Introduction

Berlin’s efficient public transportation system is affordable, straightforward, usually punctual and very comprehensive. 

Trains run on the honor system and there are no ticket barriers to use the U-Bahn, S-Bahn, trams or regional trains. On buses, you need to show your ticket to the driver and enter through the front door. Plain clothes controllers patrol all public transportation, so make sure to validate tickets before boarding.

 


Buying tickets

 

You can buy your tickets or Welcome or other cards at ticket offices, some travel markets in underground stations and ticket machinesaround the city or if you are going by tram from the machine inside the tram. If you are going by bus, you can also buy your ticket from the bus driver. But, note that ticket machines in older trams only take coins and the bus drivers have limited change.

Ticket machines at train stations and in new trams take coins and usually notes, but only German debit cards. Credit cards are not accepted, but the ticket offices located around the city and at the airports usually take credit cards.

Ticket machines are straightforward and easy to use, generally found at the entrance of stations, the mezzanine, on the platform or in trams. Ticket machines have instructions in several languages.

Tickets have to be validated before you enter the underground, S-Bahn and regional trains. If you wish to save time, you can buy several tickets in advance (e.g. the 4-Trip-Ticket, see below) and validate one, if you need it.

 


Ticket validation

 

Tickets purchased from a ticket vendor or machine have to be validated on top of the front side (stamped) in a small box which is usually located next to the ticket machine. The boxes in underground station, buses and trams are yellow. Ticket validators in S-Bahn and regional train stations are red.

Your ticket is (when validated) valid on all local public transport within the zones (AB, BC or ABC) you've paid for. You can use it on regional trains (such as the Airport Express), S-Bahn, underground, trams, buses (including buses to and from Tegel airport) and some ferries.

Tickets bought from a bus driver or at machines inside a tram are already validated (they look different) and for immediate use only.

 


Network

 

There are two network maps available including regional train, S-Bahn and underground lines. The first one focuses on the inner city and zones AB while the second one also covers Potsdam and Schoenefeld airport within zones ABC.

When you are exploring the eastern boroughs such as Prenzlauer Berg, Friedrichshain or even Mazahn, you will need a map of the tram and metro tram system, which is mainly running in former East Berlin. Trams with "M"-numbers are metro trams, which run more frequently (every 10 minutes) than normal trams (every 20-30 minutes).

If you are exploring Berlin's nightlife a map of  the night buses might be inetersting for your. You will only see these buses with the "N"-numbers at night. They usually run along underground lines when the underground has stopped its service during the night.

Underground, bus and tram operator BVG also offers a journey planner on their website, which makes it quite easy to find a connection.

S-Bahn Lines S1, S2 and S25

Service on these lines will be interrupted between stations Gesundbrunnen and Yorckstrasse from January 16 until May 4, 2015. This affects S-Bahn stations Friedrichstrasse (lower level), Brandenburger Tor (Brandenburg Gate) and Potsdamer Platz  as well.

There will be a rail replacement service with buses (look for signs "SEV" or "Schienenersatzverkehr"), but if you can, try to detour by underground lines U6, U8 (north to south) and U1, U2 and U7 (east to west).

 


Buses

 

Busses with "M"-numbers are metro buses. They run more frequently (every 10 minutes) than normal busses (every 20-30 minutes), exceptions are busses 100 and 200.

There also are 12 busses with "X"-numbers which are the express buses. The most famous express bus, though without a number, is the bus TXL from Tegel airport to Alexanderplatz and back. 

Other famous bus routes are buses 100 and 200. Save on costly city tours and board one of these for an inexpensive sightseeing tour. A ticket or card for zone AB is valid on these double-deckers.

Leaving station Zoologischer Garten every five to ten minutes, bus 100 runs from west to east, passing many landmarks such as the Europa Center at Breitscheidplatz, the Siegessaeule, Bellevue Palace, the House of the Cultures of the World, the Reichstag, the Brandenburg Gate, the Berlin cathedral, the TV-tower and other sights along the way, ending its route at Alexanderplatz.

Bus 200 is also a great way to see the city, but follows a somewhat different route. It also starts at Zoologischer Garten, goes along Breitscheidplatz, philharmonic hall, Potsdamer Platz, the Berlin cathedral, the TV-tower, Alexanderplatz, Volkspark Friedrichshain and terminates in Prenzlauer Berg.

