Although Berlin is a huge city, its city centers (both in East and West) are compact, with many of its major sights and venues can be accessed on foot. Even so, travelers in Berlin can make good use of the city’s excellent transportation services.
Riding a taxi is a breeze
Cab fares in Berlin are a bit less expensive compared to other European cities. One can either hail a taxi on the street or find a taxi stand. When getting in a taxi stand, make sure to get the driver’s attention as he or she may be asleep. Majority of cab drivers can able to communicate in English.
Plan your travel
You can check out the Berlin Route Planner (http://www.fahrinfo-berlin.de/Fahrinfo/bin/query.bin/en) to get a detailed route and schedule for the U-Bahn, buses, S-Bahn, and Trams that you would use on a particular route that you indicated in the site.
Choose which ticket to purchase
All transportation services in Berlin have a standard ticketing system that allows people unlimited travel and changes for two or three days. There are two types to choose from: the Tageskarte day card or the Berlin WelcomeCard. The latter is much more expensive than the former, although the WelcomeCard provides the holder discounts at many of the city’s tourist attractions (including sightseeing tours). If you do not have intentions of visiting them, and if you have no plans of traveling to Potsdam, then opt for the Tageskarte.
Validate your ticket
All transportation tickets are available in vending machines at every station of the U-Bahn and S-Bahn, offering instructions in many languages including English. Before getting on a train or in a bus, you need to validate your ticket using the machines on the platform or in the bus by simply having the machine print a time stamp on the ticket. Once validated, the ticket would not have to be re-validated before every single trip. If you are caught traveling a public transport with an unvalidated ticket, you are fined for €40.
You might get confused on the house numbers
Unlike in some western countries where house numbers run in one direction of the street, most of Berlin’s streets have house numbers ascend on one side and descend on the other. To avoid confusion when encountering this on a long street, check the street signs first where you can also find the house numbers on that particular block.
Call BVG if you get lost
If you do not know how to get somewhere, or how to get home at nighttime, call the BVG (Berliner Verkehrsbetriebe, the city’s public transport office) Customer Service hotline at 030 19449. There are also facilities in many U-Bahn and S-Bahn station where you can contact BVG Customer Service directly.
How to go home at night
The BVG introduced Metro bus and tram lines that run 24/7. These units are identifiable with its big orange plate and a white M.
Train systems are something to behold
Berlin’s U-Bahn (the subway system) has probably the most precise schedule in the world. Identifiable by its large blue U signs, U-Bahn stations do not have turnstiles for unlimited access (which means you can even dare to ride it without a ticket, that is if the ticket inspectors do not catch you). Together with the S-Bahn, which mostly runs aboveground, the U-Bahn provides a transportation network throughout the city with extreme efficiency and speed. The two systems are even open on weekends as well as during the Christmas and New Year holidays. Both systems are open from 4:30 a.m. to 1:00 a.m. the next day. Detailed maps can be found in every U-Bahn station, but don’t get confused with the alternative tram maps. You can either purchase the special unlimited ride tickets or a single journey ticket for €1.20 but only valid for 3 stops without any line change.
Try some of the trams
Most of Berlin’s trams are located in the East side. Tickets are purchased inside the tram. You can choose from two types of tram services, with Metrotrams frequenting to stops more often even at night. However, the tram routes travel on not-so-popular sites, it stops more frequently,and may even include some single-track ride.
If you are in a hurry, don’t get in the bus
In irony to its subway, Berlin’s buses are the slowest public transport. If you are in a hurry, opt for a faster subway. However, if you want to see something along the way, you can turn the bus into a sightseeing mobile as you slowly take in the city’s marvelous architecture. The most famous bus line for tourists is 100, which travels from Zoo Station (in Berlin Zoologischer Garten”) to Alexanderplatz, crossing most of historic Berlin. Another notable route is the 200, which has the same route but passes through the modern quarters around Potsdamer Platz.
Ride like a local
Bicycles are popular transportation among Berlin residents, as it is a great way to tour Berlin (although not all bike paths are smooth). It is also a great way to travel through less used roads to avoid terrible traffic. You can rent for a bike for a low as €7.50 a day.