INFOYER I German Wiki - Transport in Germany

The public transport system in a country is an important determinant of the quality of life. Therefore, those travelling to Germany, especially with long term plans of staying here, would be happy to know that most German cities and the larger towns have very efficient public transport systems. 
There are multiple means of local transport to choose from – buses, trams (Straßenbahn), suburban trains known as the S-Bahn, and the underground (subway) trains known as the U-Bahn. Bigger cities integrate them into a single network. 
Taxis are usually expensive but another option nevertheless. A relatively recent development gaining increasing popularity are the car sharing service providers. All of these options make Germany one of the easiest countries to get around in. 
For long distance travel, there are enough airports and railway stations across the country. Road trips in Germany, famed for its excellent highways – the Autobahn, are a delight. You can drive either with your private vehicle or choose from one of the bus/coach services available. 

Transport in Germany: Local Transport

Ticket fares are fixed based on zones or travel time or both. The Streifenkarte (multi-ticket card), 4-Fahrtenkarte (ticket for 4 trips) or Tageskarte (day pass) work out cheaper (per trip) than a single-ride ticket. The tickets when bought from a ticket automat need to be validated/stamped before or upon boarding. For those staying here longer than a month the Umweltskarte/Monatskarte (monthly pass) makes a lot of sense. You can even choose to get an annual pass, which offers even better values. Ticketless travel is punishable by law and fined if caught. 

Bus & Tram
Bus networks in Germany are comprehensive and available at regular intervals. Sometimes there is limited service after a certain time in the evening. Some cities however have special night buses to fill that gap. 
Trams are a useful supplement and have the advantage of running on their own tracks and therefore being able to avoid city traffic. In city centres they sometimes operate underground. Some cities have the tram service only in certain districts of the city. 
Single ride tickets and day passes are available on most buses and trams.
The bigger metropolitan cities like Berlin and Munich have what is called the S-Bahn, a local train service that is fast and has wide connectivity. The S-Bahn lines are occasionally connected to the national railway network and link urban centres with one another. The pass (day/month/year etc.) is valid for this service. The various S-Bahn routes are named/numbered as follows – S5, S7, S41 etc. 

The underground trains in Germany are the fastest way to get around in bigger cities. All the U-Bahn stations normally have route maps displayed. You could also get printed route maps from the ticket offices. Like the S-Bahn, the U-Bahn routes are also numbered – U8, U9, U12 etc. and can be accessed with the same pass. The trains are more frequent during rush hour than at other times of the day. 
Tickets need to be bought before boarding the train (both S-Bahn & U-Bahn) and need to be validated before the start of the journey if they are bought from a vending machine. 

Given the well-functioning public transport system in Germany, you will rarely find yourself in the need for a taxi except under certain circumstances. Taxis are expensive and can often be slower than the trains if there is traffic congestion in the city. They are metered and the fare usually has two components – a base rate and a per kilometre price. The fare structure is fixed within a city but varies from city to city. There could be additional charges for luggage and extra night charges. 
It may be difficult stopping a running cab just anywhere. You would either need to walk to a taxi stand or arrange for one by phone (Taxiruf). Theatres, cinemas, big shopping centres and other busy, commercial centres in the city often have taxis waiting outside.  Today you could also just download one of the taxi apps (for example: Mytaxi) and order a cab using your Smartphone in most of the bigger cities. Cities like Düsseldorf, Munich, Frankfurt and Hamburg have the UberX app, connecting professionally licensed private drivers to passengers. The fare is usually less than regular taxi fares. UberTaxi is another app from Uber available only in Berlin that helps passengers find regular taxis.

For more informations about MyTaxi, please click here.
For more informations about UberX app, please click here.

Car Sharing
Car sharing services like DriveNow and Car2Go are widely used in several parts of Germany and give the user the flexibility to hop in and out of a car at their convenience. There is a one-time registration fee, a base fee for the first 30 minutes of usage, followed by a per-minute rate. There are special rates for parking, hourly usage and daily usage as well. The smartphone apps allow the user to locate and reserve the nearest car. You then pick it up, drive to your destination and drop it off/park it at a convenient spot, wherever you can.