Note that buses 100 and 200 are no circular routes.You will end up at the terminus and need to buy another single ride ticket to go back the same way, if you do not own a ticket that is valid longer than two hours.

All buses show the final destination, and the next stop is announced in good time for you to press the red stop button. If no one presses the button, and there is no one waiting at the stop, the bus will not stop. You can see a red note on the display in the bus, if the stop button has already been pressed.

 


WelcomeCards

 

The U-Bahn, S-Bahn, bus and tram system is a fast and efficient way to see this immense metropolis. For your three days here you might want to buy a WelcomeCard, which gives you significant discounts at museums, theaters and other attractions.

There are actually two versions of the cards available: cards for zones AB and for zones ABC. If you arrive or depart from Schoenefeld airport and/ or want to travel to and within Potsdam, the cards for zone ABC are ideal to see Prussian Palaces and Gardens, most of all Sansoucci Palace.

There is also the WelcomeCard Berlin Museum Island including the entry to the famous museums of Museums Island in Mitte. It is valid for 72 hours.

You'll get the WelcomeCards at ticket offices, at the airports, in several hotels, in the Berlin Tourist Info or at ticket machines. You can also preorder them online.

See current prices of the WelcomeCards in the table below:

 Zones AB
Zones ABC
 valid
 WelcomCard 48 hours   18,50 €
 20,50 €
 for 48 hours, starting with validation

 WelcomCard 72 hours

 25,50 €
 27,50 €
 for 72 hours, starting with validation

 WelcomeCard 72 hours

including Museum Island

 38,50 €
 40,50 €
 for 72 hours, starting with validation
 WelcomeCard 5 days
 32,50 €
 37,50 €
 until midnight on the 5th day

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Your WelcomeCard needs to be validated (see paragraph "ticket validation") before you can use it.

You will also get a map of the underground and S-Bahn lines and a booklet with your WelcomeCard. If you need maps for trams or night buses, you can download these under the paragraph "Network" by clicking on the links.

If you should buy your WelcomeCard at a ticket machine, you can pick up your booklet at the Berlin Tourist Info later.

If you have bought a WelcomeCard for zones AB and want to travel within zone C, you cannot use an extension ticket to do this. Your WelcomeCard for zones AB will only be valid within these zones. Yuo would have to buy another (single) ticket to travel within zone C.


Tickets

 

Tickets are valid for all local public transport and there are several ticket otions for zones AB, BC and ABC available.

Single tickets (Normaltarif) and 4-Trip-tickets (4-Fahrten-Karte), which are four single tickets in a block (saves 1,60 € compared to a single ticket purchase, and also saves time if you are making lots of single journeys) are valid for 2 hours, but you cannot make a round-trip or return to the same place with it. 4-Trip-tickets are only available for zones AB.

Short-trip tickets (Kurzstreckentarif) or a block of 4 Short-trip tickets are valid for travelling no further than three underground or S-Bahn stations or six bus or tram stops. It does not matter in which zone you are travelling, but note that a Short-trip ticket is not valid for regional trains.

If you make three or more journeys in one day, a Day ticket (Tageskarte) is best value. It is valid until 3:00am on the following day.

The 7-Day-Ticket (Wochenkarte) is a good choice, if you are staying for a week. This ticket is transferable.

A Small Group Ticket - (Kleingruppen-Tageskarte) is ideal for more than two people travelling together. It is valid for up to five people until 3:00am on the following day.

If you already have a ticket for zones AB (or BC) and want to travel within zone C (or A) as well, you'll need an additional ticket (Anschlussfahrschein). But note, this one does not work with the WelcomeCards for zones AB.

 Zones AB
Zones BC
Zones ABC

Single ticket

 2,60 €
 2,90 €
 3,20 €

 4-Trip-ticket

 8,80 €
 --
 Short-trip ticket
 1,50 €
 1,50 €
 1,50 €
 4 Short-trip tickets
 5,60 €
 5,60 €
 5,60 €
 Day ticket
 6,70 €
 7,00 €
 7,20 €
 7-Day-Ticket 28,80 €
 29,70 €
 35,60 €
 Small Group Ticket
 16,20 €
 16,50 €
 16,70 €
 Additional ticket for zone A or C
 1,60 €
 1,60 €
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