If the Munich authorities enjoy a good challenge from time to time, then they have certainly come up trumps with this one. From Friday the 6th of July to Monday the 20th of August, Munich's busiest and most hectic summer period during which tourism is the name of the game, the heart of the inner-city transport system will be ripped apart for seven consecutive weekends.
Necessary fire protection system upgrades along with the need to replace old tracks will render the S-Bahn stretch between Pasing and Ostbahnhof completely unusable. The main lines will be closed beginning at 7.45 pm every Friday and reopen they finishing at 4 am the following Monday.
What are Munich's authorities doing to help ease the chaos that will be caused by such an alteration to the inner-city's transport system? Munich residents and travelers alike should be aware of the replacement services that are to be implemented during this time.
Bus services will run every 3 minutes during the day and every 5 minutes in the evening and will be stopping at all the affected stations. The S1 will still run from the airport to Hauptbahnhof and back, the S1, S2, S6 and S7 will still be entering the city from the west towards Pasing and the S-Bahn lines coming in from the east will terminate at Ostbahnhof. From these two outer stations passengers can find their journey into the city centre by bus.
The Monday morning commuter rush will therefore be unaffected and supposedly the early Friday evening surge of passengers will similarly be untouched. However, many disagree with this presumption. There has been widespread complaint; it has been suggested by retailers and business in the central zone of Munich that the time at which the works begin on a Friday evening should be set back, in order to help employees, customers, commuters, and tourists find their way home. According to the Süddeutsche Zeitung, Munich's Mayor Christian Ude of the SPD has shown his support for such sentiments in his letter to the Deutsche Bahn CEO Rüdiger Grube where he suggested that the proposed closure time on the Friday be shifted from 7.45pm to 8.30pm.
This however, does not seem to be an option. Such a change to the work schedule may increase the risk of these works affecting the Monday morning rush hour, according to Klaus-Dietel Josel, a company representative, and this would certainly affect many more passengers than the closure on a Friday night.
It would be wise for weekend commuters to factor in extra journey time when planning their route into and around the city centre, taking advantage of the replacement buses which will be servicing this popular transport line.