Berlin underground scares passengers
Although the German capital has a punctual and speedy metro system, people using it complain they do not feel safe, particularly at night – a number of well-publicised attacks have failed to result in increased security.
A survey of more than 1,000 people using the U-Bahn last summer showed most felt safer in the underground during the day, and that they largely wanted increased visible presence of police and security officers.
The study was conducted by the city’s public transport operator BVG and published by the Berliner Morgenpost newspaper on Wednesday.
“We have been calling for more security personnel on the train platforms for a long time,” Jens Wieseke, spokesman for IGEB, Berlin’s passengers’ association, told the paper.
“It is not just a matter of having the subjective feeling of being safe, but is also goes to good customer service.”
BVG underground director Hans-Christian Kaiser said the agency was in the midst of initial discussions on how to increase the security presence on the platforms, the paper said.
After two brutal attacks on the city’s U-Bahn drew national attention last year, local politicians took up the issue of safety in the underground. Berlin Mayor Klaus Wowereit held a security summit on the issue, and issued his own plan for combating security issues.
That plan called for, among other things, more police and security personnel on the underground lines, but new police units would not be ready for deployment until fall 2013, the paper said.
Opposition parties in Berlin made U-Bahn safety a campaign issue during the city-state elections last autumn.
The current survey showed passengers giving much higher marks for the underground train system’s speed and punctuality.