When using any form of public transportation in Denmark tickets are necessary. This includes buses, trains, metro and harbor boats. The only exception are the free public bicycle, where you have to make a 20 kroner refundable deposit. If you use a public transport service without one, you will get fined and at present it stands at 750kr for an infraction.

First, let's discuss where to get tickets.

  1. Tickets can be obtained from the main train stations at their ticket offices.
  2. At other stations you can get it at the kiosk during opening hours.
  3. Through automated machines located at most train stations. (see image above)
  4. You can buy them on the bus, if you have correct change. Many times drivers do not or will not give change. It is up to you to have the correct amount. You can usually get change, but not all bus will give change for large denomination bills. 
  5. You can also order via your mobile phone, iPhone, iPod touch, iPad and Android 2.0 or higher using their apps..
  6. Klippekort can be bought at many shops, just ask at the newspaper counter. Klippekort are being phased out, but the date keeps being changed so not sure when. Sometime in 2015 is the latest update. Stop selling klippekort February 8, 2015 and they are valid til June 30, 2015.
  7. Finally there is the Rejsekort system, but it is full of problems and I still will not participate until I know that it works. People have been charged 100s of extra kroner for trips they never took, plus fines for forgetting to check in or out properly.

Types of tickets

There are three basic types of tickets.

  • Single trip
  • Multicard tickets called klippekort.
  • Passes, which are known as pendlere.

single travel tickettypical single ticket

Single Trip: A single trip tckt is just that. One tckt bought for a specific trip and can only be used once on that specific journey. You can buy these from bus drivers, via vending machines, via electronic apps. You can also buy them at the train station office for other trips across Denmark and Europe, but I will be focusing on the S-Tog, bus and metro travel within the city.

Klippekort: The above option is probably the most convenient for many people, but it is not very affordable or useful.  It is better to get a klippekort, which is 10 clip card. The klippekort can be bought in various forms depending on how many zones for want a card for.

klippekort multi tickets denmarkKlippekort

There are klippekorts for traveling in 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 or all zones. For each clip on a 2- or 3-zone card, you get to travel for up to 1 hour in those zones. For 4-, 5-, and 6-zone cards, you can travel for up to 1-1/2 hours, and with 7-, 8-, and 9-zone cards, you can travel for 2 hour. You can learn more about zones here.

When you use the card in the machines on buses or at train stations, it is clipped and stamped with the date, time and the zone. If you clip a card twice, it can be used in twice that many zones. For example, clip a 2-zone card twice, and you can travel through 4 zones and it will be valid for 1-1/2 hours. Your time does not double, it will be same as if you clipped a 4-zone card.

You can compare prices of single trip tickets and klippekort here. See how much you save!

You can also combine klippekorts if needing to travel in more zones. For example if you need to travel in 5 zones, you can use one clip on a 2-zone and 1 clip on a 3-zone. They must klipped at the same time. (not literally at the same time. Clip one card and than clip the other card). Two or more people can also travel on the same klippekort. If there are 3 people all traveling together and they each need a 2 zone ticket, you can just clip 3 times on a single 2-zone klippekort. Remember to stay together in case an inspector stops by to check your tickets.

Most seasoned travelers will have several klippekort in their possession in order to avoid having to pay single trip rates.

P.S. If you happen to have a klippekort and realize that you are short a single zone, you can stop by a ticket machine and buy a "tilkøbsbillet", which is a single zone ticket. You can NOT travel on a single zone ticket unless it is in combination with another ticket or klippekort (at least a 2 zone ticket).

How to use a ticket

klippekort ticket machine in denmarklippekort machine

When you have a single trip ticket, you just need to show it to the bus driver or train conductor (when he comes by). Just remember to keep it handy until your trip is over.

If you are using a klippekort, you will need to clip the card in one of the yellow or red ticket machines. Every bus has one as you enter the bus. At train stations they are located on the platform or inside the door out to the platform. Not hard to spot.

You push the klippekort into the machine with the bottom of the card in first. The front of the card should be facing you. If the slot is horizontal the klippekort will face upwards. If, as on most buses, the machine has a vertical slot, the klippekort is put in with the clips facing the left side, which makes the front of the card face you again. However you put the klippekort in, remember two things.

1. Card goes in bottom first.

2. The side where the clip is to be punched, must be on the left side.

If you need to do more than one clip, pull the card out halfways and than push down again. You will hear the clips. It is quite distinct sound.

