(Chapter headings below) Berlin’s public transport system is extensive, but not as hard to use as it might at first seem. Here is my guide to using it, with tips on ensuring you have the right ticket. 0:43 — modes of transport & how to recognize stops and stations 2:20 — boarding and exiting vehicles 3:23 — how to read the map and find the right platform 5:02 — overview of the tariff system 6:01 — most important ticket types for visitors 7:48 — where to buy tickets and how to validate them 9:51 — if you are caught without a valid ticket 10:46 — Berlin’s airports 11:10 — getting from Schönefeld airport into town 12:00 — getting from Tegel airport into town 12:29 — getting from the coach station into town Useful links: https://www.bvg.de — Berlin’s public transport operator https://sbahn.berlin — Berlin S-Bahn https://www.vbb.de — the tariff association for Berlin and Brandenburg https://www.berlin-welcomecard.de — about the Welcome Card https://www.citytourcard.com — about the City Tour Card Music: “Style Funk” and “Hot Swing” by Kevin MacLeod http://incompetech.com Creative Commons Attribution licence ——— Support me on Patreon for access to bonus content and more: http://patreon.com/rewboss Send letters and postcards to: Rewboss Postfach 10 06 29 63704 Aschaffenburg Germany Please don’t send parcels or packages, or anything that has to be signed for. ——— My website: http://www.rewboss.com/ My blog: http://rewboss.blogspot.com/ My Twitter feed: https://www.twitter.com/rewboss My Facebook profile: http://facebook.com/rewboss
Berlin is the capital of Germany
and its biggest city as well,
and it’s very definitely well worth a visit.
I made a video about it a few years ago,
and it lasts a full hour.
But so many attractions are
spread out over such a wide area
that you’re simply not going to
get the most out of it by walking.
Driving in an unfamiliar city can be a nightmare,
so realistically you’re going to be
using public transport.
This, then, is my guide to Berlin’s
public transport and how to use it.
Fortunately, the system is a lot simpler
than it looks at first sight,
and is usually fairly efficient —
although I have to say, at least at the height
of the tourist season it can get quite full.
The most important modes of public transport are:
Buses can be single-decker or double-decker,
and serve even the most remote parts of Berlin.
Trams serve mostly former East Berlin.
Bus and tram stops are identified
by signs like these.
This sign indicates a bus stop
for night services only.
This stop is temporarily out of service,
this is a temporary stop,
and this is a stop for a rail replacement bus.
The U-Bahn is a metro system
that normally runs below ground,
but sometimes runs above ground.
It mostly serves central
and western parts of Berlin,
and stations are where you see signs like these.
The S-Bahn is a mass-transit rail system
that normally runs above ground,
but sometimes runs below ground.
It connects central Berlin
with outer districts and suburbs,
and stations are indicated with this logo.
The most important bus and tram services
are designated “Metro”.
They run throughout the day
at least once every ten minutes,
and about every half hour during the night.
They have numbers beginning with the letter M.
Buses with numbers beginning with X
are limited stop express services,
so make sure that it actually does stop
where you want it to.
There’s also the express bus service
from central Berlin to Tegel Airport,
which has the designation TXL.
Night bus and tram services
have numbers beginning with N.
In all other cases, trams have double-digit
numbers, buses have three-digit numbers.
On buses, the rule is that you board at the front.
If you need to buy a ticket from the driver
you keep to the right;
if you already have a ticket you keep to the left
and show your ticket to the driver
as you file past.
If you have a baby buggy or are in a wheelchair,
you should normally board
at the middle of the bus.
As a rule, buses are wheelchair accessible,
but not all trams are.
Some of them were built
in Czechoslovakia in the 1980s
and refurbished in the 1990s,
and are still operating today.
On buses and trams you push a button
to signal to the driver that
you want to get off at the next stop.
If nobody pushes a button, and there’s
nobody at the stop waiting to get on,
the vehicle will simply not stop.
If it does stop but the doors nearest you
don’t open, simply push the nearest button.
On the buses, you exit at
any door except the front door.
