The local bus system also takes you to areas that the rapid transit trains do not. Some of them stop at every street or so, and like streetcars get you very close to your doorstep. Today, Frankfurt boasts a large number of bus lanes which ensure that the morning bus is faster than the commuters who have opted to use their own car in the rush hour.
In the wee hours of the morning, buses are the only form of public transportation available. A number of special night buses ply the streets between midnight and dawn, designated by “N” before their number. These buses do not service regular bus stops. To find out which stops these buses use, look for signs with an “N” surrounded by stars or click www.nachtbus-frankfurt.de. In addition, on weekends and the night preceding public holidays, special night buses leave from Konstablerwache in Frankfurt City every half hour between 1:30 and 3:30 a.m.
Private companies are permitted to offer regional bus services – but only for trips longer than 50 kilometers. Bus prices tend to be significantly lower than the same trip by train, but the travel time is longer, and the services usually only run between medium to large cities. Most of the buses offer free WiFi so you can while away your time by surfing the Net, and bookings are done exclusively on the Internet. In Frankfurt, the regional buses stop at the brand-new Fernbusterminal on the south side (Südseite) of the main train station and behind the InterCity Hotel Frankfurt Hauptbahnhof Süd. Most buses also stop at the Frankfurt Airport. Busses from here head not only for German but for many European destinations, too, with Eurolines heading as far afield as Istanbul.
RMV Tickets and Passes
You can either buy your tickets for individual trips at the many ticket-dispensing machines or by App on your smartphone – or buy a travel pass valid for periods of one day, one week, one month or even an entire year. The ticket machines have touchscreens and are multilingual. You simply tap in you destination or the destination code, select the type of ticket you want (adult, child, day ticket, etc.) and then pay the amount displayed.
As regards travel passes, the golden rule is: The longer the period, the better the deal. Passes can be purchased at any RMV counter (opening hours vary according to the station), at selected ticket machines and at many news kiosks. Most RMV passes are transferable, which allows you to lend them to friends or family members when you do not need them. In addition to being a better buy, the weekly, monthly and yearly passes have another advantage: After 7 p.m. weekdays and all day on weekends, one adult and all children under 15 can travel free with a pass-holder.
In FrankfurtRhineMain a modified honor system is in place for travel on public transport. That means you buy your ticket or pass before you climb aboard, and you usually do not have to present it for inspection. The exception is with buses, where after 8 p.m. you have to board at the front of the bus and show your ticket or pass to the driver as you enter. However, be warned, freewheeling is not a good idea: Teams of ticket inspectors travel around the system and do spot checks for valid tickets or passes. This first happens once the train or bus has started rolling, so there is no way to escape being caught. The on-the-spot fine for not having a valid ticket is € 60. If you cannot pay right then and there, you will be handed a ticket with your fine listed on it and where you can go to pay that fine. If you do not pay within the period listed, you will get a notice at your address (that is why ticket inspectors insist on seeing your passport or some form of personal identity) with an increased fine.
If you were not able to buy a ticket as the ticket machine at your station was not working, inform the inspector. You will be sent to the payment office, where this will be verified and the fine waived – so make a note of the machine number or station.
The RMV network extends through the entire region, from Marburg to Erbach and from Limburg to Fulda. Tickets are valid for all modes of transport and for all services operated by the companies affiliated with the public transport network. RMV offers numerous special rates and group tickets, so it pays to take a good look at the ticketing options. A good place to start is the RMV website, which is multilingual and offers a wealth of maps, timetables, news and even suggestions for weekend outings.
RMV also operates 28 Mobility Centers and Info Points throughout the region, where staff members can answer questions regarding public transportation, including Park & Ride and CarSharing options and where you can buy your weekly, monthly or annual travel passes.