In Brief: Berlin Senate aims to decriminalize ‘Schwarzfahren,’ riding without a ticket on public transport

The initiative to decriminalize the act of riding public transportation without a ticket will be presented to Germany’s Federal Council, the Bundesrat, on Friday.

Photo by Soroush Karimi on Unsplash

 

The Berlin Senate wants to decriminalize “Schwarzfahren,” or riding without a ticket on public transportation.

It’s a motion that was first started by the state of Thuringia. If the motion is successful, getting caught on public transportation without a ticket would be lowered in severity to a misdemeanor or administrative offense.

Those in Thuringia pushing for the proposal say the criminal prosecution of “Schwarzfahrer” exacerbates social problems and inequalities. They say often people who get caught without a ticket simply could not afford to buy one.

The initiative will be presented to Germany’s Federal Council, the Bundesrat, on Friday.

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According to the food donation nonprofit Tafel Deutschland, more and more people in Germany are dependent on the service the organization provides.

The nonprofit said the number of people using the food bank has risen by 10% within the past year. Among seniors, there’s been a 20% increase.

In a statement, the chairman of Tafel Deutschland Jochen Brühl called this development “alarming” and saiid politicians must take action to combat poverty.

“Do something,” he said. “Stop standing still.”

The first Tafel was founded here in Berlin 26 years ago. There are now almost 1,000 Tafel throughout Germany.

 

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