Public Transport in Hamburg

Covering an area of more than 755 square kilometers, it’s not surprising that the busy city of Hamburg has developed one of the most modern systems of mass public transportation in the world.

Public transport in Hamburg consists of a network of buses, S-Bahn subways, and trams owned by the city that serves its residents with an efficient method of traversing the city each day on their way to work and back to their houses.

Hamburg has been a pioneer city in terms of transport integration since the 1960’s, and thanks to that it is easy to commute between several lines and different transportation mediums without having to buy multiple tickets, and even to buy personalized tickets for you and save money by getting longer duration tickets.

Newly arrived expats and tourists usually don’t have all the information of how to get the best of public transport in Hamburg, that’s why we gathered the information about the best transport options, routes, and the special deals this companies offer so that you can travel around this great city quickly and comfortably, and saving some money while you’re at it.

One Ticket – One Timetable

In charge of this massive network of over 10,500 bus, bahn, and rail stations, is the Hamburg Transport Association or HVV.

Created in 1965, the HVV coordinates public transport in the city, providing a unified fare system for public transportation companies, setting timetables for the bahns and bus routes, and allowing passengers to commute between different transport systems and routes without having to buy new tickets.

The HVV pioneered public transportation integration in the world and allowed the city to speed-up its timetables, and the system user’s to save time and money each day solving the old pedestrian nightmare of having to buy multiple train tickets, and keeping change in his pocket to pay the bus fare.

Different Options for every Need

Hamburg has a large public transportation network that crisscrosses the city and offers multiple options where to choose from. Whether you want to cross the city in a hurry or with style there are many diferent transportations options available to you.

Those who will travel short distances will generally prefer to take the bus and the tram, both of which have plenty of stops and are always rigidly on time.

You could also rent a bike in one of the many bike borrowing stations, or take a ferry if you need to cross the Elbe River. But the real backbone of the system is their efficient rapid transit rail transport system.

Hamburg’s Railroad System

The backbone of Hamburg’s successful public transport system is made up by the urban and sub-urban routes of the Bahn rapid transit subways.

With four U-Bahn underground lines, six S-Bahn suburban lines, plus nine regional rail lines that connect to the city, this comprehensive rail system works day and night, and is the best option for traversing the city quickly and cheaply.

Thanks to the wide network of buses and trams that link with its stations it is easy to commute to bus routes that will take you exactly where you want to go.

Special prices

The HVV offers different ticket options according to the travelers needs. Those who use the public transport system regularly on their way to work or study can benefit from buying special monthly tickets which gives them access to every bus, rail, and even ferry routes in the city, without the need to be buying new tickets every time they commute and saving over 20% of their regular transportation expenses.

These tickets can be bought at your convenience on any HVV ticket vending machine, as well as buses, or the HVV Bahn stations. These tickets can also be bought for a group of people, whether it is your family or friends, and by doing so it helps you reduce the time you expend buying the tickets and offers an additional discount for the ticket.

Hamburg CARD

The Hamburg CARD is an ideal ticket option for tourists since it entitles the owner to travel through the city’s bus, rail, and ferry routes free of any charge.

That’s right, acquiring this card allows you to move freely through the city without having to pay any fare, but not only that, you also get discounts at city tours, tourist attractions, theatres, museums, restaurants, and even souvenir shops.

The card can last a single day or up to five depending on how long you want to use it, and it can cost as low as 9.50 Euros for the single ticket and 16.50 for the group ticket.

The Card can be valid for a single person or a group of people depending of the one you buy, and its very cheap considering all the money you save with it. The single Hamburg CARD is valid for a single person and up to tree children under 15 years of age, and the group Hamburg CARD allows you to pay for a group of five people of any age.

If you want to have the benefits of the Hamburg CARD for a larger group you can have a special Card made just for you by contacting Hamburg’s Tourism Information Office.

Hamburg on a Bike

Lastly, if you’re the kind of person who likes to enjoy the freedom that cycling through the city gives you, Hamburg possesses an extensive cycling path system with over 1,700 km of bicycle lanes in good conditions where you can travel with your bike safe from cars and trams.

Better yet, the city’s bicycle sharing system allows you to easily borrow a bike from their stocks by simply renting one in any of their 123 stations that are spread out through the city.

You can use this service by renting them directly in one of their stations, the first half hour of using the bike is free and after that you only pay a few cents per minute, and when you are done pedaling through Hamburg streets you can simply leave the bike off in any other of StadtRAD Hamburg stations.

The StadtRAD Hamburg project has existed since 2009 and has been enormously successful in attracting both residents and tourists who are tired of the busy transport or traffic while driving through the city’s center.