Berlin is served by a comprehensive and interlinked network of buses, trains, trams and ferries. It’s efficient and punctual, but not especially cheap – unlike a lot of its bars, restaurants and hotels.
The completion of the innercity-encircling Ringbahn in 2002 reconnected the former East and West Berlin transport systems, though it can still sometimes be complicated travelling between eastern and western destinations. But services are usually regular and frequent, timetables can be trusted, and one ticket can be used for two hours on all legs of a journey and all forms of transport.
The Berlin transport authority, the BVG, operates bus, U-Bahn (underground) and tram networks, and a few ferry services on the outlying lakes. The S-Bahn (overground railway) is run by its own authority, but services are integrated within the same three-zone tariff system.
Zone A covers central Berlin, zone B extends out to the edge of the suburbs and zone C stretches into Brandenburg. The basic single ticket is the €2.80 Normaltarif (zones A and B). Unless going to Potsdam or Flughafen Schönefeld, few visitors are likely to travel beyond zone B, making this in effect a flat-fare system.
Single ticket (Normaltarif)
Single tickets cost €2.80 (€1.70 6-14s) for travel within zones A and B, €3.10 (€2.20) for zones B and C, and €3.40 (€2.50) for all three zones. A ticket allows use of the BVG network for two hours, with as many changes between bus, tram, U-Bahn and S-Bahn as necessary, travelling in one direction. A four-ticket option (4-Fahrten-Karte) is available for €9.
Short-distance ticket (Kurzstreckentarif)
The Kurzstreckentarif (ask for a Kurzstrecke) costs €1.70 (€1.30 reductions) and is valid for three U- or S-Bahn stops, or six stops on the tram or bus. No transfers allowed.
Day ticket (Tageskarte)
A Tageskarte for zones A and B costs €7 (€4.70 reductions), or €7.70 (€5.30) for all three zones. A day ticket lasts until 3am the morning after validating.
Longer-term tickets (Zeitkarten)
If you’re in Berlin for a week, it makes sense to buy a Sieben-Tage-Karte (‘seven-day ticket’) at €30 for zones A and B, or €37.50 for all three zones (no reductions). A stay of a month or more makes it worth buying a Monatskarte (‘month ticket’), which costs €81 for zones A and B, and €100.50 for all three zones.
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