In [Salzburg, Austria] the suspension of trains into neighboring Germany has been a boon to taxi drivers. Taha, who asked to use only his first name lest local tax collectors hound him about his earnings, makes 300 euros every time he drives a stranded traveler the 143 kilometers (about 90 miles) to Munich.Germany closes the immigrant routes from Austria, Austria occasionally closes immigrant routes from Hungary, Hungary, which first tore down the Iron Curtain, understands that fences to keep people out are different from fences to keep people in. But the well-to-do and the clever find work-arounds.
Since Germany stopped trains here in mid-September as a way to slow the tide of refugees pouring northward, Taha has made 18 such trips.
“Normally in a month I would go to Munich one time,” he said last week at the taxi stand outside Salzburg Station. “People don’t know what to do without the trains. Some of them will spend anything.”
None of the train and border disruptions have had a widespread economic impact, observers said, because the restrictions are limited to a few crossings. And at those, the borders have not been completely sealed. Drivers are enduring the waits or going out of their way to find alternate crossings.Immigrants are also finding work-arounds, but tax-avoiding shoppers (Germany is to Austria as New Hampshire is to Massachusetts) and recreational travelers are being inconvenienced. And the Fretful are fretting about the consequences of borders leading back toward tribal identities. Yes, the previous merger of Austria with Germany didn't turn out so well, did it?
“You have to find a workaround,” said a railway ticket agent in Salzburg station. He has handed out dozens of photocopied instructions on how two local buses (take the No. 2, change at Esshaverstrasse) will deposit them at Freilassing, the closest station on the German side of the border.