Getting around: Public transport in Frankfurt

Bas

Updated on Sep 10 • 4 minute read

Once you arrive in ‘the Manhattan on the Main’ , you arrive at your new HousingAnywhere place, inspect your new palace away from home, and then it’s time to explore your new city! But how do you get around town when you’ve done groceries? What’s the fastest way to get to work? So let’s start with some tips you can use both before you select your new place and when you get to the city.

Tips

  • Google maps is your friend: I don’t think I need to introduce Google maps, but 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 deciding whether to book your new home by using queries like ‘grocery stores near me’ or ‘schools near ’ . 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 deep 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 area, without compromising your time to commute!

The System

Although car ownership is quite popular in Germany, most larger Germany cities also have a stellar public transport system. As a thriving business hub with a nearby Airport, Frankfurt is no different! The three 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

The Frankfurt train system, also known as the S-Bahn Rhein-Main, is one of the major public transportation landlines for the city. It has over 111 stations spread across 9 S-lines. And, with the exception of lines S8 and S9, pretty every line has a connection to the city center! At the same time, lines 8 and 9 connect Frankfurt to its airport, bringing all the millions of tourists, travelers, and business people 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

An excellent alternative to the train system is the city’s equally sprawling underground metro network. Find one of the almost 90 U-bahn stations, hop on a metro and pop up again, close to your destination! If you’ve ever lived in a metropolitan area, you know exactly how the metro is the beating heart of a city’s transportation system.

Various lines: U1-U9

They say all roads lead to eventually lead to Rome, but in Frankfurt, all metro 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 a station that connections to multiple (or even all) lines, to get you where you actuallywanted to go. The only exception to this is the U9 line, which is one of the newest, shortest lines, so far only servicing the nort-side of the city.

Metro Frequency

Just like the Trains in Frankfurt, the departure frequency 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 th lines’ service at night. Once they do start zooming around the city, wait time are usually around 10 minutes on high-traffic moments like in the morning. If you’re traveling on the weekend or during odd hours, your wait time will vary anywhere between 15 to 30 minutes.

Busses

Where the trains and metro system are great for medium- to long range travel, moving from one section of the city to another, the city also has a bus network 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, the bus is 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. Great if you’re minding your own business around town and suddenly the weather takes a turn for the worse!

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. Showing up on-time is important in Germany! If you’re a student, there are even better deals available. You can get your tickets online and in advance through the RMV ticket shop!

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 an 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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