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Transport in Germany

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Travelling from one region to another will definitely be part of your daily routine if you are moving to Germany. The country has an extensive public transport network from which you can choose according to your needs and your budget. Most German cities are well served and have their own public transport network, including trains, subways, trams, buses, taxis, etc. Note that carpooling is as common as car and bike rental across the country.

Travelling by air 

If you are on a business trip in Germany, aircraft will probably be the fastest and most convenient way to travel, whether you have to move from one city to another or to neighbouring countries. Most German cities such as Berlin, Munich, Hamburg, Frankfurt, Dusseldorf, Cologne, etc., have their own airport. You are likely to find several airline companies offering domestic, regional and international flights. Some of these companies also offer reduced rates during particular seasons, so make sure to compare prices before you purchase any tickets.

 Useful links:

Air Berlin www.airberlin.com
Condor www.condor.com
Fly Germania www.flygermania.de
Lufthansa www.lufthansa.com
Hahn Air www.hahnair.com

Travelling by train

You can make long trips across Germany by train, both during the day and night. There are different types of trains in the country and these are managed by the Deutsche Bahn. Among regional and intercity trains, you will find the Regional-Express, S-Bahn, InterCity, etc, which connect the major German cities and regions to one another. The InterCity also makes international routes. Moreover, high-speed trains such as the Railjet, Thalys, ICE, etc., connect major German cities to neighbouring countries such as France, Belgium, Austria and Hungary.

Note that German trains are quite punctual and comfortable. You can purchase your tickets at ticket machines which are located at train stations. You will receive monthly or annual discounts if you purchase the Bahn Card, Monatskarte or Jahreskarte, and anyone travelling with you will pay only half the ticket price on Saturday. In addition, up to three children under 15 years of age can travel free of charge with their parents or grandparents.

Check for regional ticket offers such as Schönes-Wochenende-Ticket or Länderticket, which are great opportunities to travel the country on a budget.

In bigger cities, you will not only find trains and a subway but also tramways, which link the various neighbourhoods.

 Good to know:

Travelling by train or metro without a ticket or Schwarzfahren leaves you a liable to a fine amounting to 60 euros.

 Important:

Many Germans commute or travel home to family for the weekend using trains. Deutsche Bahn doesn’t require seat reservations on ICE speed trains (as you would expect from TGV or Eurostar in France) and doesn’t stop selling train tickets even when overbooked. This often results in extremely packed trains on Fridays and a rather impatient attitude when getting on the train.

 Useful links:

Deutsche Bahn www.bahn.de
Inter Rail www.interrail.eu
Stuttgart Strassenbahnwelt www.ssb-ag.de
S-Bahn www.s-bahn-berlin.de
OAG www.bvg.de

Bus services in Germany

The bus is also one of the cheapest and most reliable means of transport in Germany. Some companies not only connect the various German cities and villages but also provide longer trips to neighbouring countries. You can even travel to French cities such as Paris, Marseille, Lyon and Toulouse via Brussels, which is the Belgian capital city.

Note that most German buses are quite regular and comfortable. Regarding tickets, you can purchase these at ticket vending machines, which are found at the station. Travel cards will entitle you to discounts.

Good to know:

Before 2013 public bus transport was restricted to regional areas and short distances. Since Deutsche Bahn lost its monopoly in 2013, many long distance bus lines have opened at very competitive prices. Given that travelling by bus ensures you a seat with possibly an internet connection, many young people prefer now travelling by the much cheaper bus.

 Useful links:

Berliner Verkehrsbetriebe www.bvg.de
Berlin Linien Bus www.berlinlinienbus.de
Euro Lines www.eurolines.de
Flixbus www.flixbus.com/

Taxi in Germany

You are likely to find taxis in most major German cities. To stop a taxi, you just have to wave to it in the street. But advance booking by phone or on their company's website is also possible. In general, rates are fixed in advance by local transport authorities. Hence, taxis are equipped with a meter. In smaller towns, rates can be negotiated with the driver.

As public transport is so well developed in Germany, taxis generally tend to be used less frequently by the public than in some other European countries. This may vary depending on the region’s pricing and availability.

 Important:

Germany has set up a safe taxi system for women which is known as the Frauen-Taxi. This system aims at making women feel safe to travel alone at night. The Frauen-Taxi is available as from 21hr and rates are equal to those of buses.

 Useful links:

Taxilo talixo.de
City Funk www.cityfunk.de
Taxi Funk Berlin www.taxifunkberlin.de
Taxi Muenchen www.taxi-muenchen.com
Taxi Frankfurt www.taxi-frankfurt.de

 Good to know:

If you wish to explore Frankfurt in an unusual way, you can also try the "velotaxi" which is a sort of bike-taxi. It is considered to be an eco-friendly means of transport, ideal for tourists.

Renting a car in Germany

If you have a valid driver's license, you can also consider renting a car. You can find car rental agencies all over major German cities as well as in airports. To rent a car, you will have to produce your driver's licence, your identity card and a payment card. Make sure to also enquire about road traffic regulations, classifications and on speed limits beforehand.

 Useful links:

Rental Cars www.rentalcars.com
EuropCar www.europcar.com
Sixt www.sixt.com
Hertz www.hertz.com
Avis www.avis.com

Carsharing and carpooling

Car sharing or Mitfahrgelegenheit has been a widespread practice in Germany for many years in an effort to share costs and reduce the effects of environmental pollution. What started off at university student pin boards to help students share their travel costs, has morphed into huge car sharing agencies like BlaBlaCar that are available in most major German cities. BlaBlaCar bought the market leaders Mitfahrgelegenheit and Mitfahrzentrale in 2015.

Carpooling is also getting more and more popular with car manufacturers, launching their apps and stations, for example, car2go by Daimler or DriveNow by BMW.

 Good to know:

When contacting drivers or passengers to arrange a lift, you’re not obliged to arrange payment in advance. Be aware that some people may try to make a profit and invite 4 passengers in the smallest cars to cover 8h trips.

  Useful links:

BlaBlaCar www.blablacar.de
Car sharing www.carsharing-news.de

Cycling in Germany

Cycling is another practical an eco-friendly means of transport in Germany, like in many big European cities. You are likely to see cyclists everywhere in some cities and cycling tracks have been specially designed so as to facilitate access to some regions. If you do not wish to buy a bike, you can still find bike rental agencies in all major cities.

Many cities also offer local bike sharing networks. Deutsch Bahn is also offering bike sharing as well as carpooling.

  Useful link:

Bahn - Bike www.bahn.com

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