Saturday, November 8, 2014

Bahn Stike Update

The German railway strike will end tonight (Saturday) at around 6PM.  Presently, it's safe to say that a quarter of all Germans are peeved to the ninth degree.

If you live in a major urban the Rhine Valley, or Hamburg, or Munich.....people use the inner-city subways daily, and regional trains to a great degree.  I'd guess here in my local area (Rhine Valley include Mainz, Wiesbaden, Darmstadt, and Frankfurt), at least half-a-million people get moved around on a daily basis.  Students, retirees, long-distance travelers who work in Frankfurt but live thirty miles away, and inner-city residents.

Four things came out of the this three-day strike.

First, if you were a non-car owner (there are actually people in this category).....there was a rush to rent cars.  Virtually every single car in the region was rented out.  If you flew into Frankfurt's airport....expecting to just walk up and rent a car, it wasn't going to happen.

Second, a massive flow of cars going into urban areas on Thursday and Friday....tied up the autobahns to a massive degree.  You could have added thirty to forty minutes onto your journey, before you even got to the worst part....not enough parking.  Frankfurt would have dig up another forty thousand parking spots if this were the norm.

Third, the new inner-city bus service....going long distances now because the law allows it.....has really gotten a boost by the strike.  They added more buses onto the routes, but still couldn't meet the demand.  People got introduced to a concept and they might just enjoy paying less for the trip than Bahn typically charges.

Fourth, no one really sides too much with the GDL union folks.  I've watched different news pieces where people from the public were asked opinions, and most weren't happy with the effect of three days.  A number of people point out that the union has gotten four-star deals over the past decade, very different from what most Germans have received.  If a deal is concluded....everyone expects a Bahn rate hike within twelve months and likely to be another 2-to-3 percent up.

What's next?  I don't think the Bahn management guys are going to give in on the last detail....expanding the union membership.  The question is.....will they go into December and run a seven-day strike?  I've seen this question on one commentary, and wonder about this myself.

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