Wednesday, November 12, 2014


S-bahn Strikes Rip Berlin Apart, Piss Off Donut Munchers


I try to love the Berlin Bear in spite of all the damage it does me when it hugs.  It’s a love/hate thang.  I get dazzled by the tutu dance, and then suddenly I want to set fire to the fur and watch it dance the Watusi.

Twenty five years after the Bear kicked the Commies out, dropped a wall and reunified a nation, they still.  Have not.  Got their shit together.  In this particular case I am referring to the crippling S-bahn strikes (German: STREIK! with an exclamation, screamed aloud for effect).  I think this blog post might be the hat trick for the number of colossal fuckups perpetrated by the BVG, Deutsche Bahn and the S-bahn. 

Your transport ticket may cover all modes of transport in Berlin (S-bahn, U-bahn, trams and buses), but this in no way covers the frustration, anger, missed meetings and lost time encountered when one of these independent-and-oft-uppity modes of transit goes terribly awry.  I’m talking constant construction (often more than once on the same stretch of the same line—in the same year), delays, and sudden failures of a particular line on a weekly basis and the general breakdowns.  And that’s not even counting when the Umbrella Corp shuts down one branch under its own soggy roof for (I’m not making this up) failure to do weekly train wheel inspections.

German efficiency, my pimply white ass.

And the cheeky motherhumpers have the SACK to raise the ticket prices once or even twice a year for 5 years in a row.  If I had a goat to get, this would be what got it.  I have been tempted to ‘ride black’ (a nice little Germanism for riding without a ticket; probably with some inherent racsim) in protest, but this is a hard position to back up in the face of groups of ticket controllers in your face in a cramped metal box hurtling toward the next station—where Gestapo and dogs await.  They shake you down for money on the spot (especially and specifically if you are an ausländer).

What I suggest is this:  since there seems to be no end to the gross incompetence inherent in the Berlin transport system, we need to get together.  Solidarity, mein soldaten. I propose that we gather in groups the day after the next time they have a 3 or 4 day strike and ride en masse (to confuse them with French) and Schwarz (black as the Ace of Spades, baby).  When the Ticket Kontroll goose-steps up to us, we give them The Fury Finger.

When we are asked to meet the Gestapo and their canine backup barkers in the next station, we’ll hold up signs saying FAHRER STREIK! KEIN GELD FUR SCHWEIN! (Riders strike! No money for pigs!)

Maybe they’ll even treat us to the super soaker water cannon tanks they usually reserve for riots and/or unwashed punk rockers.

Note: the blogger lives in the Berlin hinterlands and the only transport services available to his cranky ass are S-bahn service and some slow-ass buses to rely upon.  That and he is middle aged and probably hormonal due to Manopause.

Image credit: Cat de Leon, painting 'Lucky Strike.'