Berlin public transport operator lures passengers with edible hemp tickets

Berlin's public transport network has come up with a novel way for commuters to ease the stress of Covid and Christmas as they travel: edible tickets laced with hemp oil.

The BVG hemp ticket in Berlin
The BVG hemp ticket in Berlin. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Fabian Sommer

“This way you can travel hassle-free around Berlin all day and then simply swallow your Christmas stress along with your ticket,” said public transport operator BVG, known for its quirky marketing stunts.

The tickets, which cost €8.80 ($9.95) each and are on sale until Friday, are made from edible paper sprinkled with “no more than three drops” of hemp oil, which is “said to have a calming effect” according to BVG.

They are valid for 24 hours and are “completely legal”, the company said.

“Hemp oil is 100 percent vegetarian and also makes an excellent salad dressing,” it added, suggesting that customers may like to wash their tickets down with one of Berlin’s famous Döner kebabs.

The new German government, sworn in last week, has agreed to legalise recreational use of cannabis.

READ ALSO: How Germany will legalise recreational cannabis

But BVG said it was “against any kind of drug use – whether illegal or legal. That is why there is a strict ban on drugs and alcohol in all BVG vehicles and stations.”

In 2018, hundreds of people braved long early-morning queues when BVG launched a limited-edition pair of Adidas sneakers that also functioned as an
annual metro ticket.

Retailing at €180, the shoes bearing the design of seat covers on Berlin’s U-Bahn trains were fitted with an annual ticket normally worth €761.

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‘Arrive early’: Passengers at European airports warned of travel disruption

Europe's airports chief told passengers to leave time for delays this summer as the air travel industry struggles to meet surging demand after the pandemic.

'Arrive early': Passengers at European airports warned of travel disruption

“The clear conjunction of a much quicker recovery with a very tight labour market is creating a lot of problems,” Olivier Jankovec, head of the Europe branch of the Airports Council International (ACI), told AFP.

He said there were issues from airports to airlines, ground handlers, police and border controls, but insisted: “The system still works”.

READ ALSO: Budget airline passengers in Europe face travel headaches as more strikes called

“It’s important for passengers that they communicate with the airlines in terms of when they should get to the airport, and prepare to come earlier than usual to make sure to have the time to go through, especially if they have to check luggage,” he said.

Strikes by low-cost pilots and cabin crew across Europe – including this weekend – are adding to the disruption.

Speaking at the ACI Europe annual congress in Rome, Jankovec said airports had taken measures to improve the situation, which would come into effect from mid-July.

“Additional staff will be coming in July, the reconfiguration of some of the facilities and infrastructure to facilitate the flows will also come into effect in July,” he said.

“I think it will be tight, there will be some disruptions, there will be longer waiting times.

READ ALSO: Airport chaos in Europe: What are your rights if flights are delayed or cancelled?

“But I think that in the vast majority of airports, the traffic will go, people will not miss their planes, and hopefully everybody will be able to reach their destination as planned.”

He also defended increases in airport charges, after criticism from the International Air Transport Association (IATA), which represents airlines.

Airports face “the same difficulties and inflationary pressures” as airlines, which he noted were putting their fares up, he said.

“Staff and energy is 45 percent of our operating costs, and of course inflation is also driving up the cost of materials,” he said.