Wednesday 7, February
How many people were caught on Berlin public transport without a ticket last year?
The horror stories about angry ticket inspectors are well-known in Berlin, but exactly how widespread Schwarzfahren, or ticket-dodging, was in the city last year has now been revealed, with the BVG and the Deutsche Bahn publicly releasing some numbers in response to a parliamentary question.
Across both services (including trams, buses, U-Bahn and S-Bahn) there were more than 16 million ticket checks last year, in the course of which around 469,000 people were found to be travelling illegally.
This number, however, actually combines two separate answers given in parliament. The BVG answered that they had carried out 5.4 million checks -–with approximately 5% of those having no ticket – while Deutsche Bahn (who operate the S-Bahn) carried out 11 million checks in Berlin, with about 2.4% found to be dodging their fare. Given fewer people travel on the S-Bahn, that number of checks would suggest that travellers are significantly more likely to get checked on the S-Bahn that on BVG-run services (or, perhaps, that the BVG is worse at keeping records).
If you’re a frequent fare-dodger, though, the BVG seem to be more likely to file criminal charges: despite their constant publicising of the slogan “weilwirdichlieben” (“because we love you”), the BVG filed 2,943 criminal complaints last year, while the Deutsche Bahn submitted just 441.