My personal and professional adventure into Science

VBB Berlin fail – What a way to treat your customers…

Sunday I arrived in Berlin for one last vacation day before I head home. I go to the ticket machine to buy a ticket for the Ubahn, and I’m met with so many options. What I really wanted was a 24 hour ticket… Couldn’t easily find it, and then I was also met with the options to buy for “A”, “AB”, “BC” etc. Having no idea what to buy as the is no explanation next to the machine, I may have spent some time in the queue, when suddenly a friendly looking official VBB guy approaches me. “Can I help you?”. “Yes please” I reply and explain that I would for now just like to buy a ticket to go for Alexanderplatz where my hotel is. He clicks an option, I pay and thank him for the help.

The Ubahn arrived shortly after and very quickly I am greeted by a civil dressed inspector who wants to see my ticket. He tells me right away that I bought a ticket for the wrong zone so now I have to pay a fine of 40€. I try to explain what happened, but he doesn’t care and asks me for the money. I show him the last 5€ I have, he pads me on the jeans and says, “You have a credit card so we will follow you to an ATM.” Then three guys follows me to the machine, takes my suitcase so I can’t run – as I would even try that? – and waits for my money. After that he tells me that it’s my responsibility to check and pay the right ticket, no matter if it’s an official person who helps me …

VBB Fine

My €40 fine after following the advice from a VBB employed person


It’s your own fault you followed another persons advice – even if it was a VBB employee. You have to check yourself. VBB civil ticket inspector

Today I checked out the station on my way to the airport. There is no explanation of zones next to any of the four ticket machines. The machines are placed in the beginning and end of the station and the transportation map is located in the middle. The station is quite big and when you get down to the station, it not at all obvious that the map will be located far away from the ticket machines..

Furthermore, the ticket I bought was actually more expensive than the one I was suppose to buy. The one I bought costed 3€, but the correct one only 2.70€. So in principle I got a fine of 40€, because I bought a ticket that costed 0.30€ too much.

So VBB, how was it I cheated you? Yes, I bought a ticket after the advice from one of your employees for the wrong zone. But, I did not pay less than I was suppose to and cheated you in that sense… I actually paid more and cheated myself. How did this harm your business (or other people) in any way? How can you treat people like this? Is this your way of getting easy money out of stupid tourists, to me it seems like that.

I have never in my entire life cheated on public transportation, not even when I was a poor student, and I don’t plan to. And this, this is simply ridiculous VBB, I want my money back!

Please share this post if you have ever felt cheated by VBB like I do.

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  1. aurelien says:

    I agree that is super poor service! Not even friendly with people who are obviously new to the system and honest. Basically, most of the tourists are like that, they gave a bad reputation.
    However, the zones system in Denmark is also far from being easy to understand. Inspectors love to be in the metro when it leaves Kastrup toward Nørreport, they are sure to catch some lost tourists and the fine is expensive. Marion was kicked out at Femøren when she arrived in 2010

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