Transport network

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A transport association is a legal and organizational association of local authorities and / or transport companies in the form of an association for the joint and coordinated implementation of local public transport  (ÖPNV).


Basic goals are

  • a uniform fare system, the so-called tariff ,
  • an assortment of tickets that is recognized by all transport companies and is as uniform as possible (exceptions may remain for particularly large cities, for example through higher city tariffs or special subscription offers ),
  • coordinated timetables ,
  • Issuing common timetable books ,
  • Avoidance of duplicated line numbers within a traffic area,
  • uniform vehicle paintwork,
  • uniform stop signs and
  • securing connections between offers from all transport companies.

It applies to all transport associations that in their area (usually one region) in local passenger transport all modes of transport of all operators can be used at the same tariff, i.e. with just one ticket . In addition, parallel traffic (i.e. the service between the same stops on the same route by different modes of transport) should be avoided as far as possible. The tendency in the last few years is clearly in the direction of the creation of larger network areas, whereby transitional tariffs are increasingly being agreed.

Supraregional tariff systems

Some German and all Austrian federal states have developed nationwide transport associations; in Germany there are some state tariffs.

Network-like structures also exist in the national tariff system in the Netherlands . The OV-chipkaart , a chip card with which the fare is withdrawn, is valid on all trains, trams, underground trains, buses and many ferries. In Israel there is w: en: Rav-Kav, a payment system similar to that in the Netherlands and also a nationwide tariff system across various providers and modes of transport.

In the UK there are related organizations under the name Passenger Transport Executive .

Long-distance transport

In Austria, Switzerland, the Netherlands and other countries, all trains can be used with association or national local transport tickets. However, some exceptions are international long-distance and high-speed trains. In Germany, long-distance trains are generally not integrated into transport associations, but IC trains with an additional train number as RE run on some sections of the route, so that they can also be used with association tickets.


Association boundaries

As advantageous as transport associations are often for passengers in the network area, this can be disadvantageous if you want to be mobile with public transport across associations or if you live in the border area of ​​a network. Many associations have meanwhile concluded cooperation agreements with neighboring associations or other transport companies operating there and offer transitional tariffs. Nevertheless, the topic is still often problematic to this day, as trips often end at the network border (customer principle), but the need for mobility does not.

Tariff problems

Many associations offer a uniform and often very sophisticated tariff. However, this is precisely what often becomes a problem for visitors from abroad who lack both the knowledge of tariffs and the local area and who have enormous difficulties in purchasing the right ticket. This is made more difficult by seeming banalities, since one network always expects the validation of purchased tickets, another network does not know the validation process and the third network offers both already validated and tickets that have yet to be validated. Furthermore, the transport associations have not yet succeeded in creating uniform tariff features or product names - sometimes the day ticket is valid for 24 hours, sometimes only until the end of the day, there are group or family tickets, and occasionally also “plus” tickets that entitle you to take other people with you, etc. .

Through tariffing

By tariffing it is meant that the passenger only buys one ticket for the entire route and can still use several means of transport, especially in the case of networks with regional rail integration. However, it is often the case that the prices per kilometer are much higher for short journeys than for long journeys. This degressive tariff structure means that a loss occurs relative to the increasing route length. This is the so-called through-tariff loss.


European Union

The corresponding EU directive on local public transport applies uniformly. The intention of this guideline is to open public transport to competition. However, since real competition does not make sense and many public transport lines are also routes that cannot cover costs, but further operation is desired and is also legally necessary in the context of services of general interest, the directive is implemented by the Creation of line bundles that are written out; Of course, other criteria such as the nature of the vehicles or the like are also included. given. The contract is to be awarded to the company that makes the highest bid or demands the lowest grant, taking into account the usual criteria such as professional competence and reliability.


Overview of the associations in Germany

In Germany, a transport association is a legal and organizational association of regional authorities in the form of a special purpose association , in Germany that is, of districts or urban districts, historically occasionally also with the transport companies of a region, for the joint and coordinated implementation of local public transport (ÖPNV). It usually exists in the form of a limited liability company in which the districts or cities and often the respective federal state are shareholders.

The first German transport association is the Hamburger Verkehrsverbund (HVV), founded on November 29, 1965 . It is also the oldest in the world to include all public transport in an area.

