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M: Hello and welcome to German Survival Phrases brought to you by germanpod101.com, this course is designed to equip you with the language skills and knowledge to enable you to get the most out of your visit to Germany. You will be surprised at how far a little German will go. Now before we jump in, remember to stop by germanpod101.com and there you will find the accompanying PDF and additional info in the post. If you stop by, be sure to leave us a comment.
F: German Survival Phrases. Lesson 20, Riding the Bus. The bus is an important means of transportation, however before you get on the bus, you probably want to confirm if the bus is going to your destination. We can accomplish this by asking, will this bus go to and then add in a destination. In today’s lesson, we will use [Berlin]. This is Berlin. In German, station is [Haltestelle] but for the bus, you can be more specific in saying [Bushaltestelle] when referring to the actual location [Bushaltestelle] Let’s break it down by syllable. [Bushaltestelle] As you can see, it is one of those German words where you just stringed some nouns together. In this case, [Bus] is the word for bus and [Haltestelle] is the word for station. Now let’s hear it once again [Bushaltestelle] If you are referring to a certain station that you want to get off at, you would just use the word [Haltestelle] and add the name of the station to it. So our location is [Haltestelle Berlin] So in German, will this bus go to Berlin Station would be [Fährt der Bus zur Haltestelle Berlin] Let’s break it down by syllable. [Fährt der Bus zur Haltestelle Berlin] Now let’s hear it once again [Fährt der Bus zur Haltestelle Berlin] The first word [Fährt] means to drive or to go. [fahren] is the dictionary form of this word but in this sentence, we need the third person. Let’s break down this word and hear it one more time [Fährt] This is followed by [der Bus] which in English is the bus. [der Bus] So to recap here, we have [Fährt der Bus] Literally this means, does this bus drive or does this bus go. Let’s take a look at the next word [zur] which means to or in our case, goes to. [zur] The most important word in this sentence is [Haltestelle] the German word for station. Let’s break it down by syllable [Haltestelle] In our example, we use [Haltestelle Berlin] of course this means, Berlin and of course, Berlin is too big to have just one station. I don’t think that there is a [Haltestelle] anywhere in Germany but it doesn’t really matter because the last word is the part that you can interchange just as you needed. For example, [Haltestelle Zoo] which would be [Zoo] station or [Haltestelle Hauptbahnhof] which would be the central railway station. Anyway back to the sample, altogether we have [Fährt der Haltestelle Berlin] literally this means drives this bus to station Berlin. The important thing about this phrase is that your intonation should rise at the end of the sentence since it’s a question. Once you have the right bus, there are few things you need to know about riding the bus in Germany. First thing is, when do you pay. If you intend to stay in Germany a little longer, you can think about getting a weekly ticket. Then it is enough to just carry that ticket with you and show it when asked. Otherwise, you should get a ticket beforehand too. Either you buy one at the [Automat] and most allow you to choose between German or English menu, so you don’t have to fear the machines or you can buy one in a store. Many small stores like newspaper stands sell tickets if you ask and you will always be able to buy a ticket in the bus itself or at the inflow points of the transportation service. Unfortunately there are only going to be a few in every city. So better try your luck at a newspaper stand. If they don’t sell tickets, they can usually tell you where you can get some nearby. If you are in a more rural area, you can normally only get into the bus at the front door passing the bus driver on your way. There, the driver checks your ticket. If you don’t have one, you can buy it right from the driver but you will have to pay in coins. So be careful to have some spare money with you. We are also going to cover how to go about buying tickets in a later lesson. Next question is, how much is this ticket? Buying a ticket in Germany is a science on its own, seriously. If you depend on bus, train or tramp, just get yourself a day ticket or a monthly ticket or at least a day ticket if you are there for less time or you can try to do the math and figure out if buying a ticket every day is going to be cheaper because otherwise if you don’t have this kind of ticket, you will find yourself confronted with lot of choices that have to be made. The first of all is, which category do you fall in. In Germany, you can buy cheaper tickets for kids below 14 and the more expensive normal tickets and somewhere in between, there are tickets designed for senior citizens, students, disabled people and sometimes even the unemployed and if you buy the latter one and happen to be caught in a ticket control, you will need to prove your claim to be a student or disabled or even that you are a retired person by showing an identification that proves just that. So also keep your student ID and alike with you and beware, tickets designed for students alone are mostly a corporation agreement between the transportation service and the local university. If you don’t attend that university, you are going to be accused of dodging the fare anyway. Now that you know where you belong to, the really tricky part starts. The German transportation system pretty much forces you to know beforehand how long it will take you to reach your destination because there are tickets that will take you only four stations along and some that are valid for an hour, some that are valid for the entire day and there is even a version that is only valid between 9 in the morning and 8 in the