On trains, the doors don’t open automatically:
you have to push a button or,
in a few cases, pull a lever.
Trams also have buttons on the outside
to open the doors.
This map shows all the U-Bahn, S-Bahn
and local rail lines in Berlin.
U-Bahn lines have numbers beginning with U,
S-Bahn lines have numbers beginning with S,
and each line has its own colour.
Also, local rail lines have numbers
beginning with RB or RE;
and RE trains are limited stop.
To find the right platform for your train,
you need to know the line number
and the name of the last stop
in the direction that you’re travelling.
Compass directions are not used in Germany.
For example: if you’re at Hallesches Tor
and you want to get to Kurfürstendamm,
you need to follow signs for the U1
and then find the platform
for trains bound for Uhlandstraße.
Buses and trams also use the same basic principle:
the stop that you need is identified
by line number and terminus.
An exception to this is the S-Bahn ring,
which goes all the way around central Berlin
and has no terminus.
Instead, it has two numbers:
the S41 goes clockwise
and the S42 in the other direction.
Sometimes to find your platform
you may need to walk along another platform.
For example, if you’re looking for the U9 at
Kurfürstendamm and you go down this entrance,
you first have to walk the entire length
of the U1 platform.
U-Bahn and S-Bahn stations are
not always connected to each other.
For example: at Potsdamer Platz,
even though the S-Bahn station and
the U-Bahn station are right next to each other,
there is no connecting tunnel.
If you’re changing to the U-Bahn
and you follow this signs to this exit,
you’ll find the U-Bahn station
very well hidden here.
There are no ticket barriers at stations,
but there are spot checks on the trains
and they are very strict.
Not having ticket barriers does,
of course, avoid bottlenecks;
but it also make it very easy to accidentally
board a train without a valid ticket.
Be very careful, and make absolutely certain that
you do have a valid ticket before you travel.
The tariff system is very simple.
There are three zones.
Zone A covers the area inside the S-Bahn ring;
zone B covers the rest of Berlin;
and zone C covers surrounding towns
and cities, including Potsdam.
You can buy tickets for all three areas,
or for two areas — AB or BC.
If you’re in zone C, there are also local tariffs,
but they’re not valid in Berlin.
This also applies to Potsdam,
which has its own ABC system,
so do double-check to make sure that you are
buying the right ticket for your journey.
There are a lot of different types of ticket,
so here are the most important ones for visitors:
The short journey ticket is valid for one journey
of up to 6 bus or tram stops
or 3 S or U-Bahn stops;
no interruptions or transfers are allowed.
The single ticket is valid for one journey
lasting up to two hours.
Transfers and interruptions are allowed,
but not round trips:
you’re not supposed to visit or go through
the same stop or station a second time.
The 4-journey ticket is quite simply
four singles or four short journeys;
it’s just a little bit cheaper
that four individual tickets.
The day ticket is valid for any number
of journeys up to 3 am the following day.
The group day ticket is the same,
but valid for up to five people.
The 7-day ticket is valid
until midnight on the seventh day.
Welcome Cards and City Tour Cards are available
for 48 hours, 72 hours, 4 days and 5 days.
There is also a Welcome Card for six days,
and a 72-hour Welcome Card that includes entry
to all the museums on Museum Island.
The Welcome Card comes with coupons
for discounts at 200 shops and restaurants,
a tour guide and a city map.
The City Tour Card comes with discounts at
certain tourist attractions, and a map.
If you have a ticket for two zones
and you want to visit the third zone,
you can buy an extension ticket.
This is valid for up to two hours
for one journey to your destination:
so when you come back, you have
to buy a new extension ticket.
Short journey, single and day tickets
are available from bus drivers
and from vending machines on board trams;
and they are then automatically valid
for immediate travel.
However, vending machines on trams
only accept coins,
and bus drivers may not always
be able to make change.
And yes, it’s cash only.
You can buy all of these tickets
from vending machines at stations.
They look like this on the U-Bahn
and like this on the S-Bahn.
These accept debit cards, but not credit cards.
