The public transport system in Munich
The public transport system includes the S-Bahn, a fast train for the Munich city and suburb areas, as well as the subway (U-Bahn), the tram, busses and also bicycles. The companies that are in charge are the Deutsche Bahn for the S-Bahn, and the MVG for the others.
To start, the German system assumes that citizens fulfill their obligations and that they already have bought a ticket, when they enter the public transport. This system is 100% based on honesty, which means that there are no checkpoints or ticket control points at the entrances. You just have access to the transport. There are controls, however. The ticket controllers suddenly can step on any type of public transport, identify themselves showing you an ID and then ask you to show them your ticket. If you are caught without a valid ticket, you have to pay 60 Euros, besides the shameful moment when you are exposed in front of all the other passengers as a person that used the transport without paying. Please, don’t travel with a valid ticket. At every station (and also in the busses and trams), you can find ticket machines, another option is the MVG app.
The division of the city to buy a ticket.
The city area is divided into 4 zones, and into 16 rings.
The zone „Innenraum“ is the first zone and it is, where the city downtown and all central sites are located. In this zone, you will have to drive in the first 4 rings.
The zone „Außenraum“ is the green, yellow and pink zone on the maps in the station. The three colors together are called outer zone (Außenraum), zones 2, 3 and 4. (At the end of the text, you will find a link to the MVG map).
„Gesamtnetz“ is the whole system, meaning all the 4 zones and 16 rings.
If you want to know what kind of ticket you need, it is important to know where you are located, meaning that you have to know in which zone you are, and to which zone you are traveling. If you are going to the city center, you will reach the first ring. You also have to check on the validity and expiration date of your ticket. You can buy a ticket for one single trip, or you can buy a day-ticket, a three-day-ticket or a week-ticket, month-ticket or an annual ticket. The longer the period of your ticket, the cheaper it gets.
If you plan a longer stay or a permanent residence in Munich, the most comfortable way is getting an „IsarCard“ (normally the month-ticket), that you can buy also weekly, monthly or annually, choosing the number of rings you need.
If you travel only from time to time, the most practical option is a „Streifenkarte“. This is a serial ticket of ten points that you have to validate each time you get on a transport. If you use the MVG app you can also charge a money amount in order to pay, just like a „Streifenkarte“. A single trip for one zone, for example, are two spaces on a Streifenkarte you will have to validate.
For a group traveling ticket there exist interesting options, such as a „Gruppen-Tageskarte“, it is nice and cheaper for groups up to 5 people.
Validating your ticket.
The ticket has to state the ticket validity clearly, in German „Gültigkeit“ or „gültig“, depending on which ticket you buy, sometimes the tickets come out already validated („entwertet“), you should check on that before getting into a transport. Check if you ticket has the date of when you bought it after the phrase „Gültig am (date)“. If not, you have to validate the ticket on one of the blue stamping machines at every station, or inside busses and trams.
Texto and Photos by Alicia Enciso