1 June 2003 - JH Ernst Reuter, Berlin
Berlin's public transport

Today, a young lady stopped me and the following conversation took place:

Her: Hi! M¢¼chte¢¾ du ein fahr? (Hi there, fancy a ride?)
Me: Nein, danke... Ich habe kein Geld. (No thanks, I have no money)
Her: Schade... (Shame...)

And with that she zoomed off into the sunset. Nice looking girl, though, with fine legs.

I mention the legs because she was cycling at the time. Actually, she was cycling one of these velo taxis which are like modern rickshaws in Berlin. They seem to cover the park area between the Zoo and the parliament, where public transport is a little thin. It's also a bit of a tourist magnet.

Actually, they're a good idea. They're non-polluting and they complement Berlin's excellent public transportation system. They're not strictly part of it, being a private enterprise of some sort, but they work fine.

Berlin's main public transport arteries include the bus, the metro, the train and the tram system, and it's not too dissimilar to Stockholm's and Helsinki's.

It's an integrated system, so one ticket covers all. The basic ticket costing EUR2.10 (about RM8) lasts for two hours and you can do whatever you like in that time. You can transfer, double-back and get on or off however you like, within certain zones. For example, it's possible to go somewhere, do shopping and then travel back.

There are a plethora of variations, including a day card (EUR6.30 - not that good a value if you're not staying out late or travelling a lot), and short rides (EUR1.10 for up to three subway/train stations or six bus stops without changing).

Again, as with all these integrated systems I've seen so far, the keyword is trust. Nobody checks all the tickets on the subway and metro, and the bus drivers just give it cursory glance. The fine for being caught is EUR40.

The routes and maps here in Berlin are really good, and unlike in Copenhagen, I didn't spend ages trying to figure out exactly what I had to do. They have one map with all the train routes, and another that overlays all routes over a city map, and they do it consistently. Makes life a lot easier, I can tell you that.


posted on Monday, June 09, 2003 - permalink
Comments: Post a Comment