Deutsche Bahn AG is the German national railway company. Virtually all active train stations, most inter-city trains and also S-Bahn city trains are under it's control. Most regions of Germany now offer some kind of transportation network, local DB trains are usually included and the network's rules apply.
In general, they provide the most expensive public transport I've seen so far and are often at least some minutes late. Use alternative means of transportation whenever possible.
Blackriding in DB trains generally doesn't make much sense, because chances that you reach your destination without getting into some kind of trouble are rather low. If there really is no way to hitchhike, see below:
- if they get your ID, it means you'll be donating from 40 EUR to the full ticket price to the DBs shareholders (mostly the German state, if that makes you feel better)
- You don't have to pay instantly, but usually by bank transfer within 10 days
- As a last line of defence, conductors can call the police and legally keep you from leaving to prevent you from "illegally obtaining a service"
- I have no idea if there are special rules if you don't possess a german ID
The following is based on personal experience, your mileage might vary :)
Plan A (regional trains only)
- On small RegionalBahn or RegionalExpress regional trains (see picture, not the loco+waggon setup!), there usually is a ticket machine
- You might be able to quickly check if there's a conductor on the train (which is not always the case) before you buy a ticket. be careful on multi-waggon trains
- Sometimes transportation network's rules demand you buy a ticket before getting on the train, but AFAIK DB conductors are even obligated to sell you a ticket, albeit for a higher price
This is risky if there is no working ticket machine, because I wouldn't swear to the last part. I also once experienced a conductor actually hiding in the drivers cabin (they are often in there but you should be able to spot them). --Ben
experiences on small-range trains only, differences on long distances and ICEs?
- When getting caught, refuse to give your ID and just argue with the conductor until they kick you out of the train
This has happened to me twice (unintentionally) and I think it is a standard policy, at least if there is no train station with the Bundesgrenzschutz (German Border Control, who is also in charge of train security) nearby. Maybe that is because you can't get local police to just jump into a train (how do they get back to their car, after all?) and the conductor can't force you out of the train. You risk getting sued instead of getting fined, but I think the risk is very low. -Ben