I am new in Berlin. I liked the public transport system very much.

I ordered BVG yearly ticket online, and I didn't received the ticket by mail, since there was an issue with address the mail bounced back to their office. And I went to nearby BVG office with my colleague(since I am not a German speaker, its difficult to get things done since I am not a good German speaker). They gave me chip-card immediately and I am using it for the current month. My doubt is, this card is valid for coming months also or should I get original card by mail. My doubt is because my name is not printed on the existing card(I read somewhere, for yearly cards, the ticket is valid for only person whose name is printed in it).

I have one more doubt, can two person travel with this card on weekends and holidays?(Heard something like that here)

  • 3
    Note to close voters: travel within your home town is still travel. It doesn't matter that the asker here is an expat. The question is not about being an expat but simply about how to use a particular travel system in Berlin. Mar 29, 2019 at 11:16

3 Answers 3


I can't answer the first question (whether this card is all you need or just a temporary one), but for the others:

Firstly, I assume you're talking about the BVG Umweltkarte (the other susbcriptions are only available to students/pensioners and have their own rules). It's certainly not true that the ticket is only valid for the person whose name is on the card - lending to friends and relatives is explicitly permitted:

Übertragbarkeit: Das Abo ist nicht personengebunden und kann an Freunde und Verwandte übertragen werden. Einfach fahrCard in die Hand drücken und los geht’s.

rough translation (gisted, not intended to be word-for-word):
Transferability: The subscription is not bound to a specific person and can be passed on to friends and relatives. Just give them the card and off they go.

and for your second question:

Kostenlose Mitnahme: Von 20 Uhr bis 3 Uhr sowie am Wochenende und an Feiertagen fahren eine Person jeden Alters und bis zu drei Kinder (bis 14 Jahre) kostenlos mit.

rough translation:
Companion travels free: From 8pm until 3am, and all day on weekends and holidays, one person of any age and up to three children can travel with you for free.

  • I do not think you have to apologise for your translation
    – mdewey
    Mar 25, 2019 at 13:11
  • Thank you :). Does the real card have any names printed on it.
    – Johnykutty
    Mar 25, 2019 at 13:32
  • 2
    @Johnykutty no. If you buy a yearly subscription yourself, you always get the RFID plastic card. You can order it online or buy it in one of their offices. It just says Umweltkarte. There is no name on it, and it is not bound to any person. You can always give it away freely. People offering airbnb or temporary flats for a month or so because they are abroad often include their yearly ticket, as it is freely transferable.
    – simbabque
    Mar 28, 2019 at 12:05

The card you would get in the mail is the same kind of plastic card that they gave you in the store. It should say fahrCard on it.

Photo of fahrCard

We can't know how long this card is valid though.

Your best option is to either call BVG, or take a friend who speaks German and go to their office.

Typically you would order the subscription, which starts from the 1st of the next month, then go to a store to get a temporary paper ticket called a Startkarte. This is a ticket you can buy for the remaining days until the start of your subscription, at the same price per day as you pay for during your subscription.

It might be that they have changed this from paper to a plastic card since I did it last in 2015.

You can find additional information on https://www.bvg.de/de/abo-online, which is only available in German.

You can also ask BVG on Twitter at https://twitter.com/BVG_Kampagne, where they will respond in English, and usually fairly quickly. Refer to your post here on Twitter and they should sort you out.

  • 1
    thank you for the clarification. I got the paper card for starting month. Since I didn't received fahrCard through post, I went to BVG office and they gave this plastic card(like picture you posted).
    – Johnykutty
    Mar 28, 2019 at 13:40
  • 1
    @Johnykutty it is likely then that that is your permanent card. If you ever get the other one, send it back. But check with them to make sure.
    – simbabque
    Mar 28, 2019 at 14:28

The other two answers are perfectly valid so far. I'd like to give some clarification on the "fahrCard" itself as well as some references.


The VBB is the Verkerhsverbund Berlin Brandenburg, which is

the public transport authority covering the federal states of Berlin and Brandenburg – the capital area of Germany.


The S-Bahn Berlin GmbH aswell as the BVG operate under their umbrella.

So, when you buy a ticket, monthly or yearly subscription, that ticket complies to the VBB tariffs and policies.

The VBB fahrCard

Benefits of the VBB-fahrCard

  • Easy usability: Once on board, wave the card over the reader or present card to ticket controllers.
  • Increased security: In the event of theft or loss, your chip card will be blocked immediately after you’ve made a report.
  • Chip card replacement: In the event of loss, theft, or damage, you will receive a new VBB-fahrCard right away via the transportation company your subscription contract is with.
  • More durable ticket: The plastic card is more durable than the previous paper card. The average life span of a chip card is about 4 years.
  • Privacy protection: The VBB-fahrCard only stores data previously included on the paper ticket or customer card. Data on how often you travel will not be stored.


Note: to my personal experience, the last cards lasted only about 2 years with light stress (bending) on them.

The card itself is valid for several years or until your subscription ends. My recent card was issued in October 2019 and on the card the printed validity period is "03/2024".

You can check your card data, validity and readability in some service centers of the Deutsche Bahn. One service center that I know is at Friedrichstraße next to the escalators near exit Friedrichstraße. It's a small terminal next to the ticket machines. Just touch the card onto the terminal.

The subscription recipe lists the data that is stored on your card and you can read the data on the card with any RFID/NFC reader app on a modern smartphone.

The data roughly includes:

  • the card ID (related to your subscription)
  • the tariff (VBB-Umwletkarte, for example)
  • the tariff area (A/AB/ABC etc.)
  • the card validity range

There's also a FAQ on their site: fahrCard FAQ

The fahrCard was introduced around 2015.

The VBB-Umweltkarte (yearly subscription)

  • You can take 1 adult and 3 children with you after 8pm on weekdays and all day at weekends.
  • This ticket is transferable, i.e. another person can use it.


Unfortunately, I was not able to find these informations on the VBB nor on the BVG sites in English language.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .