In Public Transport

A guide to the public transport in Stuttgart

A guide to public transport in Stuttgart

Stuttgart has a very reliable public transport system that consists of commuter trains, light rail or trams, buses, a cog railway and a cable car. However, all the different lines and ticket options might confuse newcomers at the beginning. That’s why I put together this short guide to public transport in Stuttgart. [This article contains non-paid advertisement as I point out the services of VVS Stuttgart]

Public transport in Stuttgart – the different means of transportation

Let’s talk about the different means of transportation we have available here in Stuttgart:

U-Bahn in Stuttgart

Public transport in Stuttgart: U Bahn

The U-Bahn is known by different names:  It is also called “Stadtbahn” or “Strassenbahn” (which translates to “lightrail” or “tram”) – but never “underground” or “subway train” – even though there is a “U” in it’s title and on the sign. I know, that is that this is initially a bit confusing.

How do I recognize the U-Bahn in Stuttgart?

The U-Bahn uses yellow cars and it runs mainly within the city borders and some of the surrounding areas. Just look for the blue signs with a white “U” in order to find its stations.

U Bahn Stuttgart: ticket machine and sign

Where do I buy a ticket when I take the U-Bahn?

You have to buy your ticket before you enter the light rail at the ticket machine at the respective station. If you buy a single ticket, you don’t need to validate it. If you buy a ticket for four trips you have to validate it for each trip. You can do so inside the tram using the yellow machines adjacent to the carriage doors.

Is there a special ticket for short trips?

Yes, there is. If you intend to travel no more than three stops by light rail you can also buy a short-trip ticket (named Kurzstrecke in German).

S-Bahn in Stuttgart

Public transport in Stuttgart: S Bahn

The S-Bahn is our commuter train. It runs longer distances than the U-Bahn and connects cities like Esslingen, Bietigheim-Bissingen, Herrenberg, Filderstadt and other towns to Stuttgart.

How do I recognize the S-Bahn in Stuttgart?

The S-Bahn uses red carriages and the sign shows a green “S” on white background.

S Bahn in Stuttgart: ticket machine and sign

Where do I buy a ticket when I take the S-Bahn?

You have to buy your ticket before you enter the S-Bahn at the ticket machine at the respective station. You can select a language by pressing the appropriate national flag. If you buy a single ticket, you don’t need to validate it. If you buy a ticket for four trips you have to validate it. However, you can’t validate it inside  the S-Bahn, you have to use the machines at the station. They are often located on the platform or next to the stairs.

Is there a special ticket for short trips?

Yes, there is. If you intend to travel only one stop by S-Bahn you can also buy a short-trip ticket (named Kurzstrecke in German).

Buses in Stuttgart

Public transport in Stuttgart: Bus

Buses in Stuttgart connect short distances and are very reliable as well. Of course, they are more vulnerable to traffic because they share the road with cars and bikes. But in general and if there’s no major accident, they are mostly on time. Make sure you enter the bus at the front and show your ticket to the driver.

Bus sign in StuttgartHow do I recognize buses in Stuttgart?

Buses are yellow and the sign shows a green circle with a green “H” (for “Haltestelle”/”stop”) on a yellow background.

Where do I buy a ticket when I take a bus?

You can buy your ticket at the ticket machine at the respective stop where available or directly from the bus driver. If you prefer the driver, make sure you pay in coins and not in big notes. If you have a ticket that needs to be validated you can use the yellow machines in the bus.

Is there a special ticket for short trips?

Yes, there is. If you intend to travel no more than three stops by bus you can also buy a short-trip ticket (named Kurzstrecke in German).

Public transport in Stuttgart – the different zones and ticket options

You must have a valid ticket in order to use trains and buses. If you travel without a valid ticket, you will be fined 60 Euros. Travelling without a valid ticket may lead to charges filed against you. Children under the age of 6 travel free.

Please note that with April 1, 2019 a new price and zone system was introduces by VVS: using public transport in Stuttgart got cheaper and easier for most of us. For more information please visit my post New prices for public transport in Stuttgart

Selecting the right zone

Since April 1, 2019 you only need a ticket for 1 zone if you are travelling within the city of Stuttgart.

If you are travelling for a longer distance, you need to buy a ticket for as many zones as you are passing through – including the zone from where you start your trip and your destination zone.

This map might help you. On the left you can see the old zone system that was in place before April 1, 2019. On the right you can see the new zones.

vvs zones new prices for public transport in stuttgart

 

Ticket options

Public transport in Stuttgart: ticket options

You have different ticket options when you take public transport in Stuttgart. No matter what ticket you buy, always make sure you have selected the right number of zones.

If you intend to travel no more than three stops by bus or light rail (or one stop by S-Bahn), you can also buy a short-trip ticket/Kurzstreckenticket.

If you only want to travel into one direction, a single ticket/Einzelticket might be your choice. It is valid for three hours and you are allowed to change trains if you’re still going into the same direction.

If you don’t want to buy a single ticket every time you take the bus or train, you can purchase a ticket that is valid  for four separate trips/4er-Karte. Each trip is valid for three hours and you are allowed to change trains (traveling in the same direction) but not go back or take a round-trip. You have to validate the ticket each time before you start your trip. Either on the machine at the station (S-Bahn) or inside a bus or U-Bahn.

If you plan to travel a lot in one day you should consider a day-ticket/Tagesticket. It is valid from the moment you buy it until 7 am the next day. A day-ticket is only valid for one person.

If you’re traveling with a group you might want to buy a day-ticket for a group/Gruppentagesticket. It is also valid from the moment you buy it until 7 am the next day. You can take up to five people on this ticket (a bike or a dog counts as one person). Moreover, families can make use of this ticket, as it is also valid for parents and all of their children up to 17 years of age.

If you make use of public transport in Stuttgart on a regular basis you should consider getting an “Abo”. You can choose from many different options:

  • there are monthly or annually “Abos” for students and seniors (e.g. “ScoolAbo”, “Studiticket”, “Seniorenticket”…)
  • the monthly or annually 9-AM-EnvironmentalTicket (“9-Uhr-Umweltticket”)
  • the annual company ticket (“Firmenticket”)
  • the monthly or annually ticket for everybody (“Jedermannticket”)

Fun fact: You can buy tickets right on your mobile phone. Whether you’re interested in single tickets (including short-trip tickets), day, weekly or monthly tickets, or 9-AM-EnvironmentalTickets – get your “HandyTicket” easily, conveniently and cashless on your mobile phone – and you get a discounted price compared with tickets bought at a ticket machine!

You will receive the “HandyTicket” via the VVS app or HandyTicket app. Download the apps free via the App Store, Google Play Store or Windows Phone Store.

Public transport in Stuttgart – dogs and bikes

Public transport in Stuttgart: dogs and bikes
Picture credit: canva.com

Police dogs, guide dogs and small dogs in transport boxes travel for free. All other dogs are also allowed to take  public transport in Stuttgart,  but you have to buy a child ticket for them. If you’re travelling with a group and have purchased the day-ticket for groups, the dog counts as one of the five people you can take on this ticket.

You are allowed to take your bike (including e-bike) with you for free when you take the S- or U-Bahn in Stuttgart. However, limitations apply for the following timeframes:

  • If you take the S-Bahn during rush-hour between 6 and 9 am on weekdays, you have to buy a child ticket for your bike.
  • You are not allowed to take your bike with you into a U-Bahn between 6 and 8:30 am and 4 and 6:30 pm.

The cog railway, that commutes between Marienplatz and Degerloch, offers a designated platform outside the railway where you can lock your bike and take it with you uphill. This service is free throughout the whole day.

Bikes are not allowed on buses in Stuttgart.

Please note: I have written this post in February 2018 and updated it in March 2019 to my best knowledge. But things can change. If you have any questions conserning prices, zones and ticket options, please turn to the contact points mentioned blow.

More information:

For more information – and an online journey planner, visit:

vvs.de

If you have specific questions you may visit:

VVS-Infothek
Königstraße 1 A
70173 Stuttgart
Phone: 0711 19449

Opening hours:
Mo – Fr 9 a.m. – 6.30 p.m.
Sa 9 a.m. – 4 p.m.

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Mellivinginstuttgart

Hello and welcome to "living in Stuttgart". I am Mel and I love this beautiful city. There are so many things to explore, I can't wait sharing them with you. So come along and let me show you Stuttgart the way I see it.

