Public transport within Berlin and the surrounding region is unified, and tickets can be utilized on almost all ways of transport (exclude long-distance trains). Berlin is separated into three zones: A, B and C.
Most tickets are valid for two or three zones (e.g. A and B, or A, B and C). Generally tickets are valid for a set interval of time (from 2 hours up to 1 month) and can be used at any time of the day or night within their validity period.
- Zone A is the city centre within the S-Bahn's ring line.
- Zone B is the rest of Berlin surrounding the ring line.
- Zone C is the area immediately outside Berlin (including Potsdam).
Tickets can be purchased from machines on station platforms, from station ticket offices (increasingly rare except at termini and major interchange stations), from some station kiosks on U-Bahn stations, from the tourist information offices and from some newsagents.
"Tickets normally need to be stamped after buy (look for a red or yellow box on the platform called an "Entwerter"). If caught traveling without a ticket you will be subject to a EUR 40 fine / penalty."
The basic ticket (Einzelfahrschein) for zones A and B costs €2.10 (reduced: €1.40) and is valid for 2 hours for a journey anyplace as long as you do not return from the station you stamped the ticket at. Until 2004 it used to be valid for the complete network with no restrictions, but is now supposed to be a one-way ticket - this catches a lot of people out.
If making more than two journeys on the same day, a day ticket (Zone A/B, €5.80; reduced: €4.20) is better value for money. There is a weekly ticket (7-Tages-Karte) for €25.40 (Zone A/B, which works out at EUR 3.62 a day).
For visitors there are also the following special tickets:
- Kleingruppenkarte: day ticket for up to 5 people for just €14.80 (Zone A/B) or €15 (Zone A-C)
- WelcomeCard 48 hours: this ticket costs €16.00 and is valid in zones A and B (€17.50 for zone C as well, which covers Potsdam). The WelcomeCard comes with coupon booklet offering discounts of up to 50% on over 120 attractions (including tours, museums, theaters, restaurants, shopping and fitness facilities), including many in Potsdam.
- WelcomeCard 72 hours: this ticket costs €21.00 (A/B) or €24 (A/B/C) and has the same coverage as the 48 hour version.
- CityTourCard 48 hours: this ticket costs €14.90 (Zone A/B) or €16.90 (A/B/C) and entitles the holder to discounts on entry to about 50 of Berlin's tourist attractions.
- CityTourCard 72 hours: like the CityTourCard 48; this ticket costs €19.90 (Zone A/B) or €21.90 (Zone A/B/C)
- CityTourCard Premium: Costing EUR 39.90 (Zone A/B), this ticket gives the holder free entry to a number of different tourist and cultural attractions.