Transport association / community

In contrast to a transport association, a transport community is a cooperation between the transport companies involved. Due to legal requirements at European level, which generally provide for the tendering of public transport services, once the existing liner concessions have expired, it can be expected that there will be no more transport communities in the medium term.

Tariff association / community

A tariff association or a tariff association only guarantees a uniform tariff, sometimes only the mutual recognition of tickets. The change in the legal framework will - as in the case of the transport associations - mean here in the medium term that pure tariff associations will no longer exist.


A transport association as an organizational unit can carry out other tasks such as: B. be transferred in the area of ​​planning, coordination and service. Since the Regionalization Act came into force , which made public passenger transport by rail the task of the federal states, many transport associations have also had to perform the function of ordering services; sometimes directly (through a tender or direct order within the framework of existing contracts), often also indirectly via the regionally responsible company for local rail passenger transport (SPNV).

For the implementation of the EU directives, all German federal states have passed different laws on local public transport, some of which have different effects on the associations.

Organizationally, three forms of association can be distinguished:

Tariff structures and problems in Germany

Some federal states have developed state-wide transport associations ( Berlin / Brandenburg , Hamburg , Saarland ). These differ fundamentally from state tariffs, as previously set up in Schleswig-Holstein , Lower Saxony , Baden-Württemberg and North Rhine-Westphalia ; network tariffs may still exist below the state tariffs (e.g. the VBN in Bremen and parts of Lower Saxony). Such general tariffs are currently planned in other countries. State tariffs have network-like structures and effects. In the case of the NRW tariff, however, apart from flat-rate offers, there is only a general tariff surcharge for the use of inner-city transport following rail traffic.

The network area is generally divided into tariff areas, zones or so-called honeycombs. The fare, which is still distance-dependent, is not measured according to the length of the distance covered in kilometers with the respective means of transport, but is based on the number of zones traveled through, which may still belong to different price levels. A distinction must be made between tariff structures without overlaps, which are mostly based on municipal boundaries, and those with overlapping zones or honeycombs. With the former, all tariff limits are between stops (at municipal boundaries). It is not possible to buy a ticket when crossing a season ticket validity area directly at the tariff border, because connection cards must be purchased at the last stop in the paid area at the latest (example: tariff areas in Ostwestfalen-Lippe : OWL Verkehr ). It is also possible to allow or avoid membership of two (or more) tariff zones of individual stops or stations.

Some associations have different structures for season ticket and individual tariffs . For example, the HVV differentiates for single tickets and day tickets between areas ( greater Hamburg area ) and rings, for season tickets there is a further subdivision into tariff zones. The GVH also has different structures for “tickets” and “cards”. In addition to the normal network area (Hanover, environs and regions), season ticket tariffs are also offered for other neighboring, partially independent districts. The most significant difference, however, lies in the area of ​​the Rhein-Main-Verkehrsverbund , where, as was already the case with the Frankfurter Verkehrsverbund, Frankfurt Airport does not belong to tariff area 50 (= Frankfurt city area) for single tickets, for weekly, monthly and Annual tickets, however, do.

Larger tariff areas, which include entire urban areas such as Berlin, Hamburg but also Paderborn , can be divided by a smaller inner circle (tariff areas or rings A and B, indoor and outdoor areas for the PaderSprinter ).

In Germany, long-distance trains ( ICE , IC and some other types of train ) operated by Deutsche Bahn and other railway companies are generally not integrated into transport associations, even if one or more consecutive stops are in the network area. As a result, these trains cannot be used with network tickets or, in some cases, only with an additional supplementary ticket . Recently, however, there has been an increasing number of double uses (for example in Baden-Württemberg and on the Bremen - Norddeich Mole route), i. H. a train runs as Intercity and as RE or IRE, so that it is still possible to use intercity tickets or tickets according to national tariffs. Exceptions will be made in individual cases with the local management, e.g. B. in the event of delays or accidents, agreed and made known locally (e.g. through loudspeaker announcements). In addition, individual long-distance trains within the respective network area can be fully approved for local transport tariffs. As a rule, for such exceptions, the local transport tickets must be purchased and validated in advance, as only the long-distance transport tariff plus board price is offered on the train.