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22 Comments

  1. Jude
    1 year ago

    Hello,

    thank you for this very informative post!
    But I think one can take the Bike on the S-Bahn for free on Friday as well!
    Please correct me if I am mistaken!

    greetings

    Reply
    1. Mellivinginstuttgart
      1 year ago

      Hi Jude, fridays count as normal weekdays. However, I had a typo: you have to buy a child ticket for your bike in the S-Bahn during MORNING rush hour (6-9 AM).

      Reply
  2. Aditya
    1 year ago

    Hi, Thanks for the post. Quick question. I have a monthly ticket from Gerlingen to Feuerbach. If I want a group ticket on a Saturday for the same route (so that I can take my family along) will there be a discount?

    Reply
    1. Mellivinginstuttgart
      1 year ago

      Hi there 🙂 I don’t think you get a discount for group tickets. I’ve read that when you have a “ticket Plus” you are allowed to take one adult and three kids or all of your own kids with you for free on the weekend. But that is only the case if you have the “Plus” version of a Abo (more about that in German here: https://www.ssb-ag.de/tickets/abos-fuer-vielfahrer/jedermann-aboplus/) To be on the safe side I would call them or go to the service center at Hauptbahnhof and ask.

      Reply
  3. Suraj
    1 year ago

    How much a monthly ticket would cost from Stuttgart-mitte to Bietigheim-Bissngen by S-Bahn? Where Can I buy it online for my monthly pass?
    Any information on this is appreciated.

    Reply
    1. Mellivinginstuttgart
      1 year ago

      Hi Suraj,
      Stuttgart to Bietigheim-Bissingen should be 4 zones, you would pass zones 10, 20, 34 and 45.
      You can order a monthly or annual pass (in German “Abo”) here: https://www.vvs.de/rundum-mobil/polygocard/polygocard-abo-online-ueber-die-db-bestellen/ or you visit the VVS office in person:
      VVS-Infothek
      Königstraße 1 A
      70173 Stuttgart
      Phone: 0711 19449

      Opening hours:
      Mo – Fr 9 a.m. – 6.30 p.m.
      Sa 9 a.m. – 4 p.m.

      Reply
  4. Christmas Markets in and around Stuttgart - Living in Stuttgart
    11 months ago

    […] as choirs are performing daily on the stairs in front of the city hall. Tip from a local: Take the public transport to get to Stuttgart Christmas Market! The U-Bahn stations Schlossplatz, Charlottenplatz and Rathaus […]

    Reply
  5. Dom
    11 months ago

    Hello,

    First, thank you for this well-written post.
    I was wondering what are the opening hours for the U-Bahn? Especially on the week-end. Do they run all night or later than during weekdays?

    Reply
    1. Mellivinginstuttgart
      11 months ago

      Hi Dom, thank you very much 🙂
      Unfortunately the U-Bahn doesn’t have another timetable for weekends. Only the S-Bahn runs throughout the whole night on fridays and saturdays.
      The U-Bahn usually starts around 4 something am in the morning and runs until 1 something at night. Of course the exact times depend on which U-Bahn you want to take and on which station you get on.
      All the best
      Mel

      Reply
  6. New prices for public transport in Stuttgart! - Living in Stuttgart
    8 months ago

    […] more information about public transport in Stuttgart in general […]

    Reply
  7. Kumar
    6 months ago

    Hello All,
    I’m new to Germany. I landed here 3 weeks back. i’m in stuttgart and I purchased a vvs monthly pass for zone 1. today (saturday 11th may) I traveled by S BARN and I took a wrong train which i noticed little late and got down at kornwestheim. when i took a train back to my destination, a ticket checker asked for the ticket and i show him. then he said from next station zone 1 starts and this station comes in zone 2. so he gave me a fine slip which costs 60 E. Is there any way to get help as i did this by mistake. any suggestion will be helpful

    Thank you in advance
    Kumar

    Reply
    1. Mellivinginstuttgart
      6 months ago

      Hi Kumar,
      oh I am sorry that this happened to you. The problem with your situation is that most people tell the ticket checker that they have simply forgotten to buy a ticket or didn’t know about the different zones – even if it’s not true. So they are usually very strickt and won’t let you out of it. But you can definitely try it, maybe they understand. There is an online form you can fill out, you’ll find it here: https://www.db-fahrpreisnacherhebung.de/kontakte/kontaktformular/
      I wish you all the best of luck!
      Yours Mel

      Reply
  8. Simon
    6 months ago

    Hello! Thank you for the useful information!

