Home How to use the BVG ticket machines

How to use the BVG ticket machines

A new city, a new ticket machine. The BVG machines look intimidating at first sight, but they are pretty easy once you start pushing buttons.

The main menu of the BVG Ticket Machine

Four steps to buying a BVG ticket in Berlin:

  1. Know your zone
  2. Know your ticket
  3. Purchase
  4. Validate

Know your zone – Fare zones in Berlin

The fare zones in Berlin are A, B and C. The vast majority of visitors to Berlin will travel only within A & B zones.

On the screen, you can see that there are three separate groups:

AB – These tickets are valid for use within the A and B zones.

BC – These tickets are valid only for use in the B and C zones.

ABC – These tickets allow travel anywhere within A, B and/or C zones.

You will need to select the zones which you will travel through. Again, the vast majority of travelers will be inside the A/B zones. So when in doubt, choose that option. An exception to this is that the Schönefeld Airport is located in the C zone and frequently controlled by ticket checkers. If you are coming or going to that airport, you must get the ABC or BC ticket.

If you are traveling inside the ring, buy an AB ticket.

How do I know which zone my departure and arrival station is in?

They don’t show it on the machine, so you will need to consult the BVG subway map to find out which of the three zones your stations are located.

After you figure out the zones which you need to travel in, select the corresponding zone group on the screen. You can select AB, BC or ABC.

Know your ticket

Now that you know your fare zone, you can tap the ticket that fits your needs the best.

Here is an explanation of the tickets shown on the screen:

  • Single ticket – This is the most common ticket. After your ticket is validated, you can travel up to two hours and you may interrupt your journey if you wish (meaning you can get off the subway, stop for a bit, then jump back on within that time-window).   The ticket is one-way only.
  • Day ticket – If you plan on using the subway more than a few times during a single day, you may want to consider a day ticket which will allow you to use the transportation network (Subway, Bus, Tram, S-Bahn) as much as you need until 3 AM the next day.
  • 4-trip ticket – If your wish to minimize the amount of time buying tickets at the machines during your stay, buy a 4-trip ticket bundle and validate your tickets as you need them. These 4-trip tickets are four single normal tickets (not day tickets).

Be aware: There is also an option for a Short trip ticket at the very top of the screen. Travel up to 3 stations on the subway (U-Bahn) or urban rail (S-Bahn). Transfers between these two systems are permitted.

The short ticket is also valid for up to 6 stops on the bus/tram although transfers to U-Bahn/S-Bahn are not permitted. As an example: Using this ticket, you can’t travel two stations on the subway, then switch to a tram/bus.


Now that you’ve selected your ticket type, you can pay for it.


Standard Fare – This is the most common.

Reduced Fare – The BVG gives certain students a discount on ticket purchases.

However, you must register in person with the BVG first to get this discount. A student-ID card alone is not enough. So, don’t select this unless you live in Berlin and have registered with the BVG.

Several tickets – If you would like to get additional tickets, for use immediately or later, you can do so by tapping the appropriate button.


The standard fare should automatically be selected when you arrive at the screen shown above. Simply insert your coins, cash or use your card to purchase your tickets.

The BVG ticket machines will take credit cards with chip and pin, chip and signature (USA), EC-cards (German debit cards) and some contact-less payment methods.

If you are using an American chip & signature card simply tap the green button when it asks for your PIN.

Also, please note that if paying by credit card / debit card, the card must be inserted in the machine and remain inside until your payment is completed.

We recommend always carrying coins (especially) and cash while in Berlin as you can’t always count on these machines to be reliable.

Remember, if you purchase a ticket from the subway or S-Bahn station machines, you must validate your ticket before you board.

Read more about validating your ticket.

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