Hannover is one of twenty-eight German cities where NextBikes are available 24/7 right out on the street. All you have to do is register online, giving your name, address and mobile phone number. For the verification of your bank data you have to transfer 9 Euros, but this amount is credited directly to your member account.
It is also possible to register by phone, but I haven’t tried this.
When you ring up to rent a bike, the system identifies you with your phone number, so you just have to enter the number of the bike and they tell you the combination to unlock it. I have occasionally had the problem (not in Hannover) that there was a lot of traffic noise so I had trouble hearing the combination, but now in addition to the voice message they automatically send a text message with the combination, so that problem is solved.
After your registration, you can use the system in all cities and countries. On one customer account, you can rent up to four bikes at the same time.
Like most bike sharing systems that are opening up in cities all over the world, NextBike is a one-way rental system. That means you can return your bike to any of their official locations (of which there are about twenty in Hannover, for instance). If you return the bike to a non-official location they say they will charge you an additional service fee, but this has not happened to me so far.
In October 2011 I only had two nights and one day in Hannover, so I checked out a NextBike in the morning, used it all day and returned it late at night after the opera. This cost me eight Euros on my credit card. As an opera goer I often return my bikes late at night, so this is a big advantage over renting a bike from a shop.
Update 2013: Rental of a NextBike now costs one Euro per half hour or nine Euros per day. Online registration for NextBike is easy provided you are willing to give them your credit card number and cell phone number. Registration now costs nine Euros, which is applied to your first bike rentals.
At DB Call-d-Bike they now charge 0.08 per minute (which works out to 2.40 for half an hour) or 15 Euros per day. (9 Euros per day if you have a BahnCard.)
I have used the NextBikes in several Germany cities such as Leipzig, Hamburg, Dortmund and Dresden, and was always very satisfied. The bikes are clean and in good condition, and now they even have someone who comes around and not only checks the bikes but also changes the lock combination between rentals, so the previous user does not know the new combination. (At first they had an option that allowed you to change the combination yourself, but this was a bit messy and led to errors in the system.)
These bike sharing systems, such as NextBike and Call-a-Bike in Germany, Vélo’v in Lyon and Vélib’ in Paris, have really been expanding in the past few years and are a huge improvement in city mobility for visitors, residents and commuters.
Next review: Public transport in Hannover
The Hannover chapter of the General German Bicycle Club (ADFC) has started a new series of events entitled “Velo City Nights”, which are intended to “promote more cooperation in street traffic” and “symbolically re-conquer the streets of Hannover for the bicycle.”
On four evenings a year, the police have agreed to block off numerous streets (just as they do for online skaters) so that people can cycle together on a route of twenty to thirty kilometers. The ADFC explains: “An increase in the proportion of cyclists in city traffic is the goal. Cycling keeps fit and healthy. Cycling is environmentally friendly and makes the city more livable.”
At present about 15 % of individual journeys in Hannover are by bicycle, according to an official estimate. The city hopes to bring this up to 25 % by the year 2018.
Next review: Bicycle parking
Hannover has an extensive system of trains, trams and buses that can all be used on a single ticket, thanks to the GVH = Großraumverkehr Hannover, the Greater Hannover Transport Association.
The GVH came into being as the result of a spectacular protest campaign by Hannover citizens in June 1969, when the then-private bus company wanted to raise their prices and charge extra for transferring to the trams.
Now (as of 2012) the city and region of Hannover are served by twelve tram and subway lines, 170 bus lines, seven suburban train lines and eight regional train lines. As a cyclist I have seldom used any of these, but they certainly look fast and efficient and run very often.
Next review: Hannover Central Railway Station
Hannover is well served by InterCityExpress (ICE) trains from all directions, arriving at least once or twice an hour from all major cities in Germany.
In October 2011 I arrived on an ICE train from Frankfurt. The journey took two hours and nineteen minutes with two stops along the way, in Kassel-Wilhelmshöhe and Göttingen.
Two days later I left on another ICE train for Dortmund. This journey took one hour and thirty-eight minutes, with stops in Bielefeld and Hamm.
These trains were both clean, comfortable and on time. I wouldn’t even have mentioned this a few years ago, but the German railway system currently has frequent problems with punctuality and maintenance, due to mis-management at the upper levels of the company, so I do sometimes experience delays and missed connections.
