I wonder what's the most complicated tariff system for public transport on the world? Which city has this [inglorious] record?

I'm trying to understand the tariff system for N├╝rnberg region (Bayern, Germany). It has 10 zones, and on the site http://vgn.de/0f2721c6-60b4-ba90-8885-90fe7b67fff6 I've counted 22 variants for tickets!

I was asking the citizens how the system is working, but I've mentioned that they know only the part they are living and working (and the tariff required to travel between those locations).

Is there any public transport network on the world which is even more complicated?

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    I think you'll have to give criteria. Because at least in Nürnberg, I believe you have 1 organisation to dialog with, and one system for most cases. I live in Nice area, I use the system of 3 different carriers, with different line buses sometimes going to the same places, with different schedules, different price systems (2 different price systems for the same trains), different names for stations... And I find it pretty simple for most cases. – Vince Dec 30 '12 at 18:20
  • @lechlusasz - I think you should change your title into something like "Is there a more complicated public transport tariff system than the one in Nuremberg?" That corresponds better to what you describe ... – Maître Peseur Dec 30 '12 at 19:18
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    I found every city in Germany too complicated, even compared to every city I've been to where foreign alphabets are used! How many times I couldn't figure out which ticket to buy without wasting money missing some offer, or accidentally ended up with the ticket for the wrong Bahn (U- or S-) despite knowing the difference and trying hard not to make that mistake! – hippietrail Dec 31 '12 at 3:11

So indeed the Nuremberg network seems pretty complicated if you seek weird combinations (in your case, apparently, be in 2 different towns the same day for a cheap price).

But I think it depends on criteria, and some cities have pretty complex ones. The number of transit systems, the number and complexity of pricing schemes, the complexity of getting information on whole system, ...

I have a couple examples of pretty complex systems. San Francisco has 1 city network, a train (BART) that links different parts of the Bay, a bus network for North Bay, a train for commuters in South Bay, ferries, ... Every system has different pricing strategies. The BART has no month or day pass, and you pay depending on distance. You also pay depending on distance on the South Bay train, but there are passes. The City system has a pass or $2 single ticket. If you use the three systems, you can still have a single electronic card to load all different passes/cash on it.

A second example is in Nice, France area (and probably a lot of other cities in France). There are 3 city systems for transit, a train linking them and a coach network linking the cities too. You may need to have a train pass, a city pass and still buy tickets when you go to the next town. There is still one pass giving access to 3 networks for affordable price.

I have never been there, but I heard Tokyo subway is pretty complex too. There are lots of companies operating a connecting network and you should pay depending on your departure/arrival combination. I don't know exactly how it works, but it's still kinda complex.

  • I heard many times about how Tokyo is too complex before I went there, and it is very complex, yet now that I've been quite a few times each to Germany and Tokyo, I can say for certain that I have a lot more trouble in any sufficiently large German city than I ever have in Tokyo! – hippietrail Dec 31 '12 at 3:13
  • interesting ... I never really got troubles in German cities. The zone map is usually frightening as @lechlukasz said, but this is not needed. And as far as I remember, there are tickets for either city network or S-bahn, I usually tried to avoid the second just for simplicity. And then I just pay attention to the single ride/day pass. I can still understand it's not really straightforward. Was there anything else that make it hard to use? – Vince Dec 31 '12 at 8:05
  • The maps are very frightening. I guess they would be too of the entire Tokyo network, but I think you generally the various rail companies make their own network maps and leave out the other companies. The U-Bahn/S-Bahn problem was worst where both shared a station with escalators to various levels. Also the ticket machines were almost as scary as the maps! – hippietrail Dec 31 '12 at 22:27
  • Often the problem does not consist of traveling from A to B, the problem consists of the buying the right ticket (or having the right means of payment). Changing different zones with different transport systems which might have their own zone system can be a nightmare. For me the (almost) perfect system is in Seoul. You buy a T-money card, charge it with money, you enter the system, change as often you want, and at the exit the correct tarif will be substracted from your T-money card. Simple as that. – Frederic Thomas Jan 3 '18 at 22:35

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