The U-Bahn/How I learned to stop being so Type-A

I’ve only been in Berlin for 2 weeks, but it feels like I’m getting a surprisingly hefty grasp on the city. Maybe it’s the amount of coffee I’ve been drinking. Maybe it’s the energy and flow of the city. I don’t know, but I can navigate without a map now depending on the district, which is pretty cool.

Despite this though, there are times when you HAVE to take the U-Bahn. Let me explain.

So, my travel plans are Berlin are contingent on two things:

  1. Is it within a 15-minute bike ride
  2. How much does it cost?

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I think those are very good, albeit arbitrary, obstacles to place before myself when making plans. As I’ve mentioned in my previous post about biking in Berlin, it’s easy to get around by bike, BUT there are times when you have.to.take.the U-Bahn. And you dread it. You say, “Maybe a 45-minute bike ride will do me good?” Yes, it probably would, but coupled with the fact that you already biked for 45-minutes today, and that you will eventually have to run into a Berlin winter, the U-Bahn starts to look pretty damn good.

Something you should know, is that the Berlin metro system is slightly messed up. Although you can buy a pass, there is no turnstile to pass through, or guard at the door of the train. The system is that you buy a ticket, and then you occasionally get checked for whether you have a ticket or not. If you don’t, you get a stern talking to and a fine. Yes, that’s scary, but it’s also confusing, because I never know whether to buy a ticket or not. The consensus seems to be that you don’t have to buy a ticket after 10pm, because there are no officials working/if they were they wouldn’t be checking your drunk-ass train pass. So subsequently, I have let myself be a bit of a bad citizen and just not pay for the U-Bahn. This goes against my relatively Type-A personality, but I’m deciding to just call myself “resourceful” instead.

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I have wondered multiple times in the past few weeks about how this system actually can work. The truth of the matter is though, that most people will buy a ticket. If they don’t, that means they will get fined. That means they will be scared into buying a monthly/yearly pass for the S+U Bahn. So in the end, the city still gets its money, right?

Despite my griping, the metro system here is really fantastic. It’s clean. It’s efficient. It’s timely. It deserves its money, when I want to pay it.