Everything you need to know about Trams
When traveling, taking public transport is always slightly intimidating. It’s always a little bit more rattling when taking something not readily available everywhere, like trams.
The German Rail, or Deutsche Bahn (DB), is infamous for delays, technical faults, and of course, strikes. Although, when things go right, navigating the rails is one of the most pleasant German travel experiences that doesn't involve an Audi.
Each area of Germany is represented by Integrated Transit Systems (Verkehrsverbund). Buses, trams and trains all operate within the network, often by different companies or municipal networks, while working under the same tariff rules.
Tickets are available in one way, daily, weekly and monthly passes. A valid ticket has access to all public transport inside the city: S-Bahn, U-Bahn, buses, trams and ferries. The different ticket types provide a brief overview of how buses, trams and trains all fit into the system in an integrated way, each complementing one another as they seamlessly work within the same network.
Tickets are bought at ticket machines on the platforms of S-and U-Bahn stations which, fortunately for tourists, are multilingual. Tickets must be validated before the journey by going to the yellow or red boxes on the platforms to get them stamped. In buses and trams the person in charge does it manually. Be sure to get it stamped! In the event of an inspection, a ticket that is not stamped will cause you an estimated 40 Euro fine.
As in language, compared to the rest of the world, the Germans are wildly different.
A classic example is giving up your seat for those who need it, but giving seats to the elderly or pregnant willingly is a rare sight. The rule seems to be: If you don’t ask, you don’t get.
There may also be musicians who come on board to play and persistently show an empty cup to you- fret not. Musicians aren't allowed on public transport (even in Berlin) so don't feel obliged to pay up. Most use that as a distraction and might pinch your wallet if they think they can get away with it.
It’s also heavily enforced that (messy and disposable) food & drink are not allowed on the trams. You will not be allowed to board, for example, if you are eating ice cream or drinking from a can. (You will still see passengers drinking but they probably smuggled their drinks on.)