How to use Munich's public transport System

As a tourist from abroad, you will usually have no car with you.
Trust me, you don't need a car to see the fascinating city of Munich. There is a really good public transport system.

Compared to the size and the number of inhabitants (approx. 1,5 Million people) Munich has a very extensive public transport system, consisting of commuter trains, subways, tramways and buses serving more than 710 Million people per year in an area of 5.500 square kilometres (2.123 square miles).

The network consists of 617 kilometres (383 miles) of train tracks, about 500 kilometres (310 miles) of bus lines in the city area and another 4.800 kilometres (2.982 miles) of bus lines in the greater Munich area. Impressive, isn’t it? Here I will tell you how to use the public transport system in Munich, how to buy tickets and the pro’s and con’s of Munichs public transport system.

Understandig the different types of transport in Munich

The most confusing especially for first time visitor is understanding the different types of public transport in Munich. Again: There are commuter trains, subways, tramways and buses. The most impressive and suitable for masses of people are on the one hand the commuter trains called “S-Bahn” (spoken like “ace-bun”) and on the other hand the subway called “U-Bahn” (spoken “oooh-bun”). You might have guessed it, the signs for the S-Bahn and U-Bahn are a big U and a big S. The U-Bahn sign is a white “U” on blue ground and the S-Bahn sign is a white “S” on green ground. While the U-sign is always a square, the S-sign is always round. But there is more to learn about the different public transportation options in Munich:

Munich subway train interior

The Munich U-Bahn (subway) quick facts

The Munich subway system was (like the S-Bahn) introduced in 1972 for the XX. Olympic Games. Today, the Munich subway system is the fastest way to get to different districts, especially during rush hour, when most streets are congested. Here are some facts about the Munich U-Bahn:

The Munich S-Bahn (urban rail) quick facts

The S-Bahn was introduced in 1972 for the XX. Olympic Games and replaced the old commuter trains to the suburbs. Until today the S-Bahn is the most frequently used public transport system as it carries thousands of commuters from home to work and back. It also brings people from the greater Munich area to the city center in a quite short time. Here are some facts about the Munich S-Bahn:

The Munich tramway system quick facts

The tramway (local dialect: "Tram") in Munich is the oldest public transport system. Munich got its first horsecar - "Tram" in 1876. Electric tramways were introduced around 1900. Until the Second World War, Munich had a quite extensive tramway system consisting of 28 lines. Here are some facts about the Munich tramway system:

The Munich bus system quick facts

When there were the technical possibilities to use motrized vehicles to transport a bunch of people, soon buslines were introduced - also in Munich:

Don't get confused by different company signs

As a tourist you might be confused using the S-Bahn, U-Bahn, tramways and buses in and around Munich, as more than fifty companies run them. You might think there are different tariff systems and different prices, but no – you don’t have to think about the company structures behind the public transport system in Munich. Actually it’s easy as pie.
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