For more informations about DriveNow, please click here.
For more informations about Car2Go, please click here.

Eco friendly and a hot favourite with most Germans, cycling is yet another means to get around a city. Cyclists must use the dedicated bicycle lanes wherever they exist and are recommended to wear helmets and ensure that it has appropriate lighting in the front (white) and the back (red) as well as on the wheels and pedals (yellow reflectors). 

Transport in Germany: Long Distance Travel

Air travel within and outside Germany is made easy by the large number of airports, both commercial/passenger and cargo spread across the country. There are also smaller airfields and airstrips used primarily for purposes of trade and general aviation. 
A majority of the commercial airports are international. The traffic in terms of passengers and outbound & inbound flights is of course significantly higher in places like Frankfurt or Munich than in the smaller airports in cities like Hannover. The larger airports offer well over a 100 different airlines connecting hundreds of destinations. 
Most commercial airports have both mainstream airlines as well as low cost airlines and some smaller ones even offer charter flights connecting popular summer holiday destinations. Several former military bases in Germany were later converted into commercial airports and the one at Hahn was among the first to offer low cost flights from budget airlines.  
Larger airports are often also connected by rail lines, with express intercity train services to major airports like Frankfurt, Düsseldorf, Cologne-Bonn and Stuttgart. 
Many airports in Germany have their own websites. Here are links to just a couple that you may like to access for further information:

For more informations about Frankfurt airport, please click here.
For more informations about Munich airport, please click here.
For more informations about Berlin airport (Berlin Tegel), please click here.
For more informations about Düsseldorf airport, please click here.

Security regulations are much the same everywhere including the ban on sharp objects and fluids in your hand/cabin luggage. Busy airports like Frankfurt or Munich, operating many transatlantic flights tend to have more stringent security checks. It is therefore recommended that passengers report well before departure especially at these airports. You are sure to find duty free shops, restaurants, car rental services, banks, post offices and medical facilities in most German airports. Most also have hotels within or adjacent to the airport compounds. 

The super-fast InterCity Express (ICE) trains operated by the Deutsche Bahn make it possible for passengers to shuttle across the country in high speeds. They link all major cities and are available every hour or 2 hours. Some ICE trains are international and have services to popular destinations like Switzerland, Belgium, France, Austria and Netherlands. 
Other trains with similar standards operating both within and outside the country are referred to as InterCity (IC) trains and EuroCity (EC) trains respectively. There are also sleeper trains with economy and deluxe compartments known as CityNightLine (CNL) trains that usually connect cities with major airports and arrive before the first flight of the day leaves. 
The trains are fast, clean, comfortable and offer special services for handicapped passengers or those travelling with infants. There are plug points for charging your devices if you should need to work on your laptop or smartphone. Prior reservation is recommended for all especially those who wish to avail of seats in the special handicapped or infant compartments. 
The pricing is competitive and you could choose from the following special offers to avail of discounts and attractive fares – Sparpreis (Saver Price), Group Discounts, Länder-Tickets (Federal State Tickets), Quer-durch-Land Ticket (One-day Unlimited Ticket), Schönes-Wochenende Ticket (Happy Weekend Ticket). There are also 3 Bahn cards – BahnCard 25, 50 & 100 that get you discounts and are usually valid for a year from the date of issue. All relevant details are available on the Deutsche Bahn website.

For more information about the Deutsche Bahn, please click here.

The Eurailpass or the German Rail pass (details available at are great ways for tourists to explore Europe and Germany. 

Bus/Coach Service & Ride-Share
If you are not driving yourself, but wouldn’t mind a ride across Germany’s renowned autobahn (federally controlled access highways) to get to your destination you could get yourself tickets for any one of these bus services that suit your needs:

There are these and several others that are becoming increasingly popular because of the extremely affordable ticket fares they offer. 
Another pocket-friendly and eco-friendly way of travelling is ride-shares. You can travel as a passenger in a private car by just sharing the fuel costs with the driver. You could just log into one of the following websites ...

... to connect with a driver headed to your desired destination or advertise a ride yourself and take interested passengers with you.