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Old March 8th, 2010, 04:31 PM   #481
Justme
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What's the point in showing the world a pretty face if the rest of the country has to suffer from it?
And in contrast to many other regions Berlin has a good public transport system. And has seen lots of investment in the recent past. (Hbf, Südkreuz, now Ostkreuz ...).
The rest of the country isn't exactly suffering. Sure, I would also like to see some u-bahn expansion in Frankfurt. Like the final connection in the U1 loop. But I am not going to say that it should take precedence over any other part of the country.

The fact is, Berlin needs financial help to speed up this line.

Germans have a very "me, me, me" attitude sometimes.

In many country's, the public transport network is financed through the state treasury. This is more logical as a city rarely has enough money to pay for such things. But Berlin can't really have this as it doesn't have a state. Well, let's be correct, it does, but it is it's own state. Maybe not the best arrangement one could have.

Berlin is also in an obvious need of financial help. You know, I don't mind helping out where it's needed. I pay an awful lot of taxes and a great portion of it goes to subsidise things I will never or hardly use. But others need them, so that's fine. I'd be happy for my taxes to help with Berlin's transport, as would I to improve the train stations in Dortmund, Düsseldorf or Munich.

I don't like paying taxes. Hell, I'm in the highest bracket and see pretty much half my wage disappear. But that's life and I don't mind if it goes to help other regions that need it.
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Old March 8th, 2010, 06:38 PM   #482
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I'm totally with you that the money should go where it is needed.
The problem is there are a lot of places who need financial help.
Since money is a scarce resource these days there should be some more points to consider than just the fact that Berlin is the capital and thus the money should go there

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Originally Posted by justme
Germans have a very "me, me, me" attitude sometimes.
nothing special to germans, human nature :p

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Originally Posted by justme
In many country's, the public transport network is financed through the state treasury. This is more logical as a city rarely has enough money to pay for such things. But Berlin can't really have this as it doesn't have a state. Well, let's be correct, it does, but it is it's own state. Maybe not the best arrangement one could have.
The city states therefor get better terms in the distribution of the tax income to the states. iirc, Berlin also gets extra funds because of its role as capital.
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Old March 9th, 2010, 12:42 PM   #483
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As another outsider, but lover of Germany, I just want to contribute a little to this debate.

I love Berlin, but I love many other German cities as well - especailly Munich and Hamburg. But there is no doubt at all that if you look at Germany from the outside Berlin is by far the most well knowned, and most visited city in Germany - both by tourists and others. Ofcourse Frankfurt is the finansial capital, and other cities have important industry and business, but Berlin is just the city that draw most attention. Not because it's the official captial, but because it's the capital in peoples mind. Other European contries as well have cities that draws most attention - often captials like London and Paris, but sometimes not even the capital (like Amsterdam in Holland). And since IT IS the actual face of these contries, all of the contry will benefit from the development of these cities.

You can ask anyone here in Denmark where I live which city in Germany they know - and most will say Berlin as the first. Many havn't even been to Hamburg, even though it is much closer to Denmark.

Another thing I've never understood - and that counts for most contries I know of. That is the issue raised by Justme - why it often is so hard to get National/Federal/State money into local public transport in big and important cities where it is obvious needed. It as always called a local matter, even though many cities can't carry these costs themeselves.
When it comes to motorways, there is almost always national/federal money invested - even though many of those who will use it is local travellers and commuters. But an U-Bahn, metro, tram etc. is always considered a local matter, that only concern the city itself - even though many of those have far more passengers than many national railway lines, and is important parts of a infrastructure that will benefits all - at least if we're talking the biggest and most important cities of a country. An that goes for both the actual captial and the most famous city, but also other important cities as well
A good local infrastructure in the important cities is as important as a good national infrastructure - both for the economy, for the industry and for the reputation of the country.

So my point is: Ofcourse Berlin is the most important city, and investment in good infrastructure there is good for the whole Germany, but Germany should invest in good local infrastructure in other important cities as well, and as I see it Hamburg, Frankfurt and Rhein-Ruhr could benefit from some improvements, and the whole country would benefit from it as well. Munich have propably the best infrastructure as I see it.

Last edited by Urbanus; March 9th, 2010 at 01:21 PM. Reason: Missed a point
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Old March 9th, 2010, 12:59 PM   #484
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But Berlin can't really have this as it doesn't have a state. Well, let's be correct, it does, but it is it's own state. Maybe not the best arrangement one could have.
You do realize that if Berlin had a state around it (Berlin-Brandenburg), it'd actually be worse off financially?
Berlin is sucking enough money out of the other states that you could pay Hartz IV for every single citizen of Berlin from it.
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Old March 9th, 2010, 02:41 PM   #485
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You do realize that if Berlin had a state around it (Berlin-Brandenburg), it'd actually be worse off financially?
You are probably right here. Brandenburg is a somewhat deprived and underpopulated state and in this case it maybe a burden rather than a help. Which is why in Berlin's case it needs federal assistance.

