What you need to know about Berlin's full day public transport strike

Rachel Loxton
Rachel Loxton - [email protected] • 1 Apr, 2019 Updated Mon 1 Apr 2019 08:08 CEST
What you need to know about Berlin's full day public transport strike

Passengers in the German capital faced huge disruption Monday as a full day public transport worker strike got underway.


Underground trains (U-Bahn), buses and trams were at a standstill in the third – and toughest yet  – strike by 'Berliner Verkehrsbetriebe (BVG) staff.

The Verdi trade union called on its members to down their tools and walk out in the industrial action which started in the early morning of April 1st and is due to last the whole day.

Commuters took to their bikes, walked or worked from home during the action.

SEE ALSO: IN PICTURES: Berlin public transport strike ends but more disruption expected

BVG is Germany's largest local public transport company with more than 2.9 million customer trips per day.

The S-Bahn lines are not directly affected because these trains belong to the operator Deutsche Bahn. Regional trains are also not operated by BVG, so passengers can switch to these means of transport.

S-Bahn services and regional trains were, however, expected to be busy as people can use them as alternative transport during the action.

SEE ALSO: Passengers face disruption as bus drivers in Berlin set to strike

Services in operation

The S-Bahn announced that it would deploy more trains. There will be around 80 additional journeys on the S5 between Mahlsdorf and Warschauer Straße from 5 am to about 6 pm. The DB regional trains will run on Monday according to schedule. Deutsche Bahn said passengers should expect very busy trains.

The following subcontractor-operated bus lines will run during the warning strike: 106, 161, 162, 163, 168, 175, 179, 218, 234, 263, 275, 284, 320, 322, 334, 341, 349, 363, 365, 371, 373, 380, 399.

The following lines operate with slight restrictions: 112, 140, 184, 283, 370 and 893. Line 390 is only used regularly in the early morning hours.

The BVG ferry lines are in operation.

Photo: DPA

SEE ALSO: Full day strike set for Berlin public transport

Airport passengers

The strike has created problems for people travelling to Berlin's airports, especially Tegel which is difficult to reach without BVG transport. The Berlin Airport Service said it would offer an irregular emergency shuttle service from Jungfernheide S-Bahn station.

According to airport spokesman Daniel Tolksdorf, a total of six buses will be in operation from 5am to around midnight. "This time we have not only coaches, but also low-floor buses that are easier to board," Tolksdorf told the Berliner Morgenpost.

Despite the shuttle buses, the airport spokesman recommended that travellers plan much more time for their journey. "Monday is traditionally one of the busiest days of the week. We expect more than 65,000 passengers," said Tolksdorf.

In the terminals, the airport company intends to deploy additional staff to look after passengers. For this reason, the viewing terrace at Tegel will also be closed on Monday.

Verdi rejected latest offer

The action is taking place as negotiations over pay and conditions for around 14,600 employees of BVG and its subsidiary Berlin Transport (BT) continue.

There have been two other strikes in Berlin during these negotiations. On Friday, February 15th, the majority of U-Bahn, tram and bus services were halted from early morning until 12noon. Traffic slowly resumed to normal afterwards. Further action took place on March 14th as bus drivers in the capital went on strike.

Verdi rejected the latest offer from the employers last Thursday.

"An agreement in the collective bargaining conflict was not possible due to the offer submitted by the employer," said Jeremy Arndt, Verdi negotiator. “Unfortunately, not all workers are benefiting from the increases the employers proposed.”

Among other things, Verdi wants to implement a 36.5-hour working week with full wage compensation. At present, almost half of the employees hired since 2005 have to work 39 hours.

The strikes have been described by those representing the employers as "completely inappropriate".


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