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Transportation in Germany

Two words “World Class”.

Every major city has an underground train network (U-Bahn) and a munincipal rapid train system (S-Bahn) as well as a mass of bus routes. Some even also have trams. All of these services are neatly intergrated and run frequently and according to schedule.

You can generally utilise all parts of a city’s public transport network with a single ticket, thus meaning a ticket purchased from a bus driver is valid also on all U-Bahn and S-Bahn trains and trams.

Table of Contents

Means of public transport in Germany

Bus, tram, S-Bahn, U-Bahn, regional trains (RE/RB/IRE), ICE/ICs are the main public transportation in Germany. Except for ICE/ICs which is a German high-speed train for long-distance travel, the rest is used for regional transport.

Zone in Germany

Big cities in Germany will have different zones whose fares are slightly different from one another.

Usually, there are 3 zones in a city and most tourist attractions located in the first two zones whereas the airport is sometimes in the outermost zone.

Pay attention to the zone when buying the ticket so that you can save the money and do not get fined when you go into an invalid zone.

Where to buy public transportation tickets in Germany?

Tickets come in one-time pass, a daily pass, weekly pass, monthly pass, and even a yearly pass. With a valid ticket one has access to all public transport inside the city: S-Bahn, U-Bahn, buses and trams.

Tickets are bought at ticket machines on the platforms of S-and U-Bahn stations which fortunately are multilingual. In buses the money is given to the bus driver pretty old school while in trams you get the ticket from the machines inside the trains.

Tickets must be validated before the journey.  This is done by going at the yellow or red boxes on the platforms to get them stamped. In buses or trams the person in charge does it manually. In case of inspection, a ticket that is not stamped is invalid and you are charged around a 60 Euro fine.

You can also buy a ticket online through the DB website or the app, the tickets operated by DB are valid for regional trains, S-Bahn, ICE/ICs and through the website or app of local transport association like BVG for tickets of trams, buses, and U-Bahns.

Ticket Fees for local transport in Germany

There are many types of tickets depending on the region, but in general, you should know only three common types:

  1. Single Ticket (EinzelTicket): This ticket allows you to travel anywhere you like and by any means in the city usually within 1.5 hours, regardless of how many stops you make, by any means of the chosen zone in the city. Price: 2 – 2.8 euros per person
  2. Day Ticket (TagesTicket): You can travel by any means and to anywhere in the zone you choose for one day. One day here does not necessarily mean 24 hours from the time you buy the ticket, so you have to pay attention to the validity of the ticket. In some cities, it means 24-hour ticket whereas some cities allow you to travel only to 3 A.M on the following day. Price: 6 – 8 euros per person
  3. Group Ticket (GruppenTicket/GruppenTagesTicket) : Group ticket is in most cases the day ticket for a group of a maximum of five people with some restrictions in age. Note that in some regions the price for group ticket is fixed no matter how many people there are in your group as long as it does not exceed five people. In some other regions, the price is fixed for the first ticket and for each additional person you will have to pay extra. Price: 12 – 20 euros per group of a maximum of 5 people

Ticket Fees for long-distance transport in Germany

You can travel long-distance in Germany via ICE/ICs with connecting S-Bahn or Regional Trains in between. My best advice for you is to buy tickets in advance as early as you can because the price system works precisely like flight booking, which means the later you book, the higher price you get.

You can book the ticket on the Deutsche Bahn website and pay with Paypal or credit card.

There are two types of the ticket prices you need to be aware: Flexpreis and Saving fares.

The only difference between them is that for Flexpreis you pay a lot higher than Saving fares, but you are more flexible in the time and place. It means you can travel any time or any route you like between your specified point of departure and destination within 1-2 days from the day your ticket is valid.

Bicycle

Germans love to cycle, be it for errands, commuting, fitness or pleasure. Many cities have dedicated bicycle lanes, which must be used unless obstructed. There’s no helmet law, not even for children, although using one is recommended, for obvious reasons. Bicycles must be equipped with a white light at the front, a red one at the back and yellow reflectors on the wheels and pedals.

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