#69: €9 BVG pass, May 1 route hijinks, Friedrichstraße
Also: Berlin has its own herd of draft horses
Hello 20 Percenters!
The question I’ve gotten asked most this week by immigrants/expats (and my children) is whether a €9 monthly public transport ticket is a thing. Yes. Yes it is.
From June through August, you can buy a monthly public transport ticket for just €9 per month. What zones? All zones — A, B and even C. But wait — that’s not all! The BVG (or S-Bahn) ticket that will be sold in Berlin will be valid nationwide, which means you can also use it for public transport in Hamburg, Dresden, Saarbrücken or Freiburg. If you have an annual BVG ticket, they say they’ll adjust the price for the three months and you get to keep the extras (like taking a companion for free on evenings and weekends).
Not good enough, you say? Germany’s federal politicians are listening! They’re throwing in regional trains from Deutsche Bahn as well (the trains that stop at seemingly every train station, village stop and occasionally a bakery but not the long-distance ICs, ECs or ICEs). You could conceivably hop on a regional train in Flensburg (that’s near the Danish border) and take a series of nausea-inducing connections to Weil am Rhein (that’s near the Swiss and French borders) using just that ticket and probably a day of your life.
In fact, some enterprising young reporter from Deutsche Welle will likely do just that. Looking forward to the Berlin Fresh TikTok(s).
The ticket is part of the federal government’s attempts to soften the blow of rising energy costs and skyrocketing inflation (7.4% currently) because of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine as well as other economic principles that even economists are only pretending to understand.
Tl;dr: Your monthly BVG ticket will cost just €9 per month from June through August. Dogs extra.
Have a good weekend y’all. I’ve had a hectic two weeks that are just starting to come together so it can’t come soon enough.
PS: Two of Berlin’s funniest (and nicest) comedians have become event sponsors. They’re on tomorrow at Ma’s in Mitte. Info here or below.
The Berlin corona stats for Friday, April 29
Received booster: 60.4% (60.3% Tuesday)
New cases in one day: 3,506 (5,002 Tuesday)
Total deaths: 4,480 (+19 over Tuesday)
🔴 7-day Covid-19 incidence (cases per 100,000): 518.9 (518.9 Tuesday)
🔴 7-day hospitalization incidence (also per 100,000): 8.7 (10.3 Tuesday)
🟡 Covid-19 ICU patient occupancy: 6.2% (7.2% Tuesday)
Source: Berlin’s corona page
New route for May 1 protest
The Berlin cops have altered the route of the Revolutionary May 1 demonstration on Sunday to detour around several planned street parties in Neukölln. The organizers say cops are using the street parties as an excuse to pin in protestors and prematurely end the protest march. Neukölln borough officials disagree and told the Morgenpost the parties have been planned for some time — we’ll see how it play outs. The May 1 demonstration is expected to attract up to 20,000 protestors, according to the police, which will have 5,000 of its own on duty Sunday. The annual demonstration has led to various levels of rioting, vandalism and even looting since 1987 though the massive MyFest party near its final location — Kreuzberg’s Oranienplatz — had taken most of the wind out in recent years. Unfortunately, MyFest was cancelled again this year but expect enterprising beer salespeople and DJs to fill the void in the neighborhood.
Friedrichstraße to be bike-free too
The controversial mobility experiment on one of the city’s most banal stretches of asphalt will soon enter a new phase after bikes are banished from the car-free stretch of Friedrichstraße between Französische and Leipziger streets, making it a pedestrian-only zone. The adjacent Charlottenstraße will be converted to a “bike street” to make up for the loss — cars are prohibited from using official bike streets for through-traffic but since there’s little enforcement of anything in Berlin, and because officials are loathe to use other traffic control mechanisms, bike streets are usually only a designation. Berlin traffic minister Bettina Jarasch (Grüne) will give more detailed plans on the street’s future Monday (that stretch of Friedrichstraße has been closed to cars since October 2019).
Car is still König
Berlin gained 7,100 new cars last year, outpacing the capital’s population growth (5,500 more people in 2021), according to the federal vehicle agency. Berlin now has 1.24 million automobiles, or 0.3 for every resident, according to the Berlin-Brandenburg statistics office. The majority of the new cars have either hybrid or purely electric drivetrains. Interest in car buying — analysts say corona led to a boom — coupled with supply problems has pushed the price of used cars up 17.9 percent in the past year, according to the Berliner Zeitung, to an average €25,536. Twenty-seven percent fewer used cars are reportedly on the Berlin market. Come on people, public transport is going to cost just €9 a month. Who needs a car?
Berlin has six draft horses on its payroll after welcoming five-year-olds Bubi and Pauli April 29 to replace the retiring Volker (24) und Pünktchen (17). The horses are used in forestry in areas too sensitive or remote for heavier equipment, and have an official work day between 8am and 2pm.
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Good Comedy is like good chocolate; Dark, Bitter and Addictive!
Join us for Dark Twain, a super-fun evening of dark, rib-cracking humor and jokes, because sometimes the best way to get over dark situations in life is to laugh at them. Where: Ma’s Comedy Club (Mitte)
When: Saturday, April 30 at 8pm.