The technical difficulties arose Monday evening when the Federal Railway Authority (EBA) banned the use of around 380 trains whose wheels had not been checked once a week as required. The new requirement was introduced after a train derailed on May 1.
The ensuing delays and mayhem has caused considerable political fallout this week. A spokesman of the federal Transport Ministry spoke of “a scandalous situation.” All four S-Bahn bosses were suspended on Thursday, while the opposition in Berlin’s state parliament called on the senate to cancel its contract – worth €225 million a year – with the S-Bahn.
A spokeswoman for Berlin’s Transport Senator Ingeborg Junge-Reyer told the Berliner Morgenpost newspaper she was “astounded” by the situation, and was looking into the possibility of fining the S-Bahn.
The German Transport Association (VCD) demanded that passengers with long-term tickets should get some of their money back if they have not been able to get to their destinations without long delays.
In an interview with press agency DPA, VCD spokeswoman Almut Gaude urged customers to “express their anger by writing letters of complaint.”