Tag Archives: Spandau

Schwarz rider

u-bahn berlin

A subway rider without a valid ticket is affectionately called a “schwarz rider.”

It happened to me, or I should say, to my friend, on a visit to Germany a full 20 years ago. My friend was in school in Heidelberg to work on her already-good language skills and figure out what came next for her.

I’d come with my boyfriend to visit her and tour the lovely old city. She met us at the train station and took us around town for the afternoon. We rode the quaint local trolleys through the city, and I recall her handing us small paper tickets that we were supposed to punch in some ancient contraption in the rear of the car.

To make the tickets last longer, she said, we don’t have to punch them; it’s an honor system here, and they rarely check.

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