There has been a small step forward in the ongoing dispute over taxis at BER Airport: the number of Berlin taxis that are allowed to take passengers there every day has been increased to 500. The district of Dahme-Spreewald (LDS) and the state of Berlin have agreed on this. According to a joint statement, the expansion is intended to serve the increased demand for taxis, especially in the off-peak hours. So far, 800 taxis have been authorized to charge at BER, half each from Berlin and half from LDS. The regulation applies immediately and is limited until the end of October 2023. Until then, the situation should be checked regularly.

The so-called zipper procedure, in which Berlin and LDS taxis drive up alternately, is also to be abolished in the event of bottlenecks.

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The Berlin administration sees an intermediate step in the result of the negotiations between Transport Senator Bettina Jarasch (Greens) and LDS District Administrator Stephan Loge (SPD). On Wednesday morning, taxi drivers at BER also pointed out that the agreement reached was not sufficient: “Our Brandenburg colleagues did not serve the airport from 8 a.m. to 11 a.m.,” said Hayrettin Şimşek, second chairman of the Berlin taxi guild. Some Berlin drivers would have joined the action.

“At least 1,800 taxis would need charging authorization,” Şimşek estimates the need. Passengers often have to put up with long waiting times because no taxi that is authorized to charge is allowed to drive up. For a long time, his guild has been campaigning for the complicated access rules for taxi drivers at the airport to be completely overturned. The agreement of September 2020 stipulates that taxis selected by drawing lots must appear “in at least 80 percent” of the shifts driven “at least once per shift at the staging area”.

The Passenger Transport Act stipulates that taxi drivers may only pick up guests in the municipality in which they hold their license. Drivers from the capital without loading authorization at BER must therefore return to Berlin empty after they have brought passengers from the city to the airport. Conversely, LDS taxis in Berlin are not allowed to take anyone with them. When driving empty, fuel is consumed unnecessarily, says Şimşek.

The history of the taxi dispute goes back to the old Schönefeld Airport, where Berlin taxi drivers have not been allowed to pick up passengers since 2013. In return, the capital canceled the business in Tegel for the Brandenburg drivers.