Tourist’s guide to Berlin transport system and how to get around the city

Berlin transport is a well-coordinated system that connects all parts of the city into a single network. Thanks to the metro, trams and buses, you can get from one part of the city to another in less than an hour without any extra transfers.

Transport in Berlin

Berlin’s public transport is an essential element in the infrastructure of the German capital. More than 10 million tourists visit the city every year, so the authorities are constantly improving the transport system of the capital.

The most popular form of transport is the city electric train (S-Bahn), which annually transports more than 350 million people. Next is the metro – 200 million people a year. Bus and tram rank third in popularity. The smallest demand is for commuter trains.

In total, the city has more than 5,000 km of transport routes, more than 7,600 public transport stops, and about 1,500 bridges have been erected.

Related entries:

S-Bahn in Germany

The city’s authorities believe that the main goal is that any Berliner (even those living in the suburbs) can reach their bus stop in less than 400 steps. According to statistics, more than 80% of city residents have this opportunity.

However, despite all the efforts of the authorities, the transport system of Berlin is still far from ideal. So, every third Berliner spends about 80 minutes a day in transport (this applies to suburban residents).

As for people with disabilities, the government plans that by 2022, anyone will be able to use public transport in Berlin without assistance. Indeed, most trams and buses already have self-propelled ramps.

Types of public transport

In Berlin, as in most European cities, there are 6 main types of public transport.

Underground

Subway station

The Berlin underground consists of ten lines. The total number of stations is 173. This is the most popular form of transport in the German capital, which is used by more than 500 million passengers annually. There is a ground (S-Bahn) part and an underground (U-Bahn). The metro connects all parts of the city, and is divided into zones, on which the cost of the coupon depends.

Opening hours: 4.00 – 1.00 (weekdays). The metro is open around the clock on weekends.

For more information on the metro in Berlin, click the link.

Buses

Buses are the second most popular form of transport in the German capital. In Berlin, there are just under 200 bus routes that serve more than 2,000 bus stops. At night, 63 routes leave for flights.

Working hours: around the clock.

Trams

The tram network in Berlin is well developed, and is the largest in modern Germany. The city has 22 tram lines and there are about 800 stops. It is interesting that on the tracks you can find not only modern trams, but also old cars that came off the assembly line in the middle of the 20th century.

Hours: around the clock.

City trains

City trains

Berlin city trains are known as the S-Bahn. They connect 160 stations, and the total length of their routes is 332 km. Electric trains are convenient in that they can be used to get to airports, Potsdam or the suburbs.

Opening hours: from 4.00 to 1.00 (weekdays). On Saturday – from 5.00, on Sunday – from 6.30.

Trolleybuses

A trolleybus is the rarest form of public transport in the German capital. Trolleybuses did not go in the German capital for more than 45 years, but at the end of 2017, 4 new routes were launched on the line in the Spandau region. In the future, it is planned to gradually increase the number of trolleybuses in the city.

Opening hours: 5.00 – 1.00

Ferries

Berlin is located on the Spree River, so the ferry service is relevant here. In the German capital there are 5 water routes with which you can get from one part of the city to another. On tourist maps, they are indicated by the letter F.

Opening hours: 8.00 – 23.00

Cableway

Cableway

The only cable car in Berlin was built in 1957 for the construction exhibition. Now it connects the recreation park Marzan and the U5 metro line. The length of the road is 1.5 km. It serves more than 3,000 people per hour.

City transport zones and tariffs

The transport map of Berlin is divided into the following areas:

  1. A – the central part of the city (border – S-Bahn railway). In this area are all the main attractions of the German capital.
  2. In – the rest of the capital (mainly sleeping areas and offices).
  3. C – suburbs (outskirts of Berlin, airports, Potsdam).

Zone A is the most visited, but coupons for traveling here are the cheapest because it is located in a small area. 90% of the sights and train stations are concentrated here.

Tariff Zones

Zone B is most popular with locals. Here are houses of ordinary Germans and inexpensive shops.

People come to zone C for tourist purposes (for example, visiting the Sanssouci Palace in Potsdam), as well as those who live in the suburbs of the German capital.

Please note that the fare for Berlin public transport differs depending on the area of ​​the city. Remember that in Germany the same coupons are valid for all modes of transport.

Tickets

The following types of tickets are valid for public transport in Berlin (all prices are in Euros):

1. Kurzstrecke (for short term). Three to six non-stop stops are available. If you plan to travel several times along a short route, you can purchase four coupons at once.

