Why Oberursel’s Hessentag deficit is larger than expected

The big wheel at Oberusel's station

Last year the Hessentag in Oberursel took up quite a bit of the town’s resources and also was covered quite extensively on this blog.

Today the day arrived when one of the key questions after the event was answered: “how much did it all cost?”, or to be more precise – how big was the loss that the town’s finances have been left with.

The original budget was for a loss of 3½ million Euro.  In the end, it turned out to be 4½ million.  An addition €836,000 were spent by the town’s own service department (BSO) and €503,000 on personnel costs.  However these are not included in the deficit as to a certain extent they would have been spent anyway on the normal day-to-day running of services in the town.

So what went wrong? [Read more…]

On-line credit card payments just got more complicated

Credit cards - ©iStockphoto.com/zentiliaPaying with a credit card when buying things on-line has become a part of life on the internet.

A few years ago credit cards were not particularly popular in Germany, and many shops still do not take them.  Many people only have them for ordering goods on-line, so they do not get that much use.

One of the main reason for their popularity is probably the fact that it is considered safe, because if something goes wrong you can call the credit card company and get their help to sort it out.  This makes it better than a bank transfer, cheaper than ordering something to be delivered as “Nachnahme”, and avoids giving out bank account details for a direct debit payment.

Of course, the credit card companies have an interest in making their system safe, [Read more…]

Using the U-Bahn at the Hessentag

It has been an interesting week using the local train system (U-Bahn) to get to appointments and to the Hessentag in Oberursel.

The first couple of days were particularly chaotic, as the trains were forced to slow down so much on the part of the line that runs from the main station up to Lahnstraße, that by the time the train had reached the first level crossing the trackside signals had reverted to “halt”.  The driver then had to use his signal key to re-activate them, losing more time.

The new passenger information system was also not coping with the slow trains very well.  They must have been passing over the sensors so slowly, that the boards still showed the train as being in the station.

A U3 train waits to cross Kupferhammerweg in Oberursel during the Hessentag

A U3 train waits to cross the Kupferhammerweg

Since Sunday this has been improved [Read more…]

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