German Word of the Day: Schwarzfahren

The Local Germany
The Local Germany - [email protected]
German Word of the Day: Schwarzfahren
Photo: Depositphotos

The next time you hop on a tram without buying a ticket, you could be found guilty of fare-dodging, or 'riding black'.


Schwarzfahren is a compound noun literally meaning 'black-riding', but translates as 'fare dodging'. You can get accused of Schwarzfahren either if you use public transport without a valid ticket or drive a car without a valid driver's license.

In Germany, unlike most other European countries, public transport does not have barriers or turnstiles so it is easy to get on the U-Bahn without a ticket. However, if you decide to fare dodge, you run the risk of being caught by ticket inspectors, and the fines are hefty. 

Always remember to validate your ticket before you get on a train or tram, because fines for first-time offenders in Germany are normally around €60.

Berlin U-Bahn, U5 line. Photo: DPA




Join the conversation in our comments section below. Share your own views and experience and if you have a question or suggestion for our journalists then email us at [email protected].
Please keep comments civil, constructive and on topic – and make sure to read our terms of use before getting involved.

Please log in to leave a comment.

See Also