As a rule buses run from the train stations to locations without a train station and to neighborhoods with numerous bus stops, which are identified through a distinctive sign. With an “H” like, “Haltestelle” (Stop), this character is mapped.


Bus Stop sign

Train tickets are also usually valid in the buses. Other passengers must present valid bus tickets to the bus driver. Dogs are charged at half price, just as children are. As a rule these buses always travel the same route within a certain time period: either each half hour or each hour, always stopping at the same stops, called “Linienverkehr” (Route). On weekends and in late night hours there is generally a restricted schedule. This type of bus travel is called the “Öffentlicher-Personen-Nahverkehr”, “ÖPNV” for short, in addition to the regional train network, the S-Bahnen (above ground trams), “U-Bahnen” (subways), and “Straßenbahnen” (light rail or streetcars).


S-Bahn sign


Subway sign

The ÖPNV is primarily a regional responsibility, organized around a large city with surrounding suburban locations included, the so called transport associations.

Find tickets for transport associations of Deutsche Bahn here. Subscriptions and Tickets in the Network.

The so-called “Stadtbusse” (city buses) are a new trend, which in many instances has resulted from initiatives undertaken by the local population. The buses travel to special bus stops within a city or town that are hard to reach on foot; or, they are either not served by the public bus lines or only infrequently served. The city buses are mostly small buses driven by volunteers. Due to the support of charitable contributors, the fare charged is only a nominal amount, usually only 1 Euro (1 €) per trip. There have always been private companies involved in bus transportation, specifically in long-distance travel. What’s new is that now private companies travel certain routes according to a regular schedule. As a rule they travel parallel to the train network with regular schedules and cover long distances, even across national borders, at considerably cheaper prices. Many of these private low-cost providers also operate buses. The best known is currently Flixbus.

Traveling in the local network area

For many years, individual vehicles (cars and some large trucks) were given priority: the road and street networks in and around the cities were greatly expanded. An “automobile-centered city” was the goal. Simultaneously public transportation was radically reduced, in particular the many local offshoot lines of the German Railways. This changed with the Oil Embargo of 1973, as the crude oil prices exploded and an environmental consciousness took hold. As a result public transportation was once more built up. Today’s Transportation Associations (often called Transportation Zones) were created as concentric circles surrounding the large cities. A new type of local train, the “S-Bahn” (above ground tram) was created. It is identified with abbreviations (S1, S2, S3, S4, etc.) and by the final stop. For example: “S1 nach Herrenberg” (S1 to Herrenberg) or “S1 nach Kirchheim/Teck” (S1 to Kirchheim/Teck). The S-Bahn trains carry electric motors, which can greatly accelerate. They make short stops on all stations on the line. The fare for a single ride ticket depends upon how many Zones are crossed, including the start and ending zones. The tickets must be bought and, if necessary, validated before entering the trains. Riding without a valid ticket carries a 60-Euro (60€) or even more fine. Other rules apply to the various Passes (Weekly, Monthly, Yearly). If delays and train cancellations exceed a certain limit, the train operator is obliged to pay compensation, e.g. a, taxi fare. Three children between the ages of 6 and 17 may accompany you, as well as any of your own children and one dog. Generally all tickets are considered valid within the association’s transit network for all modes of local public transportation: trains without an additional surcharge (for example, the Intercity, Intercity Express, and Eurocity Trains–IC, ICE, and EC–require a surcharge), S-Bahn, U-Bahn, Straßenbahn, and Bus.

Notice: S-Bahn trips generally feature no on-board personnel. Therefore, ticket checks seldom occur. Night trips increasingly expose you to the risk of harassment, personal danger, or even crimes against passengers. Women in particular should keep this in mind!