Riding Public Transit


So much of the US has little or no public transit, so the very thought may be foreign to you. Even if you're used to decent transit back in the states, every city has their own way to run things, and it's unlikely that your old home ran things the say way Denmark does. Fortunately, all of Denmark has a unified system and you can use it to get anywhere in the country, as well as parts of Sweden and Germany.

Busses, trains, and metro lines are all run by DSB, and the same tickets can be used for all three. Tickets are checked when you board a bus, or at random times while aboard a train or metro. The fee for not having a ticket is high, and you can rarely negotiate your way out of one. DSB has a very useful website, Rejseplanen, to help you find your routes and transfers easily, and there is an English version. Just click on the Union Jack in the top right.

Please note that if you are traveling with your bicycle, a separate bicycle ticket (cykelbillet) is required. Note that you can not bring a "Christiania" style bicycle on the train/metro.

Also note that you can bring prams or strollers on the bus or train. Signal to the bus driver (by extending out your arm) when the bus pulls up so that he/she notices you. There is normally only space for two strollers/prams, so sometimes during rush hour on a popular route, you may end up waiting a long time before you get a space. There is normally a lot more space on the train/metro.

An adult can bring two children (under 12) with them for free on the bus, train, or metro.

Per-trip Tickets

You can buy a ticket each time you need to ride by using a ticket machine at the train station and indicating your destination, or telling the bus driver where you're headed. This is most useful for a one-off trip of a longer distance, but less economical for getting around within the Greater Copenhagen area on a day-to-day basis. For your weekend in Odense, or vacation at Legoland, this is the way to go. To buy, go to your nearest train station during opening hours, or find a machine like this:

You can also get one-time use cards based on zones, which are similar to klippekort discussed below, but have just one clip.

Klippekort

Klippekort are cards with ten "clips" each, and come in various zone designations. You'll save a bit of money over the per-trip tickets, and they're fast and easy to use. Each bus stop or train station has a zone map. The zone you're in will be red, and rings of other colors should surround your zone. Those other colors tell you how many zones away your destination is. For example, blue is the two-zone color, and yellow is the three-zone color. If you get a yellow three-zone klippekort, you can travel anywhere in the red, blue, and yellow zones on a single clip.

When you put your klippekort in the yellow machine, it will stamp the date, time, and location when it clips. This will let your ticket checker know if your clip is valid when and where you show it. These machines are found at the entrance of every bus and at every train and metro station. You can mix and match clips and use clips for multiple people, e.g. if two of you are traveling within the five-zone range (totaling ten zones), you could put two clips on a two-zone card and two clips on a three-zone card (also totaling ten zones). A klippekort will give you more flexibility than a monthly pass, since you can travel within zone ranges, rather than specific numbered zones, and are ideal for more exploratory or erratic travel. There is no such thing as a 1-zone klippekort.

Monthly Passes

If you regularly travel within the same set of zones, you can save even more with a monthly pass. Unlike a klippekort, which allows anyone bearing it to travel anywhere within a certain zone range, a monthly pass specifies both the person who can use it and exactly which zones. This is most convenient for your daily work commute or other similar frequently travelled routes. You will need a passport-type photo to get put into the monthly pass, so have this done before you go to buy. (See our Frugal Expat page for info on monthly pass subscription service.) Monthly passes are the easiest to use, as you simply need to have it with you and show it to your ticket checker. If traveling outside your specified zones, you can use klippekort, per-trip tickets, or a tillægsbillet (add-on ticket) to make up the difference. You will need a clip or tillægsbillet for every zone you pass through on your journey, even if you are not stopping in that zone, if it is not specified on your pass. For example, if you are passing through six zones, and two of them are specified on your pass, you can: get a four-zone tillægsbillet, clip a four-zone klippekort once, or clip a two-zone klippekort twice. Tillægsbilleter are purchased from your bus driver or from the same machines as klippekort.

Other Useful Stuff

Many train stations have a shop with drinks, candy, deli sandwiches, magazines, and other goodies that might make your time on the train pass more enjoyably. They're called Kort & Godt, and you should be able to easily locate them when they're there, thanks to helpful signs.

Lost? Stations with S-trains have nice, big red S signs nearby. The sign may be on a major road a block or two away. If you see a sign, and no station, go down the side street where you saw the sign and you'll likely run into the station.

Trains have convenient trash bags near every seat, so there's no excuse to leave a mess.

Table of Contents

Page title Most recent update Last edited by
How do I... August 17, 2009 11:37 PM former member
Where do I buy... August 16, 2009 4:40 PM Suchi
Information About the Mailing List from Meetup.Com February 22, 2009 11:40 PM Suchi
Pre-arrival: What Should I Bring? November 19, 2009 11:41 AM Suchi
Who Are We? September 4, 2009 2:42 PM Suchi
Ground Rules September 11, 2010 12:59 PM Suchi
Just Enough Danish August 17, 2009 9:17 PM Suchi
Riding Public Transit September 4, 2009 2:39 PM Suchi
The Little Things September 4, 2009 2:41 PM Suchi
The Frugal Expat July 13, 2009 11:57 PM former member
About American Expats in Copenhagen November 22, 2009 8:01 PM Suchi

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