Düsseldorf loses patience as Pokémon shuts down bridge

Düsseldorf loses patience as Pokémon shuts down bridge
Pokémon hunters on the Girardet-Brücke. Photo: DPA
The city of Düsseldorf has pleaded with the makers of Pokémon Go to shut down gaming locations on a bridge which has become so packed by players that traffic has been blocked off.

So many Pokémon hunters have descended on Girardet Bridge in the capital of North Rhine-Westphalia (NRW) that authorities have re-routed traffic away from the bridge since the end of July.

Up until this point, the city's strategy has been to appease the hungry gamers, providing portable toilets and had even discussed providing them with a food truck, the Rheinische Post reports.

But now it seems authorities have had enough.

After locals complained about the noise, city mayor Thomas Geisel visited the bridge on Wednesday to get a better overview of the situation and broke the news that, come the end of the school holidays, the fun would be over.

The city has now asked game maker Niantic to shut down three of the four so-called Pokéstops on the bridge which are the cause of the huge masses of gamers.

In making such a request, Düsseldorf is following in the footsteps of neighbouring Cologne, which asked the company to shut down a Pokéstop at Cologne Cathedral after crowds there became an irritation to the city’s main tourist attraction.

On the other hand, Düsseldorf has recently embraced the world-wide gaming phenomenon by introducing a Pokémon train which helps hunters of the animated monsters catch 'em all via public transport.

Firms ban Pokémon Go in workplace

Volkswagen is one of several major German firms which have banned employees from playing Pokémon Go while working in their factories, Bild reported on Wednesday.

In an internal email to its 70,000 employees, the Wolfsburg-based car company said that playing the hit game while at work would increase the chance of an accident due to “lack of attention” and “distraction”, according to the tabloid.

One VW employee told the tabloid: “Almost everyone here plays it. Just yesterday I caught three Pokémon in the workplace. A few people are annoyed at the news – it wasn’t bad for work, but in the end the bosses are probably right.”

Steel producer ThyssenKrupp has also barred its employees from playing the game during working hours, as has the security company Kötter.

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