has an excellent public transportation
system, the BVG (Berliner Verkehrsgesellschaft).
) goes well beyond the city limits, and numerous lines intersect
maximise coverage. This is augment
ed by the light rail
systems. At night, a network of night busses, running on average every 15 minutes,
allows for easy movement throughout the city.
Unlike many public transportation systems, the BVG does not make use of turnstiles
s to ensure that passenger
s pay their way. Basically, the BVG works on an honour
. There are vending machine
s at every station from which to purchase tickets ranging
from the short-distance ticket (Kurzstrecke
) to the Umweltskarte
, which allows
for use of all public transportation for a calendar month, but there is nothing stopping anyone from
entering without buying a ticket.
Most of the time.
The BVG does
make use of a small army
of uniformed ticket checkers
), who randomly board trains and busses to check passengers/
tickets and to obligate those without tickets to pay a surcharge
in the amount of EUR 40.00. It
used to be that these ticket checkers could go undercover
without any form of identifying
clothing. Now, however, the Kontrolleure
wear rather tacky
They show up only rarely, if you're lucky.
For those who want to get a free ride (known in Germany as Schwarzfahren
), there are a few simple guideline
s to follow:
1. Don't get too comfortable.
Since there is no way to predict where and when
someone will ask for your ticket, you have to stay alert
. Stand as close to a rear exit door as
possible. This will generally give you the best angle
of sight to see if there's a blue-green
on the platform
2. Take short stretches.
The longer you stay on the same train
, the more likely
it is that you will get caught. Getting off every couple of stations is a good rule of
3. Stay calm.
Avoid drawing attention to yourself.
4. If disaster strikes:
If you see a lot of tacky blue and green suits running
around the platform, get out. Do so quickly and calmly. The goal is to find a mobile
to it. Just because you're out of the train car itself doesn't mean you're home
5. If you get caught:
They'll ask for your identification
and give you a piece of
paper that requires you to pay EUR 40. This is rarely enforced, and if you ignore it, you usually
will not have to worry about any serious consequences until you've done it a few times.
Sometimes, you'll have criminal charges
filed against you (§ 265a - Erschleichen von
/ Unlawfully obtaining services). The Staatsanwaltschaft
in Berlin has plenty of actual felonies
to deal with, and
will often dismiss
the charges "for want of public interest