Deutsche Bahn strikes could affect commutes
October 12, 2007
Military personnel and their families who use local and regional trains might be affected by planned Deutsche Bahn rail strikes in the coming days, but those traveling internationally won’t face any transportation woes.
Brigit Freyler, assistant manager at Ramstein Tickets and Tours on Ramstein Air Base, Germany, said that she hasn’t heard of any problems from customers on the base.
“We’re in the off season,” Freyler said. “If our people travel, they go on the long-distance trains.”
A 600-person RTT party train to Munich’s Oktoberfest last weekend, when strikes began, ran smoothly, she said.
The strikes held by the GDL, Germany’s train drivers, against the government-run Deutsche Bahn have been primarily on regional lines. Major train routes, such as the one from Kaiserslautern to Paris or any other big-city hub, cannot experience strikes due to German law.
On its Web site, Deutsche Bahn said that GDL had announced that all-day strikes of workers on regional and local rapid-transit (S-Bahn) passenger transport areas would commence on Thursday. However, talks between Deutsche Bahn and the GDL averted that strike.
The GDL has announced tentative strikes for Friday, Monday and Tuesday. The union is demanding a 30 percent pay increase for drivers, making their salaries comparable with other EU countries and Switzerland, according to German news agency Deutsche Welle.
Still, the threat of strikes forces locomotive travel to be assessed on a day-to-day basis. Because of the short notice of the strikes, Deutsche Bahn said it has no opportunity to find replacement drivers.
Last Friday in Stuttgart, commuters faced delays and decreased service due to a three-hour strike, according to news reports.
“It’s basically hitting those people who rely on public transportation to get to work,” Freyler said.
The Kaiserslautern United Service Organizations, which has occasional Deutsche Bahn hands-on tours, also had no problems with the strikes, director Konrad Braun said.
“Most of our people take buses,” Braun said. “We don’t really deal with travelers that need to use the Deutsche Bahn extensively.”
To check the latest travel information, log on to www.bahn.de/ris, and select the English icon on the upper right of the screen or call 08000-99-66-33.