These tickets, though, must be validated
before you can actually use them,
and this is where tourists
very often get caught out.
Your ticket will have a blank space
and an arrow showing you how to
insert it into the validation machine,
which looks like this on the S-Bahn,
and like this on the U-Bahn
and on buses and trams.
You’ll find these things
on or near station platforms,
on trams near the doors,
and on buses just behind the driver’s seat.
This is important.
If you don’t stamp your ticket, it is not valid.
But you do only need to stamp it once,
unless of course it’s a 4-journey ticket.
Alternatively, you can download the BVG travel app
and buy your tickets that way.
Day tickets, 7-day tickets, Welcome Cards
and City Tour Cards
can be bought up to 30 day in advance.
All other tickets are valid
for almost immediate travel.
I say “almost immediate”:
not many people realize this,
but in fact it’s not valid
for the first two minutes after purchase.
This is to prevent people
boarding without a ticket
and then buying one
as soon as an inspector appears.
You can also obviously buy tickets
at ticket offices,
which you’ll find at certain stations.
If you have already bought
a Welcome Card or a City Tour Card,
simply show it to staff there in order
to pick up your coupons and city guide.
If you are caught without a valid ticket
you’ll be asked to show ID,
which means a passport or a German identity card.
You will also be charged
a so-called “enhanced fare”,
which is currently €60.
Unfortunately, there have been
reports in the media
of ticket inspectors who are
not as honest as they should be,
and tourists are an obvious target for them.
So make sure you understand
what is supposed to happen.
You can pay the €60 immediately in cash.
If you do, you must be issued a receipt
which includes a case number and other details.
Also, it functions as a single ticket
to allow you to complete your journey.
If you don’t pay immediately,
you’ll be issued a bill for €60
and instructions on how to pay it.
Obviously, if you want to continue your journey,
you will then have to buy a new ticket.
Don’t be pressured into paying cash.
But if you do pay immediately,
make sure you get that receipt.
If you’re flying into Berlin, you’ll obviously
need to get from the airport into town.
The brand new Berlin-Brandenburg Airport —
if it ever opens —
will have its own S-Bahn station
right under the terminal.
Until then, Berlin has two airports,
Schönefeld and Tegel —
neither of which was built for the amount
of traffic that they’re currently seeing.
Schönefeld Airport is in zone C,
which is important because
it means that if you have an AB ticket,
you’ll need an additional extension ticket
to get to or from the airport.
There are buses from the main entrance
at terminal A,
and this might be an option if your
destination is in the borough of Neukölln.
The X7 shuttles between the airport
and Rudow U-Bahn station,
which is the terminus of the U7;
and bus 171 travels the whole length
of Neukölln from south to north.
Most people will want the trains.
Just go down this walkway to the station
and follow the markings to the S-Bahn,
or, for a slightly faster but less frequent
service, the RE and RB trains.
By the way, this crowd of people is where
the ticket machines and ticket office are.
Tegel is closer to central Berlin and is in zone B.
A planned U-Bahn line was never actually built,
and so there are only buses.
The bus stops are by the entrance
to terminals A and B.
The TXL is an express bus that will take you
to the central station and central Berlin.
The 128 is convenient for northern districts.
The X9 will take you to the Zoo, which is
the focal point of what used to be West Berlin.
And the 109 will also take you there via
Schloss Charlottenburg and the Ku’damm.
If you arrive by coach,
the Central Coach Station is in fact some way out
to the west, next to the Trade Fair.
It’s within easy walking distance
of Kaiserdamm U-Bahn station
for services into central Berlin;
and Messe Nord S-Bahn station,
which is on the S-Bahn ring.
Public transport in Berlin is extensive,
and a very efficient way of getting
from one place to another.
But be very certain that you have
a valid ticket before you travel.
Thanks for watching. If you’d like to
send me a postcard, here’s the address.
And don’t forget to visit my website
and follow me on Twitter and Facebook.
Also, if you’d like access
to special bonus content
and help with the costs of running this channel,
please consider making a small
monthly donation on Patreon.