Saturday, December 23, 2017

Getting to Berlin

Last night I had a seven hour bus ride from Brno to Berlin.  This was my first time using Flixbus.

Flixbus is a German intercity bus service that launched in 2013.  They have been rapidly expanding and now have 120,000 daily connections to 1000 destinations in 20 countries.  This year they entered the Czech market and they are trying to compete with Student Agency.

I'm not impressed.  The yellow busses are better than the green busses.  The good thing was that it was a direct bus to Germany.  The bus went from Brno to Dresden to Schönefeld Airport so there was no reason to change busses in Prague.  The Schönefeld stop was more convenient than the Central Berlin Station (ZOB).  

The service on Student Agency is way better.  On the big yellow bus you book a specific seat and each seat comes with an individual entertainment system that allows you to watch movies.  With SA, you get a complimentary hot beverage and you can purchase soft drinks or snacks.  There was nothing on Flixbus and the Wi-Fi didn't work either.

At 9 am this morning I received an e-mail from Flixbus reminding me that my bus leaves at midnight and that I should be there at least 10 minutes early.  When they sent me the e-mail I was already in Rahnsdorf having breakfast with Claudia's family.

There are two airports in Berlin.  Tegel (TXL) is in the north of the city and handles 21 million passengers per year.

Schönefeld (SXF) is in the south-east part of the city.  It is mainly used by low-cost airlines and handles 11,6 million passengers per year.

The Berlin Brandenburg Airport (BER) was supposed to open in 2011.  The plan was to close both Tegel and Schönefeld when Brandenburg opened.  I remember years ago when there were protests about opening the airport.  I guess they need not have worried because people wonder if it will ever open.  Currently it's scheduled to open 2020-2021.

In addition to all of the bad planning, growth forecasts were never considered.  Once Brandenburg actually opens, it will already be at 100% capacity.  Now there's speculation about keeping Tegel open for good.  What a mess!

Here's a short video from last year that I found out on YouTube.  

©DW News

Update:  BER finally opened in December 2020.

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