Friday, July 17, 2009

How to Mess Up a Good Transit System !

Well, just do as the S-Bahn has managed in Berlin...

  • reduce personnel
  • close workshops
  • ignore maintenance
  • "overlook" inspections
  • funnel profits out and up to the parent company

Then you can end up with what we've had here for the last couple of weeks: service reduction of 33% +

  • cancelled routes
  • overfilled trains
  • baffled commuters
  • great PR

Finally, you can mess around until the safety board grounds another major portion of your rolling stock due to your failure to conduct inspections and required wheel &/or axle replacement by the deadline. Then you can create the absolute chaos that will begin here this coming Monday:

  • 66% + reduction in service from normal!
  • no traffic on the essential east-west axis between Zoo Station and Ostbahnhof
  • NO S-BAHN SERVICE for our new shiny modern Main Station
  • NO S-BAHN SERVICE for Schönefeld Airport
  • hardly any service to outlying areas
  • short trains and reduced service where anything's running at all
  • the greatest lapse in S-Bahn commuter train service in Berlin since the devastation of World War II
  • Less east-west train service than during the period in which the Wall divided Berlin until 20 years ago

And you can claim subscribers will get a free month's service, once it's all fixed again (which may be by December!)

And you can refrain from posting ANY INFORMATION in the stations or offering commuters any printed material about what and how and when trains will run in the coming days. Your PR magazine goes on with life-is-a-dream as usual. Even the online route planner doesn't take these enormous reductions into account!

How about some old steam locomotives to pull some cattle cars into the S-Bahn stations? They might not look so pretty, but these days Berlin commuters would be happy to have something that rolls in and out of the station show up!






And let's just hope this is considered by tourists simply as another of those quaint things about Berlin which they have no hope of understanding anyway !

To see how little information non-German speaking tourists can hope for from this part of Berlin's transit system, follow this link to the English version of the S-Bahn's site. If you aren't convinced by their own statement of the paucity of information offered, click the little German flag to see all the warnings about no trains there, although this site also offers the Berliners very little overview. You sort of have to know yourself what would normally run and what isn't running now and what won't be running as of Monday.

So enjoy a commuting adventure! Book a stay in Berlin today!


  1. Sounds like a great time to leave Berlin for holiday in other parts of the world! (BTW, is my filial translater available for early Nov. in Barcelona?)

  2. Mallorca end September to early October, which means I have to coax them over to the island in that time.
    Otherwise, telephonic interpretation ??