Getting around Frankfurt using public transport


Updated on Sep 10 • 4 minute read

Once you arrive in Frankfurt, it’s time to explore your new city! But how do you get around town when you’re new to the city? What’s the fastest way to get to work? Whether you've just moved to Frankfurt or are commuting to Frankfurt from another German city, it's good to familiarise yourself with the local public transport system.

Public transport in Frankfurt

Although owning a car is quite popular in Germany, most larger cities also have a stellar German public transport system. As a thriving business hub with one of the largest European airports, Frankfurt is no different! The 3 pillars of public transport in Frankfurt consist of the Train (S-Bahn), the underground metro system (U-Bahn), and the bus system.

Trains: the S-Bahn in Frankfurt

The Frankfurt public transport train system, also known as the S-Bahn Rhein-Main, is one of the major public transportation systems in the city. Frankfurt's S-Bahn has over 111 stations spread across 9 S-lines. And, with the exception of lines S8 and S9, every line of the S-Bahn has a connection to the city center! At the same time, lines 8 and 9 connect Frankfurt to its airport, bringing the millions of tourists, travelers, and expats into the metropolitan on the river Main.

Train frequency

On weekdays, the trains on the S-Bahn lines depart once every 10-15 minutes during rush hours. The wait-time increases slowly, up to every 30 min in the quiet hours. Going out to party on the weekend? No worries, the S-bahn has an excellent night service on the weekend with hourly trains that keep going deep into the night!

Subway: the U-Bahn in Frankfurt

An excellent alternative to the train system is the Frankfurt's U-Bahn or the underground metro network. Find one of the almost 90 U-bahn stations, hop on a metro and pop up again, close to your destination!

Various lines: U1-U9

They say all roads lead to eventually lead to Rome, but in Frankfurt, U-Bahn's lines eventually take you back to the city centre! So, there’s very little risk of actually getting lost as you can always get back to the U-Bahn station that connections to multiple (or even all) lines. The only exception to this is the U9 line, which is one of the newest, shortest lines; so far only servicing the north-side of the city.

Metro Frequency

Just like the S-Bahn, the departure frequency of Frankfurt's metro depends on what time and which day it is. Though, a general rule of thumb is that the lines are active between 3-4 AM up until 1-2 AM, so there’s about an hour’s worth of interruption in the lines’ service at night. Once they do start zooming around the city, wait time is usually around 10 minutes on high-traffic moments like in the morning. If you’re traveling with the U-Bahn on the weekend or during odd hours, your wait time will vary anywhere between 15 to 30 minutes.

Busses in Frankfurt

Where the trains and metro system are great for medium-to long range travel, Frankfurt's bus network is for those shorter trips. Walking from a train or metro station can still mean quite a distance, so when you need to get close to specific location in a hurry, Frankfurt's buses are there for you. Also, busses are a great way to get around in a pinch as you can still buy a ticket with the driver.

Bus frequency

Most buslines have a waiting time up to 25 minutes, with the more important lines departing more frequently. These arterial lines are also often still active in the night! So, if you don’t feel like waiting for the metro or train lines, you can always catch a bus for a dreamy ride through night-time Frankfurt.

Frankfurt public transport tickets for expats

When you’re moving to Frankfurt, no matter which neighbourhood is the best for you, it’s a good idea to come prepared! Thankfully the Frankfurt public transport system has tickets for any situation you might need.

You can get anything from a single ticket in a pinch, up to an annual subscription that can see you all the way through your shiny new expat contract. If you’re a student, there're even better deals available. You can get your tickets online and in advance through the RMV ticket shop.

Let’s start with some tips you can use both before you select your new home in Frankfurt and when you get to the city.


  • Google maps is your friend: There is one clever trick that makes finding your way around your new place a lot easier. When using the Google Maps app or website, you can use questions to quickly orient yourself based on an address or your current location. For example, you can look for ‘public transport near me’, and Google will show you all nearby stops! Additionally, you can also use this to scout the area when you're exploring homes for rent in Frankfurt by using queries like ‘grocery stores near me’ or ‘schools near me’ . Now you know which facilities are nearby or perhaps too far away for your liking!

  • Download the local transportation app: To plan your trip from door to door using the public transport system in Frankfurt, you can use the official RVM app or the third-party popular Öffi app (Reviews say the locals love this app!), making planning your travels easy in other German cities as well! This way, you always know which line, platform, or stop you’re going to need to get to your destination quickly!

  • Live close to the S-Bahn line: Whether you want to get to work quickly or make sure you get home safely after a night in the town, the S-Bahn will get you where you need to go. Most S-lines keep running until late in the night, though they will depart less frequently outside of rush hours. So make sure to check the timetables using the apps mentioned earlier. Living close to one of these stations means you could live in a more affordable neighbourhood in Frankfurt area, without compromising your time to commute!

In short

So, now you know what options you have to get around in Frankfurt. Let's summarise:

  • For longer trips between towns or districts: The S-bahn train line is your friend!
  • For medium- to long trips across Frankfurt itself: The U-bahn metro line is a great option to move around the metropolitan quickly.
  • Bad weather, or need to get close to a specific location? Hop on one of the many buses!

Couple this with a monthly or annual ticket for the lines your travel most and you're all set to get around in Frankfurt, even as an expat fresh from the airport!

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