The reason for this is either that the word stems from the Yiddish word shvarts (‘poor’) or that it refers to the idea of carrying out illegal activities in the dark.
Fare evasion, or Schwarzfahren, also takes place in Berlin, a city with a large public transport system. Many stations and trains in Berlin are covered with tags and graffiti that express diverse opinions. It can be seen as merely vandalism but also as a form of art that is freely accessible to many people. Fare evasion, graffiti, and other disorderly practices are often mentioned in hip-hop culture and, particularly, in rap songs.
The research team Lukas Adolphi, Helene Mommerts, Celina Segsa, Tonio Weicker, and Wladimir Sgibnev, listened to 202 German rap songs to understand what rappers think about public transport. Rappers see it as a space where very different people meet and class inequalities are visible. That is why, in their lyrics, rappers often mention discrimination, violence, and poverty. On the other hand, they also see public transport as public space: as a space that is open for everyone and where everyone can speak and be heard.