5 April 2004
BERLIN – Commuting on Berlin’s expensive public transport system has suddenly become more expensive and a little more complicated.
From Monday all bus passengers are required to hop on through the front door and to show their ticket to the driver or purchase a ticket.
The idea, of course, is to crack down on fare evaders with the new system also coming in the wake of periodic moves to step up inspections of tickets of those travelling on the city’s network of buses, trams, trains and underground services.
This also follows the introduction last week of a new set of fares which eliminates the previous timed ticket which allowed commuters to travel on the transport network for two hours for EUR2.20 in the main inner city zones.
Now a one-way journey costs EUR two which means two tickets costing together EUR four are necessary for a journey. As a result, this represents a sharp increase from the previous fare.
The Berlin authorities insist that tests have shown that the new system on the buses has now slowed down the journey time.
But the new system requiring bus passengers to present themselves to the driver is also something of a dramatic break from how the Berlin, and for that matter large parts of the German public system, have been run.
Previously travelling on the public transport system was essentially based on an honour system.
There are normally no turnstiles, conductors or guards for processing tickets when passengers enter the platform or when they get on, say, the bus or hop off at the journey’s end.
Unlike in many other parts of the world, in Germany, passengers did not have to frantically search through their bags or pockets for the ticket every time they jumped on a bus or arrived at a station.
The consequences, however, were fairly major if you don’t have a ticket and you were nabbed by an inspector with city transport authorities across the country imposing some big fines for those travelling without tickets.
Subject: German news