One tripFour rides
Adult1.705.60
Children1.304.40

2. Einzelfahrausweis – a ticket valid for 2 hours, during which you can transfer to various modes of transport an unlimited number of times.

ABSunABC
Adult2.803.103.40
Children1.702.202.50

As with Kurzstrecke, you can purchase coupons in bulk for 4 trips.

ABSunABC
Adultnine125.60
Children5.608.409.60

3. Tageskarte (public transport available during). The ticket is activated during the first trip.

ABSunABC
Adult77.407.70
Children4.705.105.30

4. Kleingruppen-Tageskarte – the only group ticket in Berlin, which gives the right to travel for a group of 2 to 5 people in the city with transfers during the day.

ABSunABC
Group of 2 to 5 people19.9020.6020.80

5. 7-Tage Karte – gives the right to travel to one person for a week.

ABSunABC
Adultthirty31.4037.50

6. Anschlussfahrausweis – If you have already purchased a ticket for zone AB, but you also need to visit zone C, there is no need to buy a completely new ticket. You can purchase an additional travel ticket, the price of which is 1.60 euros. Please note that the benefits are not valid in this case.

In addition, if you are a traveler and travel to Berlin (or for a very short time), you can purchase one of the tourist cards that provide free travel by public transport:

Berlin Welcome Card
  • Berlin Welcome Card. The cost for 48 hours is 20 euros.
  • Berlin City Tour Card. Price – 16.90 euros for 2 days.
  • EasyCityPass. The cost for 48 hours is 18.90 euros.
  • Joycard. The cost for 2 days is 15.90 euros.

All cards can be purchased for a period of 2 to 6 days. Each tourist card, in addition to free travel in public transport, makes it possible to save on trips to museums, cafes, shops and other entertainment places. More information about the benefits of each card can be found on the official websites.

Where can I buy tickets

Ticket machines

Tickets can be purchased from transport drivers, at the airport or at the box office. However, the fastest and easiest option is automatic machines. They stand at public transport stops, in the subway, at stations and in simply crowded places.

Please note that machines do not accept bank cards – only cash.

How does the ticket look like

As for the appearance of the coupon, it depends on the place of purchase. As a rule, this is a paper coupon of pale yellow or pink color, on which the place and time of purchase, as well as the type and duration of the ticket itself, are written in blue or black font.

Where and how to validate your ticket

Composter in transport

Before entering the train (S-Bahn and U-Bahn), you need to validate the ticket on the platform. You need to go to the device (it is usually yellow) and insert a ticket there. After the beep, the coupon can be removed. Now the date and time of the start of the trip are indicated on the top of your ticket.

If you purchased a ticket from the driver, then composting it is not necessary – it already has the date and time of the trip.

Fines

Vehicle Inspector

Remember that controllers check not only passengers on buses and trams, but also in the subway. They do not have a special form, therefore, it is almost impossible to calculate the inspector. Penalty for stowaways – 60 euros. In the event that you refuse to pay on the spot, a criminal case may be brought against you that amounts to theft.

It may seem unbelievable, but a third of people in Berlin prisons are those who did not buy a ticket for travel on public transport.

Reduced fare

Remember that in order to buy a coupon at a reduced cost, you must present a student ID (you can also have an international standard) or a certificate from a school or college. In the future, it is not necessary to carry it with you.

Prices on the page are for July 2019.

Interesting Facts

In Germany, they refused trolleybuses in 1965, and in the German Democratic Republic in 1973. It turned out that this was connected not only with safety (the body of the same trams is always grounded, which cannot be said about trolleybuses), but also with capacity (buses and trams can transport much more passengers). Despite the shortcomings, in 2017, the authorities of the German capital decided to gradually return trolleybuses to the streets of Berlin.

Metro map
  1. The Berlin subway is the oldest in Germany. The first station was opened in 1902. And the first to ride on it was William II.
  2. The Berlin metro stations are located at a shallow depth, and the distance between them is no more than 1 km.
  3. If you add up the entire distance that the Berlin trams, buses and trains pass daily, it turns out that this distance is 9 times the diameter of the globe.
  4. Every hour, 20 Berliners change their place of residence and move to another area.
  5. The world’s first trolleybuses appeared in Berlin. It happened in 1933.

Berlin is one of those European cities where you can get to your destination without any extra transfers, because transport in Berlin runs regularly and around the clock.


2 thoughts on “Tourist’s guide to Berlin transport system and how to get around the city

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