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Germany is one of the most cultural, technologically advanced and socially diverse countries in the world. Whether you are in Germany for leisure, business or if you are looking to settle down, this article can help you understand the German public transportation system.
Getting around Germany without owning your car is extremely easy, owing to the dense and modern German transportation infrastructure. In this post, we help you navigate the use of public transport in Germany.
Trains, buses, and trams are the main forms of transportation in Germany. Bicycling is also picking up fast, with most buses and trains allowing you to carry your bicycle for a tiny fee. Cycling is an integral part of German culture indeed. Walking down the streets, you’ll see people cycling to work, using them to run errands, or simply to stay healthy and fit. There are great news for bike lovers or occasional bikers. With Ocyan you can take stress-free trips with the quick access to e-bike and bike insurance. Covers against bike damages and bike theft. It’s time to hit the road!
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The German Public Transportation System
Getting around in Germany is easy and there are a plethora of options. Public transport in Germany comprises of urban/suburban trains, buses, trams, subways, car rentals and even bike rentals. Taxi and cab aggregators are also useful, especially in the early days of travel in Germany. While public transport in Germany is not free, its affordability and convenience make it the best option for many.
S-Bahn (suburban commuter rail)
S-Bahn, short for Schnellbahn or Stadtschnellbahn, is a city’s rapid rail system. It serves a wide metropolitan region, linking commuter and suburban regions with the city centre and the main railway station.
In larger cities, the S-Bahn can also be a part of the U-Bahn. There are 14 S-Bahn systems in Germany. A round green sign with a white S signifies an S-Bahn station. You can plan your journey timetable and connectivity options here.
The U-Bahn, short for Untergrundbahn, (underground railway) is a rapid mass transit system. Berlin, Hamburg, Munich, and Nuremberg are the only cities that have the U-Bahn. It runs along 10 lines, covering approximately 146 kilometres and 173 stations. German train schedules and fares, lines, routes, timetables, and more information can be found at the German public transport website here.
Straßenbahn, also known as the tram, is an electric street railway system that allows commuters to move between different parts of a city easily. In many cases, they share bus stops for boarding and disembarking. Some of these networks have been upgraded to light rail standards called Stadtbahn.
Coaches are the backbone of most German towns and cities, linking far-away places to the city centres. Buses are popular because they are the cheapest form of public travel and operate well into the night. Bus stops, which usually fall every 300 metres or so, are signified by a green “H” (for “Haltestelle” – stopping point) on a yellow background.
Additional Information On Buying Tickets
Germany’s public transportation system is divided into zones, tickets for travel within a certain zone are valid for all public systems like the S-Bahn, U-Bahn, tram, bus or ferry. Single journey tickets are valid for 120 minutes with multiple interruptions. German train tickets generally need to be stamped with the date of use to be valid for the journey.
Tickets are available at multilingual ticket vending machines on platforms or sale-points in major stations. German bus tickets are typically bought from the driver in cash. Most major types of transactions are accepted. Visitors and tourists can also avail concessional offers like day tickets, group tickets, City Tour Cards or German Bus Pass.
Are you looking for help regarding other financial services linked to your move? Here are some useful articles:
- Open Your Bank Account Before You Settle Abroad With Ocyan
- Rental Deposit Guarantee | Deposit-Free Renting
- Health Insurance in Germany – Ultimate Guide for Expats
Things To Note Before Travelling In Germany
- Since the 27th of April 2019, it is a must for all commuters to wear a mouth and nose protector on buses, suburban trains, and underground trains.
- To save money on ticket prices, you can buy weekly, monthly, annual, or group tickets at a discount.
- There are no turnstiles in the S-Bahn or U-Bahn. While it may be tempting to travel without a ticket, you can be suddenly asked for your ticket by plain-clothed ticket collectors, with a fine of €60 for ticketless travel.
What is the main form of transportation in Germany?
Trains, buses, and trams are the main forms of transportation in Germany. Bicycling is also picking up fast, with most buses and trains allowing you to carry your bicycle for a tiny fee.
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