Cycling leisurely through the city, taking the tram from A to B in a matter of minutes or using Mannheim as a starting point for your travels – the city on the Rhine and the Neckar rivers is not only ideally situated to easily get anywhere you want to go: transportation options within the city itself could hardly be more varied. These range from classic public transport or bicycles that can be hired via an app to the flexible service offered by city’s “Stadtmobil” car-sharing scheme. In addition, Mannheim is a real pioneer when it comes to affordable ticket prices and progressive transport options. Below, we provide you with an informative overview so that you always know which option is best in which situation.
The “Verkehrsbund RNV” local transportation system takes you safely to your destination with its numerous trams, buses and local trains. The network will also take you to the surrounding cities and regions. The circular Line 5 tram goes to Heidelberg and Weinheim, while Line 4 will take you to Bad Dürkheim in the Palatinate. In general, the VRN tariff area covers the entire Western Palatinate as far as Zweibrücken in the west and Würzburg in the east.
As you travel through the area, you will cross different tariff zones, the so-called “honeycombs”. Ticket prices are calculated on the basis of the number of honeycombs you cross along your route. If you are travelling a little longer or with friends or family, a day ticket is almost always worth buying. Within Mannheim, however, you can easily get anywhere with a price level 2 ticket, even as far as Heidelberg and Ludwigshafen. If you are only travelling within the city centre, the “Quadrateticket” is a good option.
A recent innovation is the “Luftlinientarif” (linear distance tariff). You only pay for the distance you would have needed as the crow flies from one stop to another – even if you take a detour by bus and train. To use this service you need the official eTariff app.
In early 2019, public transport prices were further reduced as part of the “model city measures”. The aim of this programme is to make the use of public transport more appealing to more people and thereby curb pollution. The price of the “Lufttlinientarif” is to be further reduced as well. On top of this, the city of Mannheim has set itself the goal of connecting the outer districts of the city even better to the transport network.
To this end, the city is receiving financial support from the German Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure and the Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety.
If you prefer to get some fresh air and do something for your fitness at the same time, then the “VRNnextbike” scheme is the perfect solution. This enables you to rent a bike at numerous stations throughout the city and cycle around Mannheim as long as you like. When you have finished with your bike, you can simply return it to the nearest VRNnextbike station – this doesn’t have to be the same one you picked it up from. You can also use the app to check which stations have bicycles available.
Thanks to the low rental charges, VRNnextbike is in many cases more economical than buying your own bike. As a student, you enjoy particularly favourable conditions. In contrast to public transport, you are also completely flexible – for example at night, if you don’t want to wait around for a tram or bus in the dark.
By the way, the city is currently expanding its network of cycle paths because it wants to increase the proportion of cyclists by 25% by 2020.
If you need a car, the “Stadtmobil” service in Mannheim makes it easy for you too. The principle of car sharing is not only more environmentally friendly, but also fair on your wallet. There are over 100 stations in Mannheim where you can choose a car according to your needs and wishes. You might want a van to help you move large objects, an agile small car for your next city trip or a spacious estate for a family outing. Stadtmobil offers all these and many more. You can find current tariff information here.
Another advantage of Stadtmobil is that you don’t have to pay tax or insurance for your own car and are not responsible for inspections and maintenance. In addition, unlike public transport, you can take luggage or friends with you and there is no need to stick to a fixed schedule.
In Mannheim’s central squares, there are a number of multi-storey car parks, such as those in the Q6 Q7 shopping mall, below the Marktplatz and beneath the water tower (which is not strictly speaking in the squares). You can find a list of all multi-storey car parks in Mannheim on the website of the “Mannheimer Parkhausbetriebe”. Outside the multi-storey car parks, the rule in the central squares is that you can only park with a residents’ parking permit.
At the main railway station, there is a large multi-storey car park (“Parkhaus P2”), which is ideal for long-term parking. There is also a Park & Ride scheme at the rear of the station (B36) with 135 spaces. If you just need to drop someone off at the station or pick them up, you can use the underground car park directly below the forecourt. Parking there is free for the first quarter of an hour.
Overall, transport connections in Mannheim could hardly be better. Two major motorways – the A6 and the A5 – are just minutes away. The latter will take you to France and Switzerland heading south, while in the other direction you can reach Frankfurt Airport within an hour. With the ICE, you’ll be there in just 35 minutes.
If you want to get in the air even faster, you can head straight to the city’s own airfield. From Mannheim City Airport, you can fly to Berlin and Hamburg daily during the week. On Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays, there are regular flights to the top North Sea holiday destination of Sylt, right on the Danish border. An added bonus is the free parking directly in front of Mannheim City Airport.
As you can see, Mannheim offers all sorts of options to make your life more mobile – and at the same time pays attention to climate protection and the environment.