When you pull the card out, you will see that a small chip has been removed from the left side of the card. There are 10 numbers representing each klip/clip. Notice that this card has been clipped twice. (see photo)

If you look carefuly, you can see this card was clipped on 17:45 on 1st of November in Zone 4 and again at 0500 November 2nd again in Zone 4.

2 zone klippekortKlippekort

HELPFUL HINT: Wait to clip your card until you know your train is just about to pull into the station. Sometimes trains can be delayed, and if you clip your card and the train is delayed for 20 minutes, you will have lost 20 minutes of your travel time standing on the platform. You will also notice that the time klipped on your tickets is not always the correct time. You usually get 10 -15 minutes extra time, since the clocks are set forward on many machines.

Generally, the trains and buses are very prompt and the government has actually enacted a programme where passengers can get refunds for buses that are significantly late. In 2012 there is also a program which allows you to take a Taxi to your destination if the train or bus is delayed by more than 20 minutes.

By waiting to clip until you are about ready to board, it may give you enough time to reach your destination and return on the same ticket if you are just running a quick errand.

Remember that when a train comes to a platform, it may only be in the station for 30 seconds, so you need to board quickly. At the major stations like Copenhagen, they may be there for several minutes. Not so for smaller stops. If others are also waiting to clip, you may miss your ride. Train conductors won't usually wait for you to clip.

Helpful Ticket Tips

  • Always keep your tickets handy to show to the driver or inspector until you have finished your trip.
  • If you are traveling on a klippekort and you change buses, it is necessary to show the driver your card when you board, so he/she knows you have a valid ticket. Just hold it out, do not give it to him unless he asks. No need to buy another ticket when changing buses or trains as long as it falls within the time limit and allowed zones. Do not clip the card again when changing modes of transport.
  • Many inspectors now travel on trains and buses in everyday clothing. This has been done because many people try to avoid buying tickets, and uniforms made it easy for them to be on the lookout for inspectors. If they saw one, they'd get off the train. It's not so easy now. If someone does ask to see your ticket, just show it to them; do not give it to them. They just need to see it. If you do give someone your ticket, make sure he or she really is an inspector and not just someone trying to steal your ticket!
  • When riding on a bus or city train, there are no reserved seats, so your ticket entitles you to sit where you wish. The 3 exceptions that I know are:
  • If someone with a baby carriage boards a train or bus, you must move and allow them the standing space - usually in the middle of the bus or at each end of the carriages on trains. There is also a section on trains where bicycles can be put in little holders. You need to allow them to use those spaces for their bikes even if you are sitting on one of the seats.
  • There are some places where there is seating for disabled or elderly people, and you need to leave those seats available. You can sit there, but if someone is need of those seats you must give them up. (It used to be common courtesy to give your seat to an elderly person or woman, but that is no longer the case. That does not mean you shouldn't do it, but it is not expected or done very often. Maybe we can change that!)
  • Regional and intercity trains do not use the same tickets as the ones I have been discussing here. You need to buy them at the train station ticket office. They do offer reserved seats. If you're planning on traveling on those types of trains, reserve a seat. It costs just a bit more, but it's well worth it. You can also specify "quiet cars" where phones, music, talking, etec. is not allowed. Can be very nice on long trips where you wish to sleep or relax.
  • Children under 12 can travel free with a paying adult.(Max 2 children per 1 adult.) If a child is under 12 and traveling alone, they must pay for a ticket.
  • Anyone under 16 can travel on a child's ticket.
  • When traveling after midnight or on night buses, you will have to pay double fare.
  • If you are traveling with another person, you can use the same klippekort. Just do a clip for each person.
  • Here is another handy idea for saving money. If you learn that prices for tickets are being raised, you can go out and buy as many klippekort as you want at todays price. When the price increase comes into effect, those klippekort are still valid. If at some point you do not need them, you can probably sell them for more than you paid. P.S. I once used a klippekort that was 2 years old. The driver accepted it, even though there had been 2 price increases.
  • You can now also take your bicycle along on the train for free. No need to buy a seperate ticket. This does not always apply to regional trains so check with the ticket office. Do not just assume it is always FREE.

Other type of tickets

To learn more about the passes mentioned below go to the denmark travel pass page.

  • Period Passes (several types: Copenhagen Area, Oersundsbroen, Outside Copenhagen
  • Flex Pass
  • Work Plus
  • Period Card to Sweden
  • Yearly Bus and Train Passes
  • Senior Passes
  • City Passes
  • 24 hour pass / 24 hour klippekort
  • Orange Tickets
  • Children Tickets
  • Tickets including admission to special attractions
  • Tickets for the unemployed.

You can learn more about various train passes in Denmark here.

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