evening and it’s pretty much [0:07:50] single or in batches of four and also according to the group that you place yourself in. Of course, they all have different prices and if you are caught with the wrong one or if you are caught using the ticket longer than allowed, you will have to pay a massive fee of about 40 Euros. Did you understand all that explanation? No, see I told you. The seven day ticket is probably a wise choice. It’s well for 7 days at every day and night time and you can’t be wrong but if you do really need a one day ticket, you can get one of them of course. A ticket for four stations or 50 minutes depending on which city you are buying it costs between €1 and €1.50. A 1 hour ticket is going to cost between €1.50 and €2.50. Many of you might want to travel to the big cities like Berlin. There is another thing that makes buying tickets tricky. You have different fare zones. Generally speaking, one fare zone should cover an entire city and some of its outskirts but in big cities like Berlin, this sometimes isn’t the case. In Berlin, normal tickets covers the first two zones in the city center. The third zone that covers the city outskirts isn’t included. If you want to travel there, you will have to pay an extra fee and you also have to state clearly that you want a ticket that covers these zones too. This is also important when you leave a big city and want to explore the surrounding villages. At some point, you are likely to leave your current fare zone and enter another. With the seven day ticket or a monthly ticket, these extra zones aren’t covered normally. So you will have to buy an extra ticket for that or you will have to get a seven day ticket that covers these zones or a monthly one. Normally they are around 30% more expensive. Also when you buy a ticket, you will get a route map, at least you should. If you are going around in Berlin and can’t get one with your ticket, just ask for one. Those are really useful to carry with you. Also you can see which parts are covered with the normal ticket because the parts that you can reach but that aren’t covered with the normal ticket usually have a gray color underlying those zones. This is a clear sign that you will need an extra ticket if you want to go there. And you really should get one. If you are caught dodging the fare, you will have to pay a fee of 40 Euros or more and as I see, it is unlikely that not knowing or being from abroad is going to get you out of that. There is a story a friend of mine told me lately. She lives in [Halle] in [Sachsen-Anhalt]. A few weeks ago, there was an article in the newspapers that said that, one of the gas steam power plants on the outskirts needed a new generator and that they were currently thinking to start a Waste Incineration and Processing Plant because gas was becoming too expensive. However, they still managed to earn a plus of €1.5 million that was agreed upon to be used to cover the debts of the transportation companies. [Halle] has more than 200,000 inhabitants and the transportation system just doesn’t pay for itself. They need over €1 million extra every year just to keep it running. The money they gained from ticket sales just doesn’t cover that. The friend of mine also started to rant and rave a little. Her student ticket is only valid in combination with her student ID. She has to pay a semester fee and if she paid it, she can validate her ticket for another semester. Now you have to pay about 5 Euros if you haven’t validated your ticket when the new semester starts. It also means going to one of the service points, taking a Certificate of Enrollment or something with you. In short, a lot of trouble that you don’t really want. So she tried to be clever. Validating your student ID early is also good way to check if you paid your semester fee. What can go wrong then, right? Well it did go wrong. Three weeks later still a month before the new semester started, she was controlled and now she was accused of not being enrolled for this semester or phrased differently, she might as well be from a different city or she might have taken a pause and not be enrolled for the current semester.
So she did not pay the semester fee and therefore she didn’t really pay for the ticket either and wasn’t allowed to use it and the absolute best about that is that, she was sitting there with a friend and the ticket inspector insisted on telling her that a friend of his already had her student’s ID and was already enrolled even though the enrollment had not even started. She thought that’s pretty rude and it doesn’t matter if they are that strict because of the debts of the transportation companies or because they get a fee on a success basis, they just need the money and it is unlikely that they will turn a blind eye on you. Then again during the night time, many public transport companies started employing security firm members. You wouldn’t want to cross them even less but enough of that. A last thing that might be important for you. During which times can you go by bus? In Rural areas, the transportation system is pretty bad. Many buses only drive once an hour and there are even cases when they only go twice a day but you probably won’t be on holidays that far off the urban areas. So in the cities that you are likely to visit, bus lines drive every 10 to 15 minutes in the city and every 15 to 30 minutes if they leave the city and buses drive pretty regularly until about 8 in the evening. After that, they tend to drive less regularly. After midnight, it might be easier to go by train.
M: Okay to close our today’s lesson, we’d like you to practice what you’ve just learned. I provide you with the English equivalent of the phrase and you are responsible for shouting it out aloud. You have a few seconds before I give you the answer. So [Viel Glück] which means good luck in German.
F: Will this bus go to Berlin station [Fährt der Bus zur Haltestelle Berlin]
M: That’s going to do it for today.