BahnCard and + City option

A special variant of the tariff problem is the “+ City option”. With long-distance tickets in the “Flexpreis” and “Sparpreis” category and when using the BahnCard 100, in many cities the one-time use of the public transport network is on the way to and from the train station included by the "+ City" option. However, there are also problems here, as this option only applies to one tariff area or even only parts of a tariff area, so that knowledge of the external network tariff is required here, which should actually become superfluous. Regardless of the "+ City option", the tariffs in some associations generally provide a cheaper tariff for BahnCards holders. Some associations, on the other hand, only grant a reduced price with restrictions and some associations do not offer any discounts for BahnCard holders. The BahnCard 100 is valid consistently on all routes operated by Deutsche Bahn, while the recognition is different with other operators, but the rules for bringing your own (grand) children are often restricted.


There is a transport association in Austria

"A cooperative established by virtue of private contracts between local authorities ( basic and financing agreement between federal government and the relevant country / community ) on the one hand and between the authorities and the individual transport companies on the other (transport service contract) ."

The transport companies participating in the association can be organized in a cooperative community, the transport association organization company serves as an intermediary between the regional authorities financing the association and the transport companies involved, central accounting office and cross-company planning authority. Transport associations are regulated in detail in the Local Public Transport and Regional  Transport Act 1999 (ÖPNRV-G).

The network organization companies in Austria are designed as pure national companies , since traffic planning is a matter of the country. The regional transport associations that have existed since the 1980s have all been integrated into the state associations.

In Vienna, Lower Austria and Burgenland there is a joint transport association, in each of the other federal states there is a transport association. There are sometimes overlapping zones with or smaller areas of connection to another network. Salzburg operates a cross-border association with Bavarian regions. The Vorarlberg transport association offers cross-border tariffs in cooperation with the Liechtenstein transport association and the Ostwind transport association.

With the completion of the system in 1997, Austria is the first country in the world to have comprehensive transport associations.


Transport and tariff associations in Switzerland

The first transport association in Switzerland is the Zürcher Verkehrsverbund (ZVV), founded in 1990 . Today, regional tariff associations and the national system of direct transport exist in large parts of the country .


The Luxembourg transport association ( Verkéiersverbond ) includes 34 public and private transport companies. This includes the Luxembourg state railway Chemins de Fer Luxembourgeois .

Great Britain

The Passenger Transport Executives in Great Britain, who have come together to represent political interests in the Urban Transport Group, come close to the transport association in the German sense .

See also


  • Knieps (2006): Diversity of Forms of Cooperation Organization of Transport Associations. In: Local transport. Issue 12/2006, p. 7 ff.
  • Association of German Transport Companies / VDV-Förderkreis (publisher): Transport associations - through cooperation and integration for more attractiveness and efficiency in local public transport. Blue book series of the VDV, Volume 16, DVV, Hamburg 2009, ISBN 978-3-7771-0403-4 .

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. What is a network tariff? Retrieved February 22, 2020 .
  2. Manfred Knieps: Development and importance of the transport associations in Germany. In: VDV / VDV-Förderkreis (Hrsg.): Verkehrsverbünde - Through cooperation and integration for more attractiveness and efficiency in local public transport. Blue book series of the VDV, Volume 16, DVV, Hamburg 2009, ISBN 978-3-7771-0403-4 , p. 22.
  3. VBB: Special features rail. Retrieved August 1, 2009 .
  5. Transport associations . Federal Ministry for Climate Protection, Environment, Energy, Mobility, Innovation and Technology
  6. ^ Legal construction of a transport association . Federal Ministry for Climate Protection, Environment, Energy, Mobility, Innovation and Technology
  7. Section II Transport associations §§ 14–19 Public Local Passenger and Regional Transport Act 1999 , StF: Federal Law Gazette I No. 204/1999 (as amended by ris.bka )
  8. Combined tariffs VVV - LIEmobil I VVV - OTV. Retrieved March 2, 2020 .
  9. Local transport . Federal Ministry for Climate Protection, Environment, Energy, Mobility, Innovation and Technology,, accessed on February 22, 2020.
  10. ^ Beatrice Henes: The special position of the Zürcher Verkehrsverbund in the Swiss network landscape. In: VDV / VDV-Förderkreis (Hrsg.): Verkehrsverbünde - Through cooperation and integration for more attractiveness and efficiency in local public transport. Blue book series of the VDV, Volume 16, DVV, Hamburg 2009, ISBN 978-3-7771-0403-4 , pp. 292-299.
  11. ^ Mobility center of the Luxembourg transport association