Munich's U-Bahn and S-Bahn
How to buy tickets and ride the trains
Munich Guide: Transportation
ABOVE: A U-Bahn train enters the Marienplatz
system, the MVV, has two rapid-transit
- The U-Bahn, which is an underground or subway system for the city
of Munich, with stations at or near such attractions as the Schwabing
district, the major parks, the BMW Museum, the
Allianz Arena, and the Oktoberfest
- The S-Bahn, which serves both Munich and its suburbs. S-Bahn
trains run between the city's two central railroad stations (the
Hauptbahnhof and the Ostbahnhof), serve outlying places of interest such as
the Dachau Concentration Camp Memorial, and provide
frequent transportation between the city and
The two systems are tightly integrated and use a common ticketing scheme. The
most obvious difference between the two is the color of the trains: U-Bahn
trains are blue and white; S-Bahn trains are red and white.
How to ride the U-Bahn and S-Bahn:
You can purchase tickets from a vending machine in any U-Bahn or S-Bahn
Tickets come in four basic types:
Einzelfahrkarten, or single-journey point-to-point tickets are
the most expensive. You can break your journey and use different modes
of transportation (e.g., S-Bahn, U-Bahn, and tram or bus) if you wish.
Within Munich, press "1" on the machine for a single zone; for longer
trips, you'll need to choose a ticket for the appropriate number of
zones. (See the explanatory text in the top left section of the
Streifenkarten, or stripe tickets, are cheaper than
single-journey tickets. They can be used for multiple trips, or by
several people at once. You validate one or more stripes per journey,
depending on your destination and the number of travelers sharing the
ticket. (Again, see the machine for instructions.)
Single-Tageskarten and Partner-Tageskarten, or single
and partner day tickets, allow unlimited transportation from the time
they're stamped until 6 a.m. the next day. You can buy them for
individuals or for a group of up to five people.
Finally, the CityTour Card comes in one-day and three-day
versions, for either the city proper or the entire Munich area. In
addition to unlimited public transportation, it entitles you to
discounts at many museums and other attractions.
||Validate your ticket or City
Use one of the blue time-stamping machines near the
station entrance. (If you travel with an unstamped ticket or card,
you'll be subject to a hefty fine.)
||Take the stairs, escalator, or
elevator to the train platform.
You won't need to insert your
ticket in a turnstile; once you've validated your ticket, you're on the
honor system (although you'll have to show your ticket to an inspector
||Check the electronic sign.
Signs above the platform indicate train numbers, destinations, and where
to stand on the platform for the train (look for the overhead sector
signs labeled A, B, C, and D).
||Board the train when it
If necessary, press the button on the doors to open
them, and let other passengers get off before you get on.
||Exit the train on
the left or right, depending on where the station platform is.
In a few
central locations, such as the Hauptbahnhof, there are two platforms:
you leave via the right-hand doors, and new passengers board through the
doors on the left.
||For more information
about Munich's U-Bahn, S-Bahn, trams, and buses, pick up a multilingual
Hin und Weg in München
brochure at the tourist office or visit the
MVV (Munich public transportation) Web site.
Munich Travel Guide: Transportation
S-Bahn train photo copyright © Tan Wei Ming.
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