Discover more from 20 Percent Berlin
#217: New €29 ticket, better DB connections, Last Generation costs
Some thoughts on Oktoberfest
I hate to admit this publicly but, by pure chance, I ended up at Oktoberfest Monday evening. Yes, that Oktoberfest.
I’m not going to say I didn’t enjoy myself — who doesn’t like a good party — but, between polka renditions of ‘80s German classics and misogynistic tunes that have no place in public, I realized I much prefer Berlin’s public celebrations. You know, Zug der Liebe, Karneval der Kulturen and, above all, Christopher Street Day.
For one thing, they’re outside, which makes it feel like the whole city is partying. And they’re not just about getting black-out, forget-your-name drunk while eating animal carcasses and wearing goofy, supposedly traditional clothes (though goofy clothes always seem to play a role). And more than anything, they feel much more inclusive — hell, inclusivity is what Karneval der Kulturen and CSD are about.
And also I’ve never witnessed so many individual instances of drunken toxic masculinity at any of our parties compared to what I saw in just a few short hours in Munich.
For all Berlin does wrong, it does a few things right, which I guess is why we’re here.
Have a good weekend!
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€29 AB ticket but others will cost you more
Be careful what you wish for. The Berlin-Brandenburg public transport association Thursday approved a monthly, €29 AB ticket for Berlin but also took the opportunity to bump ticket prices up an average 6.7%, because someone’s gotta pay for the cheap monthly ticket. The €29 ticket will be introduced sometime in the spring and can only be had as part of a 12-month subscription — it was a campaign promise of former mayor Franziska Giffey (now Berlin’s business minister) and is an offshoot of the wildly popular, Germany-wide €9 ticket last year. Higher prices for normal tickets will begin Jan. 1 — a single AB ticket will cost €3.50 (a 30 cent increase) or €2.70 if you buy a four-ride ticket (€10.80 vs €10 currently). ABC will be €4.40, up from €4. Live in C and need an ABC monthly ticket? That’ll be €93.50. The association, officially the Verkehrsverbund Berlin-Brandenburg, oversees all public transport in the two German states and sets prices for all local networks.
Higher prices (but better connections) from DB too
The VBB isn’t the only public transport authority offering upgrades while raising prices — Deutsche Bahn, the national railway we love to ride and hate, announced a new schedule Friday that will begin December 10. The good news first: Hourly direct trains to Munich (several of which will reach the Bavarian capital, home to Oktoberfest, in just 3:45) and the Berlin-Amsterdam train will need 30 minutes less (currently about 6 hours) thanks to new locomotives customized for the German and Dutch networks. We’ll get a second direct connection to Vienna and half-hourly trains westward to Hannover and destinations beyond (like Cologne). Oh, and Austrian rival ÖBB will introduce three night trains to Paris. The bad news: DB admits it’ll have to raise prices in October and can’t yet do anything about delays/cancellations — it’ll start renovating its network soon, it says.
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Tesla is a dangerous employer
Also be careful if what you’re wishing for is a job at Tesla. The car factory southeast of Berlin is apparently a hotbed of work-related injuries. Since it opened in March 2022, the company has requested an ambulance 247 times and had seven serious injuries on-site, according to RBB and Tagesspiegel, which quoted a paywalled story from Stern, a news magazine. The plant, which cranks out 5,000 Model Ys a month, also has three times as many employees on sick leave as the Audi car plant in Ingolstadt in southern Germany. And then there’s the 26 incidents of alleged environmental pollution. Journalists didn’t just fault Tesla — officials in Brandenburg have long been suspected of turning a blind-eye to problems at the plant in favor of the 11,500 jobs there (with promises of more).
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What Last Generation costs
The corona stats used to be a key component of this newsletter and maybe we should now replace it with Last Generation stats — as shown by our last newsletter, everyone has strong opinions about the activists. The stats for this newsletter? Cleaning up the orange paint they sprayed on the Brandenburg Gate will cost more than €100,000, despite original cleaning estimates of €35,000, according to T-Online, and a 23-year-old member Thursday was fined €400 for cutting off the tip of Berlin’s official Christmas tree at Brandenburg Gate last year, according to taz.
Culture is perhaps Berlin’s strongest suit, so it’s probably no surprise that the city is the only in the world to have three opera houses. The financial logic of maintaining all three is debatable, because it’s not cheap keeping the doors at the Staatsoper Unter den Linden, the Komische Oper and the Deutsche Oper open. I’ve been to things at all three — the most memorable was a rave in 2001 at the Staatsoper.