Can you get tickets for the next day from ticket machines?

This is a question I had never really thought about until I was asked it – can you get tickets for the next day from the ticket machines for the trains in Germany?

I think the simplest answer is: “not normally, but it depends on the type of machine”.

Sounds confusing?  I didn’t think it was going to be, until I started looking at the ticket machines in our area a bit closer.

The one that I use most often is for the U-Bahn – the train to Frankfurt.  Here the answer is most definitely “no”.  You can buy tickets for groups and for the whole day, even the so-called “Hessenticket”, but only for the current day.

A ticket machine - this one was out of order

One of the local ticket machines - the destination code is entered using the numeric keypad

However just round the corner is a similar machine for the bus stop.  Strangely, this one has different options, including one to buy a ticket for the whole week, meaning 7 days starting on the day of purchase.  Some machines of this sort even allow you to buy a card that lasts a month, but again starting to day.   In the RMV area a “month” is considered to be until the day in the following month with the same number, so a monthly ticket that starts on 23rd April is valid until and including 23rd May.

And yet, the only machine I know here where I can actually buy a ticket for a future date is at the main station for main-line trains.

Thankfully there are two other ways to buy your local train tickets in advance.  One is via the online ticket shop – assuming that there is enough time for it to arrive by post.  The other, perhaps simpler, is to go to a local agent who can issue tickets for the different zones for the date of your choice.

This not only saves finding the change for the machine, but if you are unsure about which tarif or zones you need, there is someone there to help you as well!

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