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Berlin is sucking enough money out of the other states that you could pay Hartz IV for every single citizen of Berlin from it.
I see it a different way. Every country needs a capital city. That's the way the world works, and Germany has Berlin. Since it is a federal capital, it's importance is at a national level. So a certain amount of federal money should be invested into the federal capital.

We can all sit down and moan about how our little village doesn't get the funds it needs, and in many cases it will be a valid point. But we still have to look at the bigger picture. A federal capital needs federal funds. Berlin does get this to a degree, but the very fact that the city is bankrupted because it was expected to foot so much of the bill itself shows it really isn't getting enough.

Urbanus makes a very good point. In this country, public transport is often the responsibility of the city council to fund. This is quite frankly unfair. Here in Frankfurt, I don't have to look to far to see that a great portion of the people on our u-bahn system actually live outside Frankfurt and it the metro area. In many other country's, this would be funded at the State level, or even federal. But as you point kato2k8, the state around Berlin, Brandenburg is not in itself a wealthy place and couldn't afford to assist Berlin, so the next step is federal help.
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Old March 9th, 2010, 02:47 PM   #486
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Berlin is not the only big and important city in Germany. Economically speaking, other regions are way more important and attract even more business travelers than Berlin.

Don't forget, the economic engine of Germany is in Munich, Stuttgart, Frankfurt, Rhein-Ruhr and Hamburg. Berlin as a whole is not generating any wealth for Germany. Its a poor region that lives from transfer money it receives from west Germany. Economically speaking it is quite bizarre what is going on right now in Germany. The wealthy regions, that generate all the money, must cope with crappy infrastructure while poor Berlin gets one first class project after the other. Sure, they have to catch up but not at the cost of the remaining country and the vast majority of the population. Its 4 million Berliners versus 65 million west Germans. The other east Germans get their good share as well.

And to be honest, I don't care if some budget tourist can make nice photos of first class train stations in Berlin. People all over Germany use public transport to go to work and do their business. These people are just as important.
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Old March 9th, 2010, 03:03 PM   #487
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Berlin is not the only big and important city in Germany. Economically speaking, other regions are way more important and attract even more business travelers than Berlin.

Don't forget, the economic engine of Germany is in Munich, Stuttgart, Frankfurt, Rhein-Ruhr and Hamburg. Berlin as a whole is not generating any wealth for Germany. Its a poor region that lives from transfer money it receives from west Germany. Economically speaking it is quite bizarre what is going on right now in Germany. The wealthy regions, that generate all the money, must cope with crappy infrastructure while poor Berlin gets one first class project after the other. Sure, they have to catch up but not at the cost of the remaining country and the vast majority of the popualtion. Its 4 million Berliners versus 65 million west Germans. The other east Germans get their good share as well.

And to be honest, I don't care if some budget tourist can make nice photos of first class train stations in Berlin. People all over Germany use public transport to go to work and do their business. These people are just as important.
Well, first of all: I've never questioned or denied the fact that there is other parts of Germany there is important. I just say that Berlin is the most important and famous face to the outside world. Not only for budget tourists.
Therefor I think investments in Berlin infrastructure is good investments, that will benefit more than just Berlin. But I also said that other cities need investment as well.
There have been invested much in Berlin, but mostly in the big railway stations, long distance railway, S-Bahn and airport. The U-Bahn is in a poor condition, and havn't been developed and extended much, other than the embarrassing and scandalous slow building of the U55/U5-extension (which was the actual subject for this thread). If you compare the U-Bahn there is a long way up to the standards of cities like Munich, Hamburg, Frankfurt, Cologne and Nürnberg.
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Old March 9th, 2010, 03:39 PM   #488
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Berlin is not the only big and important city in Germany. Economically speaking, other regions are way more important and attract even more business travelers than Berlin.

