Thursday, March 26, 2015

Travel by Train in the HENhaus Area

I, personally, find train tickets here confusing, and more so with the changes to the VGN service area in 2015. Here are the basics of train travel in between cities/towns in the area (and my most frequently bought tickets). Links to monthly passes, etc. can be found on the DB and VGN websites.

Prices are valid as of March 2015.

VGN
Photo:vgn.de


VGN (link in English) is the greater Nürnberg area transportation system. This includes local buses, trains, subways. The area (shown here) is quite large and includes Bamberg, Bayreuth, Ansbach and many other cities as well as Nürnberg, Erlangen, Herzo, Fürth, etc.

Traveling for the day?

While you can obviously purchase a round trip ticket to whatever your destination is- if within the VGN area you might get a better deal purchasing a "Tages Ticket Plus". The Tages Ticket Plus (at full cost €18) allows you (and up to 6 people- max. 2 adults, or bikes instead of people, plus one dog) to travel the ENTIRE VGN area all day until the last bus/train or 3am on all REGIONAL transportation. Regional transportation includes RE and S trains, Ubahns, local buses, trams/streetcars. NOTE this does NOT cover high speed (IC or ICE) trains, and is only valid for 2nd class.

The Tages Ticket Plus is also available for shorter distances (which costs less). Please see here for costs (note the "check your price level") link. It is also available as a "solo" option for those traveling alone.

TIP: In 2015 it appears they have made it harder to purchase these tickets. Rather than finding them at the machine under Tages Ticket Plus (which will only give you the "full" €18 option, select your destination and then select Tages Ticket Plus)

TIP: If you buy the ticket for Saturday travel, it is also good for Sunday. That means a family of 5 (2 adults and 3 children) can travel the entire VGN area the entire weekend for €18.

TIP: This ticket (or the 10 strip ticket with the same price) allow you all kinds of discounts at local attractions, museums, etc. Please see here (in German) for all participating venues. Discounts are around the €1 or 10% range.

- Late night plans in Erlangen/Fürth/Nürnberg vicinity???? Between 1am and 4am on Friday and Saturday nights (as well as the nights before public holidays) the Night Liner buses are available. Extra services to insure your safety at that time of night include stops in between stops when requested, and the bus driver will even call a taxi for you to pick you up at a stop and bring you to your door. More information on this in English here. Nightliner tickets are included on your VGN all day ticket.

- You are able to purchase tickets, see timetables, etc. through one of VGN´s various apps.

DB           
Photo: http://commons.wikimedia.org/
wiki/File:Deutsche_Bahn_AG-Logo.svg

Deutsche Bahn runs trains all over Germany.

- All Federal Lands have their own special land-wide tickets. In the HENhaus area, it´s the Bayern ticket. Tickets are €23 for one person and an additional €5 each for up to 4 additional persons (total 5 people on one ticket). With this ticket you can travel all around Bavaria, and even to Salzburg, Austria from 9am - 3am in one day. This ticket includes all regional trains, U-Bahn, trams, and local buses.

- If you are traveling within 50km, you can choose the Franken Hopper ticket. For €10 you can travel back and forth to your destination (from 9am to 3am the next morning). See here for the eligible train lines. Information on the DB site is only in German, see here.

- Traveling around Germany with a group this weekend? The Schönes Wochenende Ticket from Deutsche Bahn allows up to 5 people (first at €40 next four at €4 each. max total €56) to travel all over Germany and even bordering areas of Poland (on regional trains, again, NOT IC/ICE) for the entire weekend. See link for terms. During the week, try the Quer Durschs Land ticket. More day tickets from DB here.

- DB also has several apps which are useful, and sometimes tickets purchased in-app come at a discount.

TIP: If you get your ticket at the ticket counter (via an actual employee, rather than a computer or machine) you will be charged an additional €2.

TIP: DB employees are not able to advise on VGN products. Sometimes they will sell you a €23 Bayern Ticket when an €18 VGN ticket would have worked.


2015 changes I have noticed:

- VGN increased their coverage zone. Destinations such as Burgkunstadt that used to be eligible for a Franken Hopper ticket (DB product) now are served by VGN and therefore a Tages Ticket Plus must be purchased.

- Agilis has increased coverage. When traveling between Erlangen and Bamberg for example, there are now some trains that stop in Forchheim and one must change trains.

***Have you noticed any other changes to local train travel for 2015?? Have any other tips??? Leave a comment below!***

Not sure what the difference between an RE and an S.Bahn is? Check here for a glossary of German train related terms from the German Way.

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