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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About Graham

Graham Tappenden is a British ex-pat who first came to Germany as a placement student in 1993, returning in 1995 to live there permanently. He has been writing for since 2006. When not writing blog posts or freelancing for the Oberurseler Woche and other publications he works as a self-employed IT consultant solving computer problems and designing websites. In 2016 he gained German citizenship.


  1. Helpful information! Do the machines take Master Card and Visa? In England, I often run into problems with many places needing chip and pin. Is it that way in Germany?

  2. Actually, the local machines do not take any form of cards other than the pre-paid “Geldkarte” – and a lot don't even take that! So you need coins and small notes.

    It is somewhat different in the main stations where there are machines for the long distance trains – these often do take credit cards, but since most Germans prefers debit cards to credit cards they are not that popular here anyway.

    As a side note: the machines in Cologne used to only take coins up to 5DM, even though they sold 3-day tickets costing 27DM so I actually went to my bank before one visit and organised the change in advance!

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