Don't forget, the economic engine of Germany is in Munich, Stuttgart, Frankfurt, Rhein-Ruhr and Hamburg. Berlin as a whole is not generating any wealth for Germany. Its a poor region that lives from transfer money it receives from west Germany. Economically speaking it is quite bizarre what is going on right now in Germany. The wealthy regions, that generate all the money, must cope with crappy infrastructure while poor Berlin gets one first class project after the other.
Berlin is still the federal capital and as such it deserves federal funds. It's also not like the rest of Germany's economically power cities have bad infrastructure. Last time I went to Hamburg, Munich or the Rhein Ruhr, I noticed quite good public transport. In fact, Germany is rather well known for most of it's major cities having a good u-bahn and s-bahn system.
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Old March 9th, 2010, 03:51 PM   #489
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Don't forget, the economic engine of Germany is in Munich, Stuttgart, Frankfurt, Rhein-Ruhr and Hamburg. Berlin as a whole is not generating any wealth for Germany. Its a poor region that lives from transfer money it receives from west Germany. Economically speaking it is quite bizarre what is going on right now in Germany. The wealthy regions, that generate all the money, must cope with crappy infrastructure while poor Berlin gets one first class project after the other. Sure, they have to catch up but not at the cost of the remaining country and the vast majority of the population. Its 4 million Berliners versus 65 million west Germans. The other east Germans get their good share as well.
Just that Berlin hasn't really asked for this. The decisions to build new stations and railway lines were made by representatives of the federal government and Deutsche Bahn.
The same with the U5 extension. Berlin can't afford and that's why they actually don't it. At least not now. Federal funds and contractual constrains, however, force the city of Berlin to finish this project.

Reality is way more complicated than the black and white picture you draw.
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Old March 9th, 2010, 05:42 PM   #490
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I see it a different way. Every country needs a capital city.
Sure. Mine's Stuttgart since 1976.

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the very fact that the city is bankrupted because it was expected to foot so much of the bill itself shows it really isn't getting enough.
Berlin was already pretty much bankrupt before it was declared the capital.

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Here in Frankfurt, I don't have to look to far to see that a great portion of the people on our u-bahn system actually live outside Frankfurt and it the metro area.
The U-Bahn in Frankfurt doesn't extend beyond Frankfurt city borders. The S-Bahn does.
Also, getting into public transport... you do know that pretty much every single local public transport building in Germany is financed through GVFG, the community financing law that grants such projects up to 70% federal or state funding - state if it's less than €50 million, federal if it's more than €50 million? The local communities - and that includes Berlin - barely pay anything outside planning cost and a token sum for the project.
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Old March 9th, 2010, 05:57 PM   #491
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Sure. Mine's Stuttgart since 1976.
Not a good turn to take in a debate next you'll be saying electricity comes from little pixies who live in the wires.

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Berlin was already pretty much bankrupt before it was declared the capital.
Ahh, yes. A slight problem in history called the cold war. You may remember it. Rather unpleasant stuff.

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The U-Bahn in Frankfurt doesn't extend beyond Frankfurt city borders.
a) Yes it does. Have a look on the map. Last I saw it extends as far north as Bad Homburg, which technically is still not officially part of Frankfurt.
b) You miss my entire point. A lot of commuters may come in on an S-bahn or Regional train and then transfer to an u-bahn to reach their final destination.

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Also, getting into public transport... you do know that pretty much every single local public transport building in Germany is financed through GVFG, the community financing law that grants such projects up to 70% federal or state funding - state if it's less than €50 million, federal if it's more than €50 million? The local communities - and that includes Berlin - barely pay anything outside planning cost and a token sum for the project.
Well it's not doing a terribly efficient case as evident in the U5 in Berlin then, isn't it.
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Old March 10th, 2010, 01:53 AM   #492
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The U5/U55 continuation is actually completely financed by the federation - Berlin isn't paying a single cent, which is a real disgrace.

From CDU Berlin (in German):

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Vorhaben U5:

Der Weiterbau der U5 zwischen dem U-Bahnhof Brandenburger Tor und Alexanderplatz erfolgt entsprechend dem zwischen dem Senat von Berlin und dem Bund abgeschlossenen Vertrag, der vorsieht, dass spätestens bis 2010 mit dem Weiterbau zu beginnen ist und die Inbetriebnahme bis 2020 erfolgen muss. Die Kosten für den Weiterbau der U5 ab dem U-Bahnhof Brandenburger Tor und für die Inbetriebnahme der gesamten Strecke betragen noch ca. 400 Mio. €. Die Finanzierung erfolgt aus den dem Land vom Bund zur Verfügung gestellten Mitteln nach dem Gemeindeverkehrsfinanzierungsgesetz (GVFG) und den Mitteln nach dem Regionalisierungsgesetz (RegG) sowie den Mitteln nach dem Hauptstadtfinanzierungsvertrag. Aus dem Hauptstadtfinanzierungs-vertrag stehen dem Land Berlin für diesen Bauabschnitt dann noch ca. 47,5 Mio. € zur Verfügung.
One really funny thing happened with the U55 btw (the full stretch from Lehrter Bf / Hbf to Alexanderplatz).

