Berlin Public transportation – useful info

27 07 2007

The four main ways to get around Berlin by public transportation are subways (U-Bahn), urban railway lines (S-Bahn), Tram and buses. We avoided the Tram, since it’s very slow (it became a joke to us, that no one can ever get ran over by a Tram, no matter how hard you try) and not very friendly to use. The buses were sometimes handy, but we traveled mostly by S-Bahn – by far the best trains (the U-Bahns are more ancient and crammed).

The famous honor system, which very much surprised me when I first visited Europe many years ago (I was in Belgium then), is still very much alive. That means most of the times nobody checks if you have a ticket or not, but if you ran into an inspector (and you won’t notice them, as they’re dressed in civilian clothes), you’ll have to pay a fine of about 40 euros.

You have three tariff zones (A, B, and C). Zone A includes Berlin’s inner city up to and including the S-Bahn ring. Zone B is for outside the S-Bahn ring up to the city boundary; and Zone C is for Greater Berlin (area approx. 15 km around Land Berlin). You can get tickets for zones AB, BC or ABC. AB is the most popular. If you’re considering traveling to places like Oranienburg area or Potsdam, buy the ABC.

There are a few kinds of tickets you can buy. First, there’s the WelcomeCard, a nice deal, which includes public transport for zones A, B and C, and also a voucher booklet, which gives you discounts for all sort of things. It costs 16 euros for 48 hours, and 21 euros for 72 hours. Single journey ticket costs 2.10 euros, and you can also get a short distance ticket (3-4 stations) for 1.20 euros. Day ticket costs 6.10 euros, and a weekly ticket costs 25.40 euros. There is also a group ticket for maximum 5 people, which costs 15.40 euros.

You can get all the tickets at the ticket machines, which can be found everywhere in the stations. They are very easy to use. And you must not forget to validate your ticket before the first ride.

A ticket machine, and next to it on the right a ticket validation machine (click to enlarge):

Ticket Machine.

And that’s a validated ticket:

Berlin public trnasportation ticket.

You will also need the public transportation maps, which you can download here. For an explanation read our post Berlin Maps: all you need to know.


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4 responses to “Berlin Public transportation – useful info”

15 08 2007
Berlinait (04:43:08) :

<b>Some additional facts about the public transportation: </b>
<li>The weekly ticket is actually a 2 people ticket at night – after 8 PM and until 3 AM, or over the weekend you can take another passenger with you for free. It's called Umwelt, and it's only explained in some hidden pages on their site. As you board the bus you simply point on the passenger coming with you, and on the train/U you simply show the ticket to a controller and point on the other person, so that they understand it's for both of you. Don't try to trick them though and board as 2 people before 8 PM – I was caught by a controller at 19:54 and it took a while and a lot of commotion around to persuade him he has bigger fish to fry.
<li>If you're traveling the city by bike you can take them with you on the Train / U-Bahn / Tram. It's very comfortable if you are going to one of the beautiful lakes or forests or if you want to go to Potsdam and have a trip around the palaces. You will need to pay a ticket for the bicycle – you buy the short distance ticket (short / Kurz) for them. The same cost also applies to boarding with a dog, although I've been told that if the dog fits into a bag you don't need to pay for it (but I never needed to verify this rumor so check this is advance if you really need it).
<li>At every bus station you will find a complete and accurate! timetable of the bus. Note that the times are for week days, Saturday (Sonntag Abend – the evening of Sunday) and Sunday (Sonntag). If you know the name of the station you need to go down at, its actually very comfortable to use the buses, and it enables you to see quite a lot of the city.
<li>If you need to go from point A to point B, like from your hotel to the airport, they actually have an excellent route planner in the BVG site. it gives you several alternative routes, organized by duration and how many changes you need to make, and it is very precise – it even calculates the time it takes to walk from one station to another if needed. look at : http://www.bvg.de/index.php/en/Bvg/Start
under "Journy Planner  Fahrinfo Online"

7 03 2008
odles (05:45:12) :

is there anywhere i can find out how to get from a to b in berlin by public transport? ie put origin in one box, destination in the other and get answer take bus nomber x to ubahn station c the ubahn y to station d then sbahn z to destination b. it would be ever so helpful to have a link to such a site. thanks odles

14 07 2008
george Fauser (12:51:47) :

Ich werde am Hauptbahnhof Berlin ankommen und möchte zum alten
Amerikanischen Konsulat in der 150 Clayallee.

Nehme ich da eine U oder S-Bahn oder den Bus? Können Sie bitte eine Route anzeigen…

Ich bedanke mich….George W. Fauser

31 03 2009
allen (13:45:18) :

http://www.bvg.de

and i disagree, the busses and trams are a great way to get around, just confusing at first.

u bahns are most used, but sad you dont get a good view.

s bahns are pretty comfortable.

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