Platform 5 and 3/4

The Berlin transit system can be a bit of an adventure to say the least. It is a classic example of a transit system that makes sense to insiders, but it clear as mud to outsiders.

The map is enormous. It is excellent that the system is so superb and serves so many parts of the city but it is hard to figure out where to begin. The station you are looking for is a needle in the haystack. Something as simple as figuring out the terminus of a train can be confusing.

To make matters worse S-bahn and U-bahn are on the map in the same colour and weight. Why would they do this? Shouldn’t it be clear which is which?

Buying tickets is also an adventure. Through advice from a tour guide we learned to buy group passes. There is no way we would’ve figured that out ourselves.

Then there are the stations themselves. Getting from one platform to another and transferring lines is very much based on insider knowledge as opposed to effective signage.

After first getting to Berlin we took a route that required us to transfer at Friedericstabe. Easy right? Not so fast. This involved figuring out how to go between platforms. We spent 20 minutes trying to find a sign then we found an information center. They told us to go to platform five—because obviously you catch that S-bahn on platform five. Now one last question, where is platform five? More wandered ensued, but at least this time we had a destination. Eventually we did find it.