Tuesday, 3 February 2009

Strike One, Day One in Munich.

Warning public transportation strike day one in Munich. Day two of last week of LMU classes.
1.) Walk the 2.9 KM (1.5 miles) in cold snow and ice conditions.
2.) Attempt to find bus that goes in general direction (although words of MVV state that the buses will have " massiveinschrenkungen" aka massive delays.
3.) Stay in bed and have a lie-in considering that lecture which is normally over 200 people will probably not be even remotely full due to hordes of students that also rely on MVV.

I think it's pretty obvious what my choice was.

Strikes are unavoidable, but in a place like Bavaria you really have to wonder if they choose inconvenient dates on purpose. It is the last week of classes for all the universities in Munich before the semester holiday begins (which lasts until the 20th of April). Since we're still in Germany, you can also imagine that half the teaching staff will not be in Munich during this time.

What to do?

Well, If I had been in Ottobrunn like before, I would have had zero chance of making it into university. It would really have been impossible. And woe to those who don't speak German. The posted warning signs and announcements were infrequent and only in German. As the Abendzeitung points out, not everyone got the message (I think they could have been a little less cheeky about it however).

As for those of you who think Munich isn't that big, I'd just like to remind you that it has 1.5 million inhabitants. An exact figure of how many people use the MVV system daily was impossible to find but I can tell you that the public transportation system comprises of multiple forms of transportation (Underground, Tram, Bus, and S-Bahn) that the city is absolutely dependent on. Munich is the most expensive city to live in in Germany, and one of the more expensive ones in Europe. Few people can afford to live centrally, creating an absolute reliance on transportation networks that bring commuters in from the suburbs.

Today only the S-Bahn was running on a normal schedule. The buses (as I mentioned earlier) were running on an emergency schedule. To be especially kind, the strike began at four this morning, allowing late-night partiers to get home, but shutting commuters out. At 15:30 this afternoon, things are meant to start running again. I need to be in the third ring at 17:30, we'll see how I fare.

My own feelings are ones of annoyance. The MVV has the efficiency of a city much smaller than Munich. Trains run every seven minutes during rush hour (leading to signs politely asking you to refrain from using trains at that time). Fares are impossible to calculate, and insanely expensive (For example, it costs more to ride the underground here than it does to ride the metro in Paris). And should you calculate incorrectly, prepare to pay forty euros, no excuses. Perhaps the next warning strike should be that of the people of Munich against the MVV.

Close to where my lecture would have been today...if I could have gotten there.

Photos Courtesy of the Abendzeitung, more can be found here.

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