Public Transport
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Public Transport in Berlin

Wenn wer "u+s plan berlin" in eine Suchmaschine eingegeben hat, landet er oft bei der englischen Version. Hier gehts zur deutschen.


U-Bahn (Subway)


S-Bahn (City Railway)








Ticket machines...


... and the boxes to validate the tickets

It could be so easy. You have busses, trams, S-Bahn, U-Bahn and ferries. You pay your fare and enjoy your ride. But public transport in Berlin is organized by a company called BVG, whose motto seems to be: "If something is working, how can we change that?" But more of public nonsense later on. On weekdays S-Bahn and U-Bahn don't operate from about 1am to 4am. During that time you have to go by bus or tram. To confuse everybody, the busses now are called "Nachtbus" (night-bus) and drive along different routes than they do normally.

Prices and "What kind of ticket do I buy?"


This is Berlin's plan for S-Bahn and U-Bahn. For a better view you can download the thing here (pdf).
You see three parts. The inner white one within the circle line (A), the light blue one (B) and the outer dark grey section (C). That's indicating different price levels for the fares. A being the cheapest one, B normal and C a little extra.
The usual tourist hardly ever leaves section A, so a ticket for A would do. But to make more millions,  BVG does not sell tickets for section A. You have to buy a ticket for A/B at the price of 2,30 Euro. On the ticket machines you usually find it on top of all the knobs and it is called "Einzelfahrkarte A/B" (single ticket).

After you have bought the ticket you have to put it in a little box to validate it. The box puts a stamp on your ticket that shows when and where you have started your trip. To confuse tourists, that's not so, if you buy your ticket in a tram. There the machine already produces finished tickets. If you go by bus you are supposed to get in using the front door and show your ticket to the driver. If you don't have one you can buy it from him. If you wanna get a rough time, try paying with a 50.- Euro note. On small ferries the captain is selling the tickets, on the bigger ones a conductor will come up to you.  

With that ticket you can cruise around Berlin for two hours with everything. You don't have to buy a new one if you change from U-Bahn to bus or from tram to ferry or whatever. The only restriction is that your trip goes in roughly the same direction all the time. For your way back you need a new ticket.

This can be tricky if you're using S41 or S42, the circle lines. Going half a circle is ok but then you are on your way back and have to get out to buy a new ticket. But it's hard to get an official statement where exactly half a circle ends. As nobody seems to know about it, that's open to discussion and three quarters of a circle might be ok for strangers.

Anyway, it's best to buy a day ticket for A/B. It costs 6,30 Euro and you can use it until 3 in the morning the next day. It's called "Tageskarte".

If your trip is limited to 3 stations S- or U-Bahn or 6 stations with bus or tram a ticket called "Kurzstrecke" (short way) will do. It costs 1,40 Euro .

Children, dogs and bikes pay roughly half the price for all tickets. It's called "Ermäßigungskarte" (reduced fare).
Children under six years travel for free.

Then there are "City Tour Cards" for 48 hours (Euro 16,90) or 72 hours (Euro 22,90) or 5 days (29,90). There also are "Welcome Cards" that cost a few Euros more and offer reduced admission for all kinds of tourist attractions. You get those at any tobacco dealer or newspaper shop. 

All fares are from 2012 and sure will go up. For current prices you best look at:

It is not a good idea to use U-Bahn or S-Bahn without a ticket. There are lots of checks and you don't recognize the staff. They come in civilian clothes and often look like suspects themselves. So don't be alarmed if some hobo suddenly gets out an official ID and demands to see your ticket. The fine at the moment is 40 Euros.