By Soraya Sarhaddi Nelson, Caleb Larson and Monika Müller-Kroll
Starting on Monday afternoon, the BVG ride-share service, BerlKönig, will once again be available to all Berlin commuters, although only three will be allowed to ride in a single van at a time due to social distancing rules.
For the past two months, the service has only been available to doctors, nurses and other caregivers who signed up. They were ferried, free of charge, in response to the COVID-19 outbreak.
But whether the BerlKönig service will continue after July is unclear. Transit officials say they are discussing whether to keep financing the ride-sharing service.
A top union official said up to 100,000 jobs linked to Germany’s auto industry could be lost because of the pandemic.
In an interview with the German media group RND yesterday, Jörg Hofmann, the head of the IG Metall Union representing auto industry workers, said employees of companies that supply car manufacturers are most at risk.
Those who work for the automakers are safe, for now, Hofmann said.
Hofmann is calling on the government to deliver a stimulus package of up to 150 billion euros — roughly 3% of Germany’s gross domestic product — to protect the workers.
He predicted the problems the German auto industry is facing because of the coronavirus will continue long after the pandemic is over.
Hofmann said help is most urgently needed by suppliers who can’t open their businesses at the moment, as well as for municipalities that are losing tax revenues because of the faltering auto industry.
The union chief emphasized that if economic countermeasures were not taken, a “downwards spiral could occur.”
There is good news for local film buffs during the pandemic: Berlin is about to get a drive-in movie theater.
The drive-in, called “Carrona,” will be in a parking lot in Charlottenburg close to the Olympic stadium, with space for up to 150 cars.
Der Tagesspiegel reports that the new drive-in cinema will open on June 6.
The project is a collaboration between a local media agency and Berlin’s Zoo-Palast and is planning to screen family-friendly movies, including the Sci-Fi classic: “Back to the Future.”
This news is brought to you in cooperation with Berliner Rundfunk.