Tickets for buses and short distances with a train must be bought at a ticket machine. The price of each ticket is often related to the distance travelled and is divided into zones. Ticket machines can be difficult to use. If you are unable to purchase the ticket you require just ask another traveller who is purchasing a ticket. “Schwarzfahren” (travelling without a ticket) is not permitted and incurs a fine of at least 30 euros on all busses and trains.
If you use public transport regularly then special discounted tickets can be purchased from the local public transport company. Tickets with ten trips at reduced prices or monthly or yearly tickets can be purchased. Ticket issuing offices have information on the type of ticket best suited to you.
Trains: Regional und Long Distance
The German rail company, the Deutsche Bahn (DB) or Die Bahn, runs trains over longer distances. The Deutsche Bahn has a complicated pricing system with many possibilities to save money if used to full advantage. Buy your ticket days in advance to gain reductions.
If you travel with a friend, the second person only has to pay half price. Children up to the age of 14 travelling with their parents or grandparents travel free of charge.
If you use the Deutsche Bahn often then a Bahn Card is recommended. Depending on the type of Bahn Card, you can get a reduction of 25 percent in addition to the other reductions or 50 percent off the original price.
It is good to know as early as possible when and where you are travelling. If you combine the various saving possibilities, the Deutsche Bahn can be a cost-efficient way of travelling. There are also other offers available like the “Schönes-Wochenende-Ticket" (Happy Weekend Ticket), the "Länderticket" (state ticket) or "Monats" and "Jahreskarten” (monthly and yearly tickets). The Interrail Ticket allows young people (under the age of 26) to travel all over Europe for around 300 euros.
You can get information at travel agencies of the Deutsche Bahn or on the Internet at www.bahn.de.
There are numerous taxi stands in larger urban areas and taxis can also be hailed on the street as they drive by. In smaller towns and areas that have limited transport possibilities, it is better to pre-book taxis. Taxi centres can be called to order taxis. Telephone numbers can be found in the telephone book. One specific feature is the “Kurzstrecke” (short trip). If you hail a driving taxi and only want to travel a short distance then you can ask the driver for a low-cost “Kurzstrecke” (which costs around 3 euros). Otherwise taxis have set prices.
Travelling with Others
One possibility to travel cheaply is the "Mitfahrgelegenheit". This is a service provided by people travelling long distances in a car. Many cities have what is called a "Mitfahrzentrale" (short: MFZ), an office that takes offers from car drivers who are looking for people to share the costs of travelling. These offices can be found in the telephone book or on the internet at www.mfz.de or www.mitfahrgelegenheit.de.
This article has been published by the German Government Representative for Migration, Refugees and Integration.