, says it ordered 10,000 more EVs from Audi, Cupra and VW. In line with the Miles business model, trips with former WeShare cars will soon be billed according to distance driven as opposed to time.
This October was the second warmest October on record in Berlin, with the average temperature hitting 12.8°C, just a touch below the 12.9°C of October 2001. With 175 hours of sunshine, Berlin was also the sunniest of the 16 German states last month. And yes, it’s climate change, according to German Weather Service meterologist Andreas Friedrich.
It kicked off yesterday, but you can still hit up three nights of concerts at this year’s Jazzfest Berlin, which has been attracting big name musicians as well as avant-garde innovators to the city since 1964. Artists from Johannesburg, Cairo, New York, São Paulo and across Europe play venues large and small — and tickets are still available. The programme.
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