On the move
Anywhere and anytime: Berlin's public transport
If your daily commute frequently involves squeezing yourself into a packed train, waiting around in the pouring rain for a bus that never comes, then calling a taxi only to realize half a day’s wages, and half the day, has been spent on public transport, you’re not alone. On average, the daily commute in the UK stands at a whopping 1hr 40mins. Berlin, in contrast, a mere 40mins. And, in comparison, it is cheaper using public transport compared to London.
With the biggest public transport network in Germany including two excellent train services, an extensive system of trams and buses, and good resources for bike riders, Berlin beats many other cities hands down. So whether you want to get yourself over to Tempelhofer Feld for a relaxing stroll, or support your friend at a poetry slam in Mastul in Wedding, have a quick rummage at Mauerpark flea market and all in your lunch hour- relax, the public transport here has you covered.
As a subset of the Deutsche Bahn railway company, the S-Bahn operates mostly overground and spans over 330 kilometres of railway dividing into 15 lines and nearly 170 stations, nearly 60 more stations than London overground. With services from 4.30 a.m till 1.30 a.m on weekdays, and 24 hour services on weekends.
Likewise, the U-Bahn runs on similar hours with services starting around 4 a.m on weekdays, ending around 1 a.m, while weekends see them operating 24 hours. Operated by the Berliner Verkehrsbetriebe, or BVG, the U-Bahn is Berlin’s underground train service has 10 lines encompassing around 146 kilometres of railway and includes 173 stations. Fares are a real bargain, with a single ticket costing as little as €2.70 and weekly pass a mere €30.
And in the spirit of all things Berlin, the BVG just wants you to have fun and spread love with their campaign “Weil wir dich lieben” (“Because we love you”). As spokesperson Josefin Langer told The Local: “We want to tell everyone that it’s not important how you look, where you come from, or what skin colour you have – we’re just here to take you from one place to another.”
Apart from being exceptionally efficient, Berlin trains are surprisingly lax when it comes to what you can or can’t bring with you onto the train. Need to move on a budget? No problem, take it on the sub!
If that wasn’t enough, the trains all come with handy parking spaces for your bike. So you can hop on or off anytime cycling gets too much for you.
Not those kind of bikes of course!
If you also feel the love you are free to join the annual “No Pants Subway Ride” on January, the 12th. The event began as a joke by a public prank group in New York City and has since spread around the world, with enthusiasts in around 60 cities and 29 countries across the globe, including, of course, London and Berlin.
BUSES AND TRAMS
Maybe travelling underground isn’t for you and you like to see where you’re going? Berlin is home to one of the oldest tram networks in the world, having been running since 1865. Today, more than 20 tram services operate in Berlin, with many traveling beyond the limits of the train services. Also run by the BVG, the usual fares apply, but unlike the trains, trams run all night! Likewise, buses run through the clock, with convenient day and night services. Picking up where the trains leave off, the bus services fill in for the hours between 1-4am when trains stop, and routes travel further out with the city.
Maybe you want an even more intimate way about the city? Or cautious of your carbon footprint? You’re in luck. Frequently voted one of the more bike-friendly cities in the world, Berlin is an absolute dream for cyclists. With an easy-going cycling culture, hiring a bike is convenient and cheap and drivers don’t leave you fearing for your life. With a relatively flat terrain, cycling is definitely one of the best ways to go about your day and get to know the city. If you’re new to Berlin, why not get yourself in on one of the city’s many bike tours?
Not all those who wander are lost…but for those who need a bit of help, Berlin has a multitude of helping hands to guide you through the ins and outs, the ups and downs, that make this city so unique.
Here you find all information on Berlin’s public transport.
Here you can check, which U- or S-Bahn takes you to Berlin’s world famous restaurants and clubs.
Header Picture (c) unsplash.com/@yaoqiqiqilai