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How you can still get around in Germany during the train strike

Sarah Magill
Sarah Magill - [email protected]
How you can still get around in Germany during the train strike
A Flixbus stands in the Central Bus Station in Berlin. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Fabian Sommer

From 10:00 pm Sunday until midnight on Tuesday, a 50-hour strike will bring most of Germany's train network to a standstill. But don't panic - here are some alternatives to train travel that you can still use next week.

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Check your local transport connections

Many local transport authorities - including those in Berlin, Munich, Hamburg and Frankfurt am Main, have confirmed that busses, trams and U-Bahn trains will still be running during the strike days next week, as those workers are not members of the EVG union.

READ ALSO: What train travellers need to know about Germany's upcoming 'megastrike'

If in doubt, check your local public transport website or app - you might discover that you can still use local transport to get around.

Take a Flixbus

Flixbuses will be operating to their usual schedule during the strike, but it's a good idea to book as soon as possible, as seats are expected to be in high demand.

Company spokesman Sebastian Meyer told local news site wa.de based in North Rhine-Westphalia that Flixbus will even increase its services and connections during the strike, but that, based on previous experience during strike action, he expects "a significantly increased demand for long-distance bus travel".

Workers for the company's train division Flixtrain also won't be striking, but it's possible that some routes won't run because of "network disruptions", Meyer said. Therefore, he recommended passengers switch to Flixbus.

Use a carpooling service

Another option is to use a carpooling service, such as  ADAC Mitfahrclub or BlaBlaCar. On these sites, drivers offer spare seats for a relatively small fee. 

You can search for the route you need to take and see if you find any drivers with matching travel plans. 

A man uses a carpooling app to look for rides from Munich to Berlin.

A man uses a carpooling app to look for rides from Munich to Berlin. Photo: pa/obs/mitfahrgelegenheit.de | mitfahrgelegenheit.de

Hire a car 

There are many car rental companies that operate in Germany, including Sixt, Europcar, Hertz, Avis and Budget and they usually have branches at airports, major train stations, and city centres. You can book a car online or by calling their customer service number.

READ ALSO: EXPLAINED: How to get compensation for delayed or cancelled trains in Germany

Most big cities also have several car-sharing services, such as MILES, Sharenow or Freenow.

Registering to use these apps is very straightforward and it usually takes less than a day to be approved as a driver. You just have to enter your payment and driving license details and take a photo of your driving license.

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You’ll then be able to see on the app which cars are available near you and you can start driving. Pay attention to the pricing plan: some apps charge by the minute and some by the kilometre driven. 

These apps also offer the possibility to hire a car for a set number of hours or days.

If you don't usually drive in Germany and are hiring a car just because of the strikes, remember to familiarise yourself with some of the driving rules and road signs specific to Germany before you get behind the wheel.

Take a taxi

Likely to be the most expensive option, you can always fall back on a taxi.

As well as local taxi services, there are several taxi apps in Germany, including Uber, Bolt and Freenow.

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Often these apps will give you a start-up bonus, or a bonus if you invite friends who also use the app. If a few people in your friendship group have to take taxis because of the strike, you could all get a discount if you invite each other with a special link.

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