Apart from the horrible shock of being caught by the Kontrollieren (inspectors) on the U-Bahn without your Fahrschein (ticket), the U-Bahn in Berlin is great.
I miss having a seat on the train. I miss having space to breathe without someone’s hair or armpit in my face. I miss not having to queue to get on the train. I miss travelling without the barging and the shoving, and people actually being pushed off trains!
In Berlin, you’re never packed in ridiculously like sardines. No need for that with a transport system with a capacity for 10 million and a population of only 3.5.
Not only that, but it runs all night over the weekend (and not just mythically like in London).
Paying on the U-Bahn is seemingly discretionary – there are no ticket barriers – but anyone who’s been caught, and slapped with a now 60€ fine knows only too well that this is not true. It’s best to get a ticket, or your journey will be a nervous one.
I also miss that unlike in London, people haven’t been banned from drinking on the U-Bahn. In fact, the “weg Bier” is pretty much customary in Berlin, particularly on the U-Bahn. Almost everyone, male, female, young and old, carries a beer. Whether they are happily drinking away on a night out or swigging away as you’re on your way to work in the morning.
And there is no end to what you might come across on the U-Bahn, from a pony to a striptease, someone playing drums to someone camouflaged against the seats.
Literally, anything goes. It’s not out of place to see a huge rave going on at one of the U-Bahn stations, complete with DJ and decks, on a weekend night.
In fact the BVG made a funny video to show that they are ok with you being weird. “Ist mir egal” (“I don’t care).