Let's say I have 2 trains:

Train X stops at A, B and C
Train Y stops at A and C

and there is a zone:

Zone 1 includes station A and B

Now, I have a monthly pass which allows me to travel within Zone 1 all day.

I realize it is cheaper to buy a long distance ticket from station B to C, than it is from station A to C. So, I buy the one from station B to C.

Can I go on the non-stop train from A to C or do I have to go on the stopping one.

Also, as a followup question, what if the non-stop train used a different route than the stopping one?

Or what if it had a stop but it was not the same as B.

Would it matter if that station was in zone 1?

By the way, usage case is Deutsche Bahn but it would interesting to hear about other train providers as well. By the way, when I say long distance, I mean RE/RB.

My example:

I live near Cottbus. I have a monthly pass in Cottbus AB.

I want to go to Calau (NL). If I buy the ticket from Kollwitz-Sud to Calau, can I go on the RE10 or do I have to go on the RB10?

and yes, I know the ticket prices are the same.

Can I take the RE10 there or do I have to use the RB43?

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    Zonal tickets are usually from local Verkehrsbünde. Are they valid for the long-distance train at all? Commented May 12, 2018 at 19:19
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    @HenningMakholm, I think more like RE trains not ICE. Commented May 12, 2018 at 19:23
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    The answer depends on the terms and conditions of the transportation authority (Verkehrsverbund), from which you bought your monthly pass and most probably also if station C is within the coverage area of the same Verkehrsverbund or serviced by a different Verkehrsverbund. If you tell exactly where you are travelling, someone might be able to look it up for you. Commented May 12, 2018 at 19:40
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    Anecdotal: I once was told "no, you can't" regarding two non-overlapping VRS/VRR monthly tickets on the old (pre-NATEX) RE7. Commented May 12, 2018 at 22:25
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    I confirm that this depends on local rules. There's no general answer to this in Germany. Some places (e.g. Berlin) have a specific ticket type (Anschlussfahrschein) for this situation. Commented May 12, 2018 at 23:45

2 Answers 2


Regional public transport is in Germany administrated by often smaller, local transport authorities (Verkehrsverbund) and there is no country wide tariff or ticketing system. It can be confusing enough for native Germans when visiting an unfamiliar place to understand which ticket to get for a specific ride.

The general rule is, that if you travel with regional means of transport (certain long-distance train categories and buses excluded) within the area of one transport authority, you pay according to the tariff set by this transport authority. If your trip starts and ends in areas covered by different transport authorities, you pay according to a tariff set by the specific transport operator. That can be DB (German Railways), but also a different private rail operator or a bus company. If different transport operators serve the same route, they may in this case have different ticket prices for the same route.

There is however an almost endless list of exceptions from these general rules. Neighbouring transport authorities often have special tariffs for crossing traffic, or there may be some overlaps in the geographical tariff coverage area. The area around Cottbus is served by VBB, one of the larger transport authorities in Germany. Just as an example: Their tariff and ticket conditions can be found in a 160 page publication.

Since Cottbus and Calau are both in the area served by VBB, your situation is relatively simple and covered by section B 5.5 in the conditions I linked to (continuation of a journey). It basically says, that if you already have a ticket for part of an intended journey, you need to buy an additional ticket valid from the last tariff zone you are travelling through and for which your existing ticket is valid to the new destination.

So in your case, if you want to go from A via B to C and you already have a valid ticket for A to B, you simply need to buy an additional ticket from B to C. It is not a requirement that the train actually stops in B for this to apply, but the train has to pass through B. If a direct train goes from A to C on a different route than via B, you will need a different ticket.

I am not quite sure why you are asking though. As you already write yourself: A ticket from anywhere in the area covered by your monthly ticket 'Cottbus AB' to Calau seem to cost the same, so it shouldn't matter if you buy the ticket for the entire trip or if you try to 'optimize' by using your monthly ticket for a part of it.

  • I was just interested. I came across it and wondered. I couldn't find any examples where it was cheaper. So, I just picked that one. Commented May 14, 2018 at 17:17

I don't there is a general answer to this question and it would depend on the specifics (operators, agreements, ticket types, etc.). Most local "zone" tickets in Germany explicitly exclude ICE and IC trains anyway. The regional trains do make most stops so it would be tricky to find an example like the one you mention.

One of my sons had a free ticket for all of North Rhine Westfalia so he would only buy tickets from the last city in NRW to his final destination. That always worked but I don't know whether there was ever a case where the train or bus didn't actually stop in that city.

In Boston (where I live), that's perfectly fine. If you want to go from zone 1 to zone 8 and you have a zone 1-5 monthly pass, you only need to buy an "interzone 5-8" ticket. Doesn't matter where the train stops or not.

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    There are plenty of examples e.g. in the Munich region, where it is required that the train stops at the station where you want to transition from an MVV to a DB/other train company ticket. See e.g. tz.de/muenchen/stadt/… (In particular you can have a ticket to any S-Bahn stop, most of which are not served by trains. And RB trains often serve quite a few stops more than RE train.)
    – npl
    Commented Jul 7, 2018 at 14:09

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