The federal government paid Berlin the money for the jointly decided project (over 500 million Euro back then, 80% of the project cost), and then Berlin didn't start building it - the Berlin state government instead squabbled about whether to build the line at all. This went so far that the Bundesrechnungshof (financial authority) finally demanded that the federal government demand interest for the paid sum from Berlin - to the tune of some 60 million Euro.
That was 10 years ago. Now the line still isn't finished (the original contract between Berlin and the federation called for 2002), and Berlin has haggled down the Federal Government until it now pays all of it.

Seriously, this crap with our money needs to stop. And the only way to stop it is to stop giving Berlin our tax money for stuff that does nothing for us.
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Old March 10th, 2010, 04:23 AM   #493
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Berlin is still the federal capital and as such it deserves federal funds.
What makes you think that Berlin does not receive federal funds? It gets more than enough.

The state Berlin as a whole gets transfer payments from the more affluent states and additional funds because its the capital. Then it gets funds because its in east Germany. Furthermore, most infrastructure projects in Germany are co-financed between the community, the state and the federal government.

If this is not enough for Berlin then there is something seriously going wrong in that city. Pumping even more money into it is no solution. Berlin must cut costs even if it is unpopular and might cost voters.

And to be honest, I don't think Berlin deserves anything. They can be happy that the rest of Germany is so generous to provide funds for its capital. Germany does not need Berlin but Berlin needs Germany to survive. Germany was perfectly fine with its former capital Bonn. Alone the movement of the capital from Bonn to Berlin was a financial disaster and IMO a historical mistake. All that money could have been invested in edcuation and science to increase Germanies overall performance. Its not like we are an oil rich nation that does not know where to put the money.

Would be interestin to see what Australian tax payers would think if the government wants to move the capital from Canberra to Sydney. Don't think they would be very happy. Waste of money.

Don't get me wrong, I don't wan't Berlin to starve or anything. They should get all the special treatment other east German cities receive as well. However, I am against any special treatment just because its the capital (except government infrastrucutre of course) . Berlins function is to govern the country but not to be a tourist hotspot financed by tax payers money. If some people have the urge to provide special funds then they should sent a portion of their monthly paycheck to Berlin.
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Old March 10th, 2010, 04:35 AM   #494
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Therefor I think investments in Berlin infrastructure is good investments, that will benefit more than just Berlin. But I also said that other cities need investment as well.
There have been invested much in Berlin, but mostly in the big railway stations, long distance railway, S-Bahn and airport. The U-Bahn is in a poor condition, and havn't been developed and extended much, other than the embarrassing and scandalous slow building of the U55/U5-extension (which was the actual subject for this thread). If you compare the U-Bahn there is a long way up to the standards of cities like Munich, Hamburg, Frankfurt, Cologne and Nürnberg.
It hasn't been improved much because there isn't much need! In the East the U5 and the tramway lines do a very good job, no need for more. IMO the extension of U5 would make the system perfect, but it's not really utter necessary. But now that we have the U55 on one edge and the U5 on the other, there must be a connection to make the U55 construction worth it!

The Berliner S+U-Bahn system is among the best I've ever rode and serves most of the city. The city actually has a very, very good transportation system overall.
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Old March 10th, 2010, 10:36 AM   #495
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It hasn't been improved much because there isn't much need! In the East the U5 and the tramway lines do a very good job, no need for more. IMO the extension of U5 would make the system perfect, but it's not really utter necessary. But now that we have the U55 on one edge and the U5 on the other, there must be a connection to make the U55 construction worth it!

The Berliner S+U-Bahn system is among the best I've ever rode and serves most of the city. The city actually has a very, very good transportation system overall.
Berlin have a very good U+S-Bahn-system. That's right. But to say it is complete, and couldn't need improvement is wrong. The coverage of the U-Bahn in the old East Berlin is very bad, and the tram is very slow compared to the U-Bahn. There is many gaps and incompleted lines - there is that in many other systems too (Hamburg is a good example) - and also in Berlin. To make it perfect as you say, these gaps should be filled (like U1 from Uhlandstrasse to Adanaur Platz, U3/U4 from Nollendorfplatz to Potsdammer Platz, U1 from Warschauer Strasse to Frankfurter Tor, U5 from Hauptbahnhof to Turmstrasse just to mention some obvious). But you're right, it works okay without them. It's good, but could be better. But most of all, many stations are in a poor condition, and that's where I really think improvement is necessary. It have been better in the recent years, with the renovation of U5, Alexander Platz, Kurfürstendamn etc., but still, I think many stations are not a great capital like Berlin worthy. And the U5 extention from Alexander Platz to Hauptbahnhof should have been built and opened 10 years ago. It is a disgrace that it have been that long time on the way, and only will be finished in 2017!!
I mean here in Copenhagen we have built almost our intire metro, including the new Cityring, in the same period of time that the somewhat small U5-extension have and will be built!

