I'm staying in Hamburg for a while for business reasons and I've been told to get an HVV card for rings A and B as that would cover most of the major destinations I might need to travel to. Now I take it that the bus numbers (e.g., "take the number 2 from Altona") signifies the route (and hence the stops) the bus will cover but what do the rings signify? Is it a collection of bus numbers? A set of routes? A particular loop in the bus network? Something else entirely? I can't find enough info on the HVV website to clarify what a ring might signify.

I'm asking because there are some pubs in Hamburg I'd like to visit and in planning this trip, it'd be great to know if they are reachable from rings A and B too.

3 Answers 3


Each ring is a collection of fare zones -- that is, a particular geographical area -- as shown on the zone map:

HVV map

Even though this is not very detailed, comparison with the S-Bahn and U-Bahn network should show that rings A and B covers pretty much everywhere you will have any reason to go, other than because you live out there.

  • 1
    Depending on where you live and how much you want to explore, even ring A could be enough as it covers the entire inner city and most of the sub-centers (Altona, Eppendorf, Barmbek). If you want to drive to other areas only a few times, buy a week/month (you didn't write how long you are stying) card for ring A and on those occasions you can buy a Zusatzkarte ("additional card") for a trip outside your regular region, they are fairly cheap.
    – Tom
    Jun 1, 2019 at 6:28

The 'rings' and 'zones' are used for ticket pricing.

If you live in Hamburg, and you don't regularly need to travel outside Hamburg, then the main zones and rings are those highlighted in blue on Hamburg transport maps. The rings are the letters, i.e., ring A & B. The bold black numbers are the zones. If you take out a season ticket, they become relevant because you may either choose the whole blue region or you choose the distinct zones you need on a regular basis. The blue area is called "Hamburg Greater Area" or "Großbereich Hamburg".

Rings C - E are only relevant when you live outside Hamburg and use the public transport including regional trains to go to work and a monthly season ticket makes sense. Otherwise, you would be simply choosing the final destination station in order to buy a single ticket.


You can download the Tarifplan or Fare Zones Map from



They're not routes. They're fare zones. People who ride from farther away pay more for their tickets.

There may well be circumferential (crosstown) routes that ring the city. However, they want those routes to stay in the same ring, not cross ring borders multiple times during the journey (making fare pricing very confusing). So they place the "rings" so they aren't anywhere near the crosstown routes.

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