Germany is well known for its public transport system. Hence for a backpacker a good way to travel through Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania is by train or bus. If you go to Rostock, you will even have the possibility to get by the interurban train or tram from one place to another. Isn’t that luxury?! Still, there are some issues and rules you should be aware of before you take the first tram that comes along or try to discover the city by foot or bicycle. Otherwise you could get in real danger or be up to a lot of money lighter or poorer, however you want to view it! 😉
If you want to go through the city by foot, you are expected to stop at a spotlight that shows “red”. Especially in Rostock the police are very good at finding a hidden place in order to catch someone committing this minor breach of the law according to “§37 Abs.2 Nr.1 Satz 7, Nr.2, 5 Satz 3, i.V.m. § 49 Abs. 3 Nr. 2 StVO”, which would cost you 5 Euro. And seriously: You are there on holiday! So why should you be in a hurry and not have enough time to wait for “green”?! As a cyclist with a driver’s license you could even get into more trouble. So just DON’T do it! =)
Both, as a pedestrian and a cyclist, you have to follow the road traffic regulations. First your bike has to fulfill some safety criteria, such as visible reflectors and secondly you need to ride on the right side of the street on marked lanes or tracks, since Germany has a right driving act. Furthermore, you are not obliged to wear a helmet, but you are recommended to put forth your arm to the side you wish to turn to…
In Rostock you are prohibited to use your bike in the “Kröpeliner Straße” from 10 am to 7 pm, because in certain areas, such as shopping streets or malls, you are not allowed to ride your bike. That is the reason why you’d better watch out for the signs at the beginning of those kinds of areas. You do not really want to get a rude comment by a mad pedestrian, who feels threatened or disturbed by you on your bicycle, do you?!
There are – why should it be different in Germany – some rules for using the interurban train and tram, too. By the way, these kinds of transportation you can only find in two cities of Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania: Rostock and Schwerin. And although they are so rare in this part of Germany, they are worth a visit, because nowhere else you can get closer to a German and come into contact, in the truest sense of the word! 😉
But all joking apart, there are really a few issues you should know about and obey:
- Do not eat or drink in the tram or bus! Or you might get dirty… On the train that is no problem, because it does not move as abrupt as the previously mentioned ones sometimes do.
- Do not smoke in the tram/bus or train. I would even recommend not to smoke in public at all, because I personally do not like being exposed to smoke.When taking a dog with you, keep it under control! And if you need a leash to do so, then use it, please, for the sake of the other passengers’ well-being!
- Additionally, you can take a baby carriage or a bike with you. But naturally, you need to make room for a wheelchair user if he enters the tram.
- Do not forget that you are not the only person that uses the public transport. So leave your seat as you hopefully came upon it -clean-, keep your feet on the floor (you are not at home!), talk to other people in an appropriate volume, be polite to other passengers by saying “Entschuldigung” ([ɛntˈʃʊldɪɡʊŋ] =sorry) if you struck someone accidently and do not disturb them by listening to loud music.
- You need a ticket in order to take the tram/bus or train. Either you buy one at the ticket machine before you enter the tram and stamp it once you got in or you buy it in the tram and it will be valid immediately without stamping it. On this page you will find all further information on buying tickets and planning your route – all in English- this goes without saying! 😉 http://www.rsag-online.com/
Special: Dos and Don’ts in the Tram*
(* also useful in all other public transports)