August 2019


Changing Routes

M48 to AlexanderplatzFor the last nine years, my normal commute has comprised a 500 meter walk, followed by a 20ish minute bus ride, and 280 meter walk.

It is also super convenient because it gives me a single seat ride with reasonable walks at the beginning and end of my trips. I’m able to read books, listen to podcasts, and/or stare out the window, as my mood dictates.

A somebody who likes continuity in their daily life, this rhythm is nice, predictable, and unchanging. The bus comes every ten minutes and, at least before 8:00, is predictable as to when it gets to my stops.

Actually, there are times that I’ve wondered: although I know that schedules tend to change once a year, mine hasn’t changed in the last 9 years. The only bus route alteration I can remember is when BVG officially gave up on having the M85 run past Brandenburg Tor on its way to the Hauptbahnhof – instead routing it through the tunnel under Tiergarten. They gave up because there were too many “special” events that closed the road, thus making the route unpredictable.

That all changes after this week.

Starting Sunday, BVG is introducing a new bus route, the 300, that will go from the Philharmonie to Warschauer Straße, taking tourists to a number of hot spots that the 100 and 200 missed. Actually, really only one: The East Side Gallery; reportedly Berlin’s second most visited tourist “attraction” – although I am of the opinion that it is a really awful place to visit and lacks any sense of proper history.

When I first heard about it, I thought that I better dig deeper, and boy am I glad I did. The knock-on effects are magnificent: the 200 is getting re-routed down Leipziger Straße because the 300 is going to go down Unter den Linden. Because the 200 is going down Leipziger Straße, the M48 would just be duplicative service so… well, it’s going to no longer go all the way to Alexanderplatz, instead it’s going to go to the back side of the Mall of Berlin, with its last stop (or first, depending upon how you view it) next to the infrequently used U-Mohrenstrasse.

Thus, my commute is altered: no longer will my friend the M48 take me to a stop 280 meters from my office, now I will have to walk 400 meters – an extra 120 meters to get to my office after getting off of the bus.

I wonder about my fellow commuters: a fair number of passengers who get on the bus before me ride past the stop where I get off. These passengers effectively no longer have a single seat service for their commutes. Will these M48 riders switch to the 200 and 300 buses at the one stop where they all meet, will they switch to the U2 somewhere else?

For me, it is not really a dramatic change to my life because I get to keep the one thing that is the most important to me: a single seat ride.

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