Cheap discount cards and travel passes offer great deals for saving on ticket prices when traveling by bus, tram, and train (S & U-Bahn) in Berlin, Germany.
Berlin has a comprehensive public transportation system, which combines seamless travel on buses, trams, and trains. Over thirty ticket versions are available making it worth calculating in advance which ticket or transportation pass will give the best deal and largest discounts when visiting Berlin.
Prices listed for tickets are valid from 2017 and although prices may increase, the relative positions will usually not change. As prices tend to rise in tandem, a day pass will continue to be cheaper than three single tickets.
Buying Single Tickets for Berlin Buses and Trains
Single tickets, not altogether surprisingly, come in various versions. The standard single ticket (Einzelfahrschein) is valid for travel of up to two hours – journeys may be interrupted and transfers between buses, trains, and trams are allowed but return journeys require a new ticket. Single tickets are €2.80 for zone AB and €3.40 for ABC. For zone AB, four single tickets (4-Fahrten Karten) cost €9 and for zone ABC four single tickets cost €13.20.
When traveling only a short distance, the short distance ticket (Kurzstrecke) ticket at €1.70 is useful. It allows for travel in the same direction for three U or S-Bahn stops (transfers between trains allowed) or six bus or tram stops – transfers not allowed. Note that the bus stops where express buses do not stop must be calculated too.
Save with Day Tickets on Berlin Public Transportation
Visitors to Berlin will usually save on transportation cost by using day or multi-day passes. Basic day tickets are cheaper than three single journeys.
The most basic version is the day ticket (Tageskarte). Day tickets are valid from the moment of validation up to 3 am the following morning. Day tickets are €7 for zone AB and €7.70 for ABC. (Up to three children aged 6 to 14 may travel with an adult on a day ticket.)
The small group ticket (Kleingruppenkarte) allows five people to travel together for a day for €19.90 in zone AB or €20.80 for ABC. Children 6 to 14 must be counted.
Save with Week and Month Tickets on Bus, Train, and Trams in Berlin
The VBB-Umweltkarte is of interest to visitors staying five days or longer in Berlin. It comes in two versions: seven days or a month. It is valid from the moment of validation up to midnight of the last day of validity – e.g. a week card validated on Monday morning or evening is valid up to midnight the following Sunday.
A further advantage of the VBB-Umweltkarte is that an accompanying passenger and up to three children aged 14 years or younger may be taken on the bus or train for free after 8 pm (up to 3 am the following day) on weekdays and all day on weekends and national holidays.
The Berlin week pass is €30 for zone AB and €37.50 for ABC while the month ticket is €81 for zone AB and €100.50 for ABC.
VBB-Umweltkarte cannot be bought on buses but are available from U-Bahn vending machines and all other public transportation ticket offices.
Another month ticket worth considering is the 10 o’clock month ticket (10-Uhr-Monatsticket). It may only be used on weekdays after 10 am (and up to 3 am) but without restriction on weekends. It is only valid for a calendar month – i.e. the April ticket will be valid from 10 am on 31 March up to midnight on 1 May. The 10-Uhr-Monatsticket is €59.10 for zone AB and €73.30 for ABC.
Which Berlin Public Transportation Ticket is the Best to Buy?
The calculation of which ticket to buy is relatively simple. Three tickets in a day cost more than a day pass. A group of three (to five) travels cheaper on a small group day ticket, even if the third person is a child.
A VBB-Umweltkarte week ticket is cheaper than five day tickets, while a month ticket is cheaper than three week tickets (or two week tickets and four day tickets). The 10 o’clock month ticket can be cheaper than two week tickets if the dates (and hours) work out fine.
Tourists should also consider special Berlin visitors discount passes that gives access to unlimited transportation as well as discounts on sightseeing, tours, entertainment, and restaurants. Families should note the advantage of the ABC passes.
Also see general tips on using the Berlin transportation system as well as suggested bus routes for seeing the best of Berlin. Many organised tours and day trips are also available, e.g. through Get Your Guide.