Berlin’s Transport System
With around 330 Train Stations Berlin’s transport system is among the world’s most extensive and is an attraction in of itself! Whilst the S and U Bahn lines are operated by separate companies, your train ticket is still valid for both.
What you need to know
Whilst fare evading may be tempting in Berlin with few barricades or checks you should still always travel with a valid ticket! That’s because Berlin’s transport system runs on a trust system with plain-clothed inspectors only occasionally checking for tickets. Whilst the BVG are a tolerant bunch, if you’re caught without a ticket no excuse under the sun is going to save you from a 60€ fine!
Here’s a breakdown of your different options:
*For Children up to 6 and including 14 years of age.
**Up to 5 people.
The easiest place to purchase your ticket is on the platforms themselves. The only exception is if taking a tram or bus, then you’ll have to buy one immediately after boarding.
Keep in mind, that when you purchase a ticket it still needs to be validated for you to be able to travel! This can be done on the train platforms or onboard the trams or buses.
Also, remember that a day ticket is not valid for 24hours but only until 3am the following day. So best to purchase it in the morning and make the most of it!
Berlin’s transport system almost runs around the clock, only being down between roughly 1am and 4am. No need to fret though! If you find yourself out late at night all U-Bahn lines are replaced by buses when the trains aren’t running and the tramlines will still run throughout the night. And if that’s not enough it still gets better because every Friday and Saturday Berlin’s trains will run the whole 24 hours carrying night owls and clubbers through the city until sunrise!
Staying longer in Berlin?
For longer stays, it can be worthwhile purchasing a 7-day-ticket which costs 30euro and can be more economical for stays exceeding 5 days.
A month-long ticket is also available for 81euro if you love Berlin and just can’t leave!
Berlin Welcome Card:
If you plan on visiting any of Berlin’s 170 Museums then perhaps the Berlin Welcome Card is your best option. It not only allows full use of Berlin’s transport system but also discounts at up to 200 of the cities major attractions.
Keep in mind, this is only going to save you money if you make the most of the discount so do your research and decide what’s best for you!
Tickets start at 20euro for 48hours and can be taken for up to 6 days at a progressive discount.
What to know about zones A, B and C:
If in doubt always check the train map at any platform which can tell you which zone your station is in.
For all intents and purposes, it is rare that you will need anything other than an AB ticket when touring around Berlin. That said, common exceptions include trips to and from Potsdam and Berlin Schönefeld Airport (SXF).
Berlin’s iconic yellow U-Bahn lines run every 2-5 minutes during peak hours and rarely less than every 10 minutes. Whilst delays and line construction works are part of everyday life in Berlin you’ll still rarely find yourself waiting, it’s not uncommon to hear a Berliner curse over a 5minute wait!
The trains are also a great demonstration of just how diverse a city Berlin is from people dressing as they please to using it to transport their furniture. You’ll also notice plenty of locals riding the train with a beer in hand which, whilst not allowed, is seen as appropriate so long as it’s done respectfully. A trip on Berlin’s Ring-Bahn can always be entertaining too! Serviced by the S41 and S42, the ring runs a circle around Berlin. Without a beginning or an end, the line never stops whilst the trains are running! You’ll often see a few unfortunate party-goers in the early morning who’ve fallen asleep trying to get home from the night before.
Another local secret is the bus 100, which will take you by most of Berlin’s biggest tourist attractions for the price of a standard ticket! Even better, it’s a double-decker so be sure to grab a seat up the front and enjoy the sights!
On top of the trains, Berlin also has a very comprehensive network of Trams or Streetcars. With construction beginning in 1865, it’s one of the oldest tram networks in the world!
You may have heard of the trick of using the crossing lights or ‘Amplemann’ to determine whether you’re standing in the former East or West of Berlin although it’s not the only one. With trams being discontinued and replaced by buses in the former West Berlin they’re now only found in the former East and never south of the river Spree!
Taxi’s in Berlin:
Taxi’s in Berlin are safe, always metered and for a major city reasonably affordable. Short to medium trips will often not exceed 20euro.
If you’re around the city center it is often easiest to hail a cab, at any busy road you shouldn’t find yourself waiting longer than 5minutes.
If you’d rather call ahead to book your taxi then you can do so by calling: 030 – 20 20 20.
‘Uber’ is also available in Berlin although most locals would stick to using to tried and tested Taxi’s to get around.