Transport Guide for Expats

Compared to other major cities throughout Europe, Berlin has one of the lowest numbers of cars per capita. Parking and congestion are negatives associated with driving in Berlin, not to mention the costs: high emission tax, petrol prices, and registration fees. It would be almost fair to say, that owning a car in Berlin is redundant and arduous – especially as Berlin possesses a well-developed, affordable, and reliable public transportation system.

Berlin’s impressive system of trains, trams, buses and ferries provides services 24hrs a day 7 days a week. During peak times, trains, trams and buses run on time at 5 to 8 min cycle, meaning if you miss the first one, you know there is another one coming soon. Ticket prices are fair and dogs and bikes are welcome (for a small additional fee). The Dbahn offers a great online service to help you with times and route planning.

Connections outside of Berlin are also hassle-free, with long-haul railway lines connecting Berlin to all major cities within Germany and its neighboring countries. Berlin’s newest claim to public transportation glories is the Hauptbahnhof (major railway station). This impressive infrastructure is the largest crossing station in Europe.

In addition to public transportation, Berlin has a massive bike culture. Both cheap and environmentally friendly, which Berliners love, the city has a highly developed bike lane system – over 620kms in total.

Today there are two commercial airports within Berlin. Tegel (TXL) handles most of the international traffic and mid to upper-end airline carriers while the smaller and less busy airport Schönefeld (SFX) takes care of the numerous low-cost carriers that services Berlin. Both airports are easily accessible by public transport with Tegel in the NW, close to the city and Schönefeld situated a little further out of town in the SE.

Taxis in Berlin are numerous, safe and friendly. You can hail a cab from the side of the road with no issue, however, there also many cab ranks located throughout the city and urban areas. Fares are calculated by the meter. The flag fall will start at €3, and then you are charged €1.58 per kilometer the first 7 kilometers, and then €1.20 for every further kilometer. It is customary to tip the driver. This is usually 5-10%.