Trams are a major part of the Berlin public transportation system. Covering over 800 stops throughout the city, the tram or Straßenbahn as it’s called in German is an integral part of city life for many residents. The tram system connect many areas far from U-Bahn and S-Bahn stations, ensuring commutes are as short as possible .
There are a few different types of trams in Berlin. Regular trams and Metro trams. Metro trams are the workhorses of the tram system and are operated 24 hours per day at frequent intervals. Metrotrams can be identified by the letter “M” before the route number, example: M10. Regular trams run at less frequent intervals and may reach parts of the city that are more remote.
Berlin previously had extensive tram lines throughout the whole city including the West. After the wall was built and the city divided, West Berlin eventually replaced the tram lines with underground subway lines. The DDR (East German government) had no such plans and kept the tram lines intact. This is primarily due to the fact that it was far cheaper to maintain the existing tram network rather than building the underground infrastructure required for subway lines. Today, the tram system lies primarily in the Eastern part of the city and is a reliable and fun way to explore the city.
Tips for Trams
- You can buy a ticket on the tram but trams don’t take credit cards or Euro bills, you must have coins with you.
- You do not need to validate tickets purchased on a tram, they include one automatically.
- Once your train arrives, do not stand in front of the doors. Stand to the side until everyone that wants to get off the train does so, then you may enter.
- Although trams contain no barriers, you must have a valid ticket to ride them.
Frequently Asked Questions
How and where do I buy a ticket?
If you don’t have a ticket yet, you can board the tram and then purchase your ticket from the machine (usually located in the middle of the tram). Tram ticket machines only take coins.
How do I validate a ticket on the tram?
If you have purchased a ticket on the tram, it is already validated. If you purchased your ticket previously and need to validate it, board the tram and search for the ticket validation machine. There are usually two or three small yellow ticket validation boxes located throughout the tram.
What happens if the ticket machine is broken or not functioning?
In the case of a non-functioning ticket selling machine, you can continue onto your destination but must buy a ticket when/if you change trams. If the ticket validation machine doesn’t work, locate another one on the same tram.
Can I switch between tram and other forms of transportation?
If you have a normal ticket (not short trip ticket), you can switch between Bus, U-Bahn and S-Bahn on the same ticket.
The Straßenbahn is a great way to navigate around Berlin at a reasonable cost. Because it is included in the VBB (Verkehrsverbund Berlin-Brandenburg) tariff system, tickets purchased in a tram are also valid for other types of public transportation in Berlin. For more information, see our public transportation guide.