But as I said. Berlin have a very good transport system that need to be improved. Like many other German cities have good transport systems as well, that also needs to be improved. Germany overall is one of my favorite countries when it comes to urban transport - I think there is really many fine U-Bahn, S-Bahn, Stadtbahn and tram-systems. But still many of them could still need improvement - and much imvestment have been made in the 1960's and 1970's (or in Berlin in 1900-1940 - and again in the 60's and 70's). Not that much have happened in the last 20 years, and that is a pity.
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Old March 10th, 2010, 10:48 AM   #496
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What makes you think that Berlin does not receive federal funds? It gets more than enough.

The state Berlin as a whole gets transfer payments from the more affluent states and additional funds because its the capital. Then it gets funds because its in east Germany. Furthermore, most infrastructure projects in Germany are co-financed between the community, the state and the federal government.

If this is not enough for Berlin then there is something seriously going wrong in that city. Pumping even more money into it is no solution. Berlin must cut costs even if it is unpopular and might cost voters.

And to be honest, I don't think Berlin deserves anything. They can be happy that the rest of Germany is so generous to provide funds for its capital. Germany does not need Berlin but Berlin needs Germany to survive. Germany was perfectly fine with its former capital Bonn. Alone the movement of the capital from Bonn to Berlin was a financial disaster and IMO a historical mistake. All that money could have been invested in edcuation and science to increase Germanies overall performance. Its not like we are an oil rich nation that does not know where to put the money.

Would be interestin to see what Australian tax payers would think if the government wants to move the capital from Canberra to Sydney. Don't think they would be very happy. Waste of money.

Don't get me wrong, I don't wan't Berlin to starve or anything. They should get all the special treatment other east German cities receive as well. However, I am against any special treatment just because its the capital (except government infrastrucutre of course) . Berlins function is to govern the country but not to be a tourist hotspot financed by tax payers money. If some people have the urge to provide special funds then they should sent a portion of their monthly paycheck to Berlin.
And how do you think Canberra is financed? The entire city was built from scratch with federal money when they could have used an existing city. And today, it is entirely financed by federal reserves. Afterall, it doesn't have it's own state either.
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Old March 10th, 2010, 01:48 PM   #497
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The Berliner U-Bahn stations may not be in the best condition, but it's in the same tier as Paris, London or Chicago, better than New York for sure. So why should an impoverished city have ultra-modern stations while some ultra rich cities don't have it?
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Old March 10th, 2010, 03:01 PM   #498
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So why should an impoverished city have ultra-modern stations while some ultra rich cities don't have it?
I love questions that can be turned entirely the other way around.

Anyway. Would you be happy if they built old stations on the new line?

The thing is, this is a new line. So logic would assume that they build a new station on the new line. If you have some wonderful method of building an old station on a new line, please let us know. It may save a lot of money, and quite frankly, some old stations look fantastic.
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Old March 10th, 2010, 03:10 PM   #499
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I love questions that can be turned entirely the other way around.

Anyway. Would you be happy if they built old stations on the new line?

The thing is, this is a new line. So logic would assume that they build a new station on the new line. If you have some wonderful method of building an old station on a new line, please let us know. It may save a lot of money, and quite frankly, some old stations look fantastic.
I don't get your point. I'm saying that Berlin doesn't need to modernise their current subway stations. They do their job and the condition is acceptable the way it is now. And except for the extension of the U5, which is necessary to make the U55 worth it, the current system doesn't need any enlargements for the moment.

I lived there for half a year and I only caught one crowded train (S-Bahn) in this period and that's solely because the U-Bahn was on strike.

The size of Berlin's public transportation would be considered good even in cities like Rio de Janeiro.
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Old March 10th, 2010, 03:25 PM   #500
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Quote:
Originally Posted by schmidt View Post
I don't get your point. I'm saying that Berlin doesn't need to modernise their current subway stations. They do their job and the condition is acceptable the way it is now. And except for the extension of the U5, which is necessary to make the U55 worth it, the current system doesn't need any enlargements for the moment.

I lived there for half a year and I only caught one crowded train (S-Bahn) in this period and that's solely because the U-Bahn was on strike.

The size of Berlin's public transportation would be considered good even in cities like Rio de Janeiro.
We're not talking about modernizing the existing stations here in this thread, but the actual extension of the U5, which you agree is needed. So I guess we are in agreement.
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