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Public Transit in the Rhein-Main Region

It's taken a while to figure out the public transit in Mainz, and how to make the most of a ticket, so here is what I've learned...

Our transit system has it's own app - the MVG Mainz app - but I find the RMV app (beyond the Mainz/ Wiesbaden region) far more comprehensive and easy to use.

I've also recently started using the RMV Smart app - in beta since Oct '17, and a great way to purchase tickets online with demand-based pricing. With it, users can pay 5 euros for a month (does not automatically renew), for the right to a 50% discount on all of tickets that month. Although right now you can only buy one-way tickets, the prices are based on demand - so you can save a bit traveling during off-peak hours, or just from city centre- city centre. Tickets bought through the app are valid for an hour and a half.

Now for the paper ticket stuff. In Mainz, as in every city, there are a million different options for ticketing . It can be tricky to figure out the right one - I used to just buy a one-way ticket and pay far more than I needed to. Depending on how far and how frequently you travel, as well as your age, you have several options to save a bit of cash.

  • Sammelkarten: At ticketing kiosks, you can buy a pack of 5 one-way tickets for a reduced price. You must stamp them upon entry of a bus or tram, and they're only valid in a single direction or travel. 
  • Tageskarte: Usually for less than the price of 3 one-way tickets, you can buy a day ticket for the right to travel all day / until a very late hour in the night. Many people give these away on a local Free Your Stuff facebook group in the afternoon - you might even be able to snag one for free!
  • Kurzstrecke: On a tram or bus, you can buy a 'short trip' ticket. Ask the bus driver how many stops this allows you (usually 1-2) to take. 
  • Einzelfahrkarte: You can pay full price for a one-way ticket on boarding, but I recommend avoiding this whenever possible. 
  • Wochen- / Monats- / Jahreskarte: You can buy week / month / year tickets. The year option, when paid upfront, allows you 2 months of free travel within the network, plus the convenience factor of having a permanent ticket in your wallet. It's by far the best deal, and there are often reduced prices for seniors or students. (In Mainz, seniors can also get a reduced-price monthly ticket- great for visiting family members). You can also take a buddy for free in the evenings (after 7 pm) and weekends. We have spent many a Sunday riding the trams into town to pass time and eat ice cream, thanks to my year pass. 
Generally, transit prices go up effective either Jan 1 or Feb 1. No matter what your ticket method of choice is, it's never a bad idea to stock up on sammelkarten before the fare change goes in. Next up: regional travel and the endless options on Deutsche Bahn...


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