    Im in Stuttgart for about two months visiting my partner, and I purchased a monthly u-Bahn ticket for zone1. Does The monthly tickets also cover the bus system or only the u-Bahn? And does it cover anything else beyond that?

    Thanks in advance.

    Reply
    1. Mellivinginstuttgart
      6 months ago

      Hi Simon,
      I assume you’ve bought the Monatsticket Jedermann, right? https://www.fahrkartenshop2-bahn.de/openshop-web/desktop/configuration.xhtml?orderItemIndex=0&prodSymName=monat_kat
      With this ticket you can make use of the U-Bahn, the S-Bahn and the buses in zone 1.
      Moreover you can also use the Zahnradbahn that leads from Marienplatz up to Degerloch and the Seilbahn from Heslach to Waldfriedhof.
      Have a great time in Stuttgart!

      Reply
  9. Flore
    5 months ago

    Hi, thank you for the information. I don’t want to buy a monthly ticket as I don’t use it very often. Is there such a weekend ticket for travelling around the city? Thanks in advance.

    Reply
    1. Mellivinginstuttgart
      5 months ago

      Hi Flore,
      thank you for your nice feedback 🙂
      Unfortunately no, there is no weekend ticket. The only thing you could do is buy two dayly tickets for Saturday and Sunday -or simply regular tickets of course.
      Have fun exploring Stuttgart!
      Mel

      Reply
  10. Samantha Munro
    5 months ago

    Hi Mel, Thank you for the information. Maybe you could help, I have a monthly ticket for zone 1 and I would like to go into zone 2 just for one return trip. Do I need to buy a new ticket that includes zone 1 and zone 2 or is there a cheaper option since I already have a zone 1 ticket? Thank you for any advice and the awesome articles 🙂

    Reply
    1. Mellivinginstuttgart
      5 months ago

      Hi Samantha,
      when you already have a ticket for zone 1 you can simply buy an additional ticket for one more zone. When someone comes to check your ticket you have to show him both. If you use the VVS app you can select “Anschlussticket” in order to buy the additional ticket.
      Have a great day!
      Yours Mel

      Reply
  11. Ros
    2 months ago

    Hi,
    It was a good read. I have a question.
    I am a student from Darmstadt and currently doing my internship in Stuttgart. I have a semester ticket for 6 months which covers the 5 regions. After a few months, I am planning to travel from Heidelberg to Vaihingen and vice versa, which involves taking an IC on the route as well. Can you suggest a possible solution with this?
    🙂

    Reply
    1. Mellivinginstuttgart
      2 months ago

      Hi there and welcome to Stuttgart 🙂 Unfortunately your question exceeds my knowledge of the public transport system. I suggest you go to an information center of Deutsche Bahn, for example at Hauptbahnhof, and ask there. They well definitely be able to assist you. All the best and happy traveling, yours Mel

      Reply
  12. John
    3 weeks ago

    Ahh, lovely VVS.
    I bought the 6 month student semester ticket as I live in Leinfelden, write my thesis in Hohenheim (ie the library) and work in either the Messe or Neuhausen auf Feldern.
    Should be perfect, right?
    Well, students get after 6pm and weekends (and feiertage) free.
    So buying the 200 euro ticket (ie 33/month) gets you just day time travel.

    Isn’t it wonderful that the S-bahn goes only 2 times an hour. Isn’t it even better that they charge you to take a bicycle on it.

    I wonder how subsidised all the logistics and infrastructure were, so that they could afford such lovely stations, but never run trains through them.
    It is literally monopoly pricing, with travel costs twice as high as Berlin. Possibly 3 times. And yet half the trains running, arguably because less people use it… but only because they cannot afford it.

    Not your fault I know, but really, it’s like the car-production capital of Europe doesn’t like people using public/alternative transport, and somehow is happy to discourage it.

    VVS – Drive more often, reduce the price a little, and allow people to bring bicycles on the trains (because the hills here are horrific).
    You would actually see a large increase in your profits, and a decrease in your users blood pressure.

    Reply
    1. Mellivinginstuttgart
      3 weeks ago

      Hi John,
      thank you for your message. I am not VVS, you know that, right? I am a blogger how invested some time to explain the public transport system in Stuttgart to non-German-speakers. 🙂
      All the best
      Mel

      Reply

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