First Class U-Bahns

Recorded remotely from Kreuzberg, Neukölln, Rome and England. New Year’s Eve is effectively cancelled, with limits of 200 people for indoor events and a ban on dancing in clubs. Much like last year, fireworks have been restricted but not banned outright. Sales are highly restricted and around 50 areas have been declared fireworks free, such as main squares and big streets. Jöran would prefer an outright ban as he now has a dog who will be terrified by the noise.

Berlin’s new double-decker buses have gone into service. The top deck is slightly higher, they also have wifi, and USB ports. The BVG has been outfitting older buses with USB as well, noting a reduction in vandalism which according to a BVG spokesman is because “The youth are so busy with their phones, that they hardly get any other ideas.” Unfortunately the new buses are diesel powered, an anachronistic choice the BVG blames on the unavailability of double-storey electric buses.

A recent study published by the World Economic Forum, the Boston Consulting Group and Switzerland’s University of St Gallen suggests the implementation of a “first class” option for Berlin’s public transportation system. According to their models wealthy Berliners currently commuting from low density outlying areas via car would switch to public transportation by €10 bookable seats featuring such luxuries as comfortable seats and reliable internet. We have our doubts.

A property located on Habersaathstraße in Mitte with 100 apartments has been left mostly vacant for years. The owner is Arcadia Estates, a company which has applied to demolish the building, but the city council has resisted, arguing that it should be used as is. This month a group of 30 people without permanent homes squatted the property. Mitte Mayor Stephan von Dassel of the Green party intervened and announced the squatters would be allowed to stay. Celebrations were short lived. City authorities later declared no one could stay there because there were no smoke alarms or fire extinguishers. A donation drive was organized and fire safety equipment was ready to be installed, but that wasn’t accepted. Everyone was evicted, in sub-zero temperatures. The Green party mayor stated that places had been found for them in other shelters.

The SPD’s Fraziska Giffey is Berlin’s new mayor. Giffey is reunified Berlin’s first elected woman mayor, but not the first woman to run the city. Louise Schroeder ran the city from 1947 to 48, though she was appointed rather than elected. And East Berlin also had a woman leader, Ingrid Pankraz, for a few days in 1990. These women have been ignored by most media covering Giffey’s election.

More than half of BER airport’s “travelators” aka moving sidewalks are out of action. ​​Most of the travelators and escalators were installed in 2011 and sat unused for almost a decade. The hardware deteriorated, making them unusable. Now they have to be replaced.

Thank you to everyone who listens. We appreciate the audience and the community. If you would like to help keep this project viable we appreciate financial support. Become a monthly supporter or make a one time donation at

This episode was written produced and recorded by Joel Dullroy, Jöran Mandik, Daniel Stern, Izzy Choksey and Matilde Keizer.

Two Ways to Steal A House | Guest: James Jackson

Confusion in the club queues as new 2G+ rules start. Does the plus mean mask, test or both? The short answer is always check ahead. We’re back to the bad old days of finding vaccine appointments by word of mouth. The website can help you find an available vaccination center.

Christmas markets are open for now. Izzy recommends the Nollendorfplatz Christmas Avenue LGBTIQ* Weihnachtsmarkt, with performances at 19:30 each night.

We meet Berlin’s most prolific Twitter curator, James Jackson. He explains his annoyance at Germany’s obsession with homeopathy and plant-based medicine. Follow him here:

How do you steal an entire apartment block in Berlin? You can fake paperwork, like a group of fraudsters did, or you can use the courts to kill off the government’s Vorkaufsrecht, or right of first purchase, as some greedy investors have just done. Both cases show how Germany’s property market is thoroughly corrupted.

Berlin’s new Red-Green-Red coalition has presented some of their planned policies for the next five years. They plan to reduce Berlin’s fossil fuel use – but not fast enough, says Izzy. The new federal government plans to legalize marijuana. Will it take away income from people who can’t get working permits?

This episode presented by Izzy Choksey, Matilde Keizer, Joran Mandik, Joel Dullroy and Daniel Stern. Thanks to all our supporters! You can donate to keep us going here:

Follow us on Spotify

Subscribe on Apple Podcasts

RS Podfest: Destroy This Company

BER turned to chaos over the October holidays, with huge queues and many missed flights. Airlines advised travellers to come four hours early. The airport is only handling half the pre-pandemic passenger numbers. Who saw this coming?

Should we use Gorillas or boycott? We meet three members of the Gorillas Riders Collective, who are suing the 10-minute-delivery company, and being sued, as they fight for on-time pay, non-faulty bikes, lighter loads and real contracts. They say users should think before ordering butter in bad weather, and at least give a tip. Gorillas is supposedly worth almost €3 billion, but they aren’t spending that money on maintaining bikes.

Swapping is the new shopping. Hundreds of Berliners have joined a movement to trade their clothes instead of buying unsustainably produced fashion. They get together for meet-ups to exchange their items. Founder of Berlin Clothing swap Jenna Stein joins us.

How does it feel to win the battle, but maybe lose the war? Wouter from Deutsche Wohnen und Co Enteignung tells us what the housing activists plan to do to force politicians to respect the referendum result.

Berlin is on track to get a red-green-red coalition after local SPD branches rebelled against Franziska Giffey’s attempts to partner with conservative parties. Was it a tactical ploy, or a sign of weak leadership?

This episode was presented by Izzy Choksey, Matilde Keizer, Joran Mandik and Joel Dullroy. It was recorded live at Podfest Berlin, an event supported by Patreon and organized by our own Dan Stern.

RS Election Special: Yes But No

Berliner voters wants more left-green politics and a radical state take-over of property – but the new mayor may ignore those demands.

At Sunday’s city-state elections, a majority (54.3%) voted for the R2G parties, showing the citizens want the current coalition to continue. Another majority (56.7%) voted ‘yes’ in the Deutsche Wohnung & Co. Enteignen referendum, instructing the city to forcibly buy houses from big corporate property investors.

However it will be up to the SPD to decide if those things happen. The SPD won the most votes (21.4%) and can pick who to team up with – and they don’t like Die Linke, and have clashed with the Greens.

The referendum result is non-binding, and the SPD’s lead candidate (and likely mayor) Franziska Giffey is opposed to it (although many party members support it).

Will Giffey’s SPD really ignore the wishes of a majority of Berliners? Join us for this quick take on Berlin’s 2021 election results.

With Izzy Choksey, Joel Dullroy, Jöran Mandik and Daniel Stern.

RS Live: 2G or Not To Be

The Berlin election results could deliver a shock result: instead of the current green-left coalition, we could end up with conservatives who want to build on Tempelhof, expand highways and stop rental reforms. We’ll terrify you with the worst-case scenario.

Instead of finishing the A100 autobahn, let’s turn it into a giant urban farm. That’s the latest mad idea from Paper Planes e.V., the dream team behind the Radbahn project. We talk to Perttu Ratilainen about how we could grow veggies on the highway. More at:

Not vaccinated yet? Now you can’t eat at many restaurants or go to events. The 3G rule has been tightened to 2G – only immunized people can enter many places. Tests are fast becoming obsolete.

The Humboldt Forum is about to open a new exhibition of artefacts stolen by German explorers and colonialists. We meet Virgil Taylor from the Coalition of Cultural Workers Against the Humboldt Forum (CCWAH). He explains what’s wrong with the reconstructed city palace, outside and in. More at:

The Berlin Podfest is on October 23-25, organized by our own Daniel Stern. Attend, participate or just listen:

This episode was hosted by Matilde Keizer, Jöran Mandik, Joel Dullroy and Daniel Stern.

Thanks to all our supporters! You can donate to keep us going here: