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Buses, Bikes and Big Red Trams: Public Transport In Innsbruck

If you’re wondering whether you’ll need a car in Innsbruck, the answer is a definite “no!”. Innsbruck’s public transport network covers a whopping 336km of bus and tram lines and will take you anywhere you want to go in the city. There are now even city bikes too, which are great for exploring Innsbruck’s sights at your own pace.

Never used public transport here before? Not sure where to buy a ticket or where to get on the bus? No worries – here is everything you need to know about using public transport in Innsbruck.

What public transport can I take in Innsbruck?

Innsbruck’s public transport network has three main elements: buses, trams and bikes. It is run by an organisation called the “Innsbrucker Verkehrsbetrieb”, or IVB for short.

A big red city bus. © ibkinfo.at

How do I know which bus or tram to take?

The easiest way is to use the IVB’s website [1] or their app, IVB-Scout [2]. Type in any two stops, addresses or points of interest and the IVB will show you the fastest route between them using public transport.

Let’s say for example that you want to go from the cable car station in Hungerburg [3] over to the Bergisel ski jump stadium [4]. Type in “Hungerburg” and “Bergisel”, select your preferred departure or arrival time and click “search”. You will be shown a map with the different transport options listed on the left, including details of how much walking is involved. The J bus and then the number 1 tram? Sounds good to me!

Getting from Hungerburg to the Bergisel the simply way! © IVB / Fiona Park

What’s more, the app doesn’t just have travel information for Innsbruck, but for the whole of Austria. And in this blogger’s humble experience, that information is usually more accurate than on Google Maps.

How do I buy a ticket?

In Innsbruck, you must have a valid ticket before you get on the bus or tram. But there are three different purchasing options.

Buy it from the machine. At most major bus and tram stops in Innsbruck you will find a long, thin ticket machine. Here you can buy the most common tickets (see below for more information on ticket types) and pay for them with card. But please note that not every stop has a ticket machine.

Buy it from a ticket office. The IVB has ticket offices throughout the city, the majority of which are in newsagents. You can see the entire list [5] on their website.

Buy it online. The IVB ticket shop [6] and app is by far the easiest way to buy tickets. Simply go to the shop or download the app, select your ticket type, and you’re good to go!

Do I have to show the ticket to the driver when I get on the bus or tram?

No! Unlike in many cities, in Innsbruck you don’t have to show your ticket to the driver, you can just get on board and find a seat. However during your journey, your ticket may be checked by a ticket inspector. The IVB’s inspectors are usually dressed in plain clothes so you won’t see them coming. And if they catch you travelling without a ticket, you will be in for a hefty fine.

Look out for the IVB logo on ticket machines. © ORF Tirol

What kinds of tickets are there?

Innsbruck has all the usual kind of tickets [7] you might expect from a city public transport system. This includes:

Single ticket: valid for any number of bus and tram journeys within a 90-minute period

8-trip ticket: 8 single tickets in one (and cheaper than buying 8 single tickets)

24h ticket: valid for any number of journeys within 24 hours

24h ticket 2Plus: like the 24h ticket but valid for two adults and up to three children under 15 (a great option for families)

Weekly and monthly tickets: valid for any number of journeys with 1 week or 1 month (good for longer stays)

But of course, there is the best ticket of all…

The Welcome Card!

Many hotels and other accommodation providers in Innsbruck provide their guests with a free Welcome Card [8]. This guest card has lots of benefits, including guided hikes and mountain bike tours, but probably the biggest benefit is that you can use the public transport for free! That means no faffing around with ticket machines, you can simply grab your Welcome Card and hop on and off the bus as you please.

The Welcome Card is not only valid on IVB buses and trams but also on many services outside the city boundary, such as the bus to Axamer Lizum and the tram to the Muttereralm. All the valid routes are listed here [9], with the participating hotels here [10].

The STB tram has some pretty epic views. © Innsbruck Tourismus / Christof Lackner

What about the city bikes?

Innsbruck also has its own city bike system, as well as an extensive network of bike lanes. This is definitely the most enjoyable way to see the city!

To use the city bikes, you first have to download the nextbike app [11] and create an account. You will have to give your credit card details, and nextbike will charge one cent from your card to check it is valid.

Once you have your account, head to your nearest city bike station, which you can see on the IVB website [12] or the nextbike app. Open the app and scan the QR code on one of the bikes. The app will show you the code for the bike lock, so you can unlock and undock the bike.

Don’t know how to get to your destination? The IVB website [1] and IVB-Scout [2] app will also show you the fastest route by bike. Type in your starting point and destination, then on the next page, click the bike symbol on the left. This will show you the best route by bike, using as many bike lanes as possible. You can also see the location of all the city bike stations on the map.

Cycling from the Bergisel to the Baggersee, without any major roads! © IVB / Fiona Park

Once you’ve reached your destination, simply lock up your bike at the station, open the app and tap “return”. The app will then charge your card according to how long you used the bike.

How much do the city bikes cost?

The regular price of the city bikes is €1 for the first 30 minutes, €2 for the second 30 minutes and €3 for every hour afterwards. The price is capped at €15 for 24 hours.

If you’re staying in Innsbruck for longer, or you regularly visit the city, it may be worth paying the premium “Vorteilstarif”. This has a €25 annual fee, but any journey under 30 minutes is completely free. You can find more information (in German) on the city bike website [13].

A row of lovely city bikes just waiting for adventures. © IVB