Nonetheless, train travel is still by far the best option for travel within Germany.
Back to my first Hannover review: The Opera House
Back to my Hannover intro page to leave a comment
In addition to numerous bicycle stands, Hannover now has two bicycle stations near the main railway station. Here people can park their bicycles for 1 Euro a day, 10 Euros a month or 76 Euros a year. Also the first bike station has a repair shop and a bicycle washing machine (like the one in Münster), and they have bicycles for rent by the day or week.
Both these bike stations are administered by a charitable organization called STEP to provide job training and employment opportunities for people who are recovering from drug problems.
The entrance to the first bicycle station is on Ernst-August-Platz at the front side of the main railway station.
The second bicycle station is newer and is behind the railway station at Rundestraße 16, as shown in the photos.
Next review: NextBikes
When visiting Hannover for a weekend in November 2007, I travelled between the airport and the city centre on the S5 S-Bahn train.
The S5 train leaves from the airport every 30 minutes from 5am until midnight.
The journey time between the airport and the city’s Hauptbahnhof (central station) is between 15 and 20 minutes.
The train stops at the following stations en-route:
Hannover Flughafen (Airport) – Langenhagen-Pferdem - Langenhagen-Mitte – H-Vinnhorst – H-Ledeburg – Hannover Nordstadt – Hannover Hauptbahnhof (Central Station)
As at November 2007, the cost of a one way ticket was 2.70 Euros. Tickets can be purchased from a machine on the platform of the airport train station and must be validated prior to boarding the train.
The train was almost empty when I caught it, with plenty of room for luggage.
Each stop is announced first in German and then in English.
Further information and timetables can be found HERE.
Blind people find a map of the station in Braille near the main entrance. There is also a Bahnhofsmission, whose people are there to help.
People in a wheelchair can use lifts to any platform.
The railway station in Hannover. I have traveled from Frankfurt to Hannover with ICE (Inter City Express) train. It is quick- but one thing.
Please make reservation for the seat in the train- otherwise you have to search through the cars for a seating.
The station itself has almost everything a traveler need. Lots of fast food restaurants, newspaper shops etc....
The transportation system in Hannover is very well organised. They have buses and trains. Seems to me that there is excelent coordination betweeen the buses and U. On every 10 minutes there is a train which is going on particular destination.
And main station Kropke is on two levels and someone hardly could make a mistake.
I had a free entrance ticket (Messe visitor), but the best ticket is to buy is a single day ticket (3,80 EUR) and you have a drive for whole day with U and buses.
During the stay I lived in an appartment which is owned by a Turkish German man. The address is Hedwigstr. 10, 30159 Hannover.
Every morning and night we take the 121 bus go and back. It takes ony 2 stops. Very close to the city center.
On the first after arriving in Frankfurt, we took ICE toward to Hannover. It took us 2 hours. The tickets go and back each person, its price is 170 EUR.
ICE is the fastest train in Germany. (one of the top trains in the world) The first class is comfortable. During the train trip I saw the beautiful landscape and then fell asleep. zzzzZZZ really tired!!
Hannover's trainstation is one of the most modern and most beautiful trainstations in Europe. It is centrally located not far from Old Town and departementstores.
It has all facilities, that a main stations needs: shops, travel agency, car rental and more.
It is clean, full of light and colors.
In Sommer it is especially nice to sit in one of the coffee shops in front of the station and watch the people pass by.
Tram No. 8 goes from the train sation to Hannover Fair Nord and Tram No. 16 goes to Hannover Fair East. For any fair it is the best to take No. 8. In the train station you get any informations you need. There are also displays in the stations and announcements.
This is a typical sign for a busstop in Hannover. The "H" means "Haltestelle", that is "Busstop" in German. Beneath you find an explanation of the prices and then the timetable.
Not far from my former home is this busstop, where a bus to Mehrum starts. My boyfriend (wow! times are changing: he is now my husband!) and I wondered for months, what Mehrum looks like. Finally we bought two tickets to Mehrum. Please see my Mehrum-page for more!
From the main station, there are good links into the Conference Centre.
There are Park & Display signs all over the place, and the station entrance is well sign-posted too.
Frequrncy of the trains is very good, and trains + stations are very clean and modern!