For more than 50 years on the way for you

The Transport Association of Greater Hanover (GVH) looks back at an eventful history – and moved a lot in the past as well. Before its establishment, the conditions within the Hanoverian local transport were very problematic: By the end of the 1960s it was hardly separated from the automobile traffic so that constant delays occurred and the passengers had to enter or leave in moving traffic. For elderly and disabled persons it was hardly possible to use buses and trams.

In addition, the individual companies were competing with each other. For this reason, their timetables were not harmonised with one another and each company had an own tariff system. Passengers who wanted to change the traffic vehicle, had to buy a new ticket.

The sixties: "Red Dot Campaign ", "50 Pfennig Ticket" and hour of birth for the GVH

These circumstances were a major annoyance for the Hannoverians. Protests took not place until the üstra announced an increase in passenger fares in 1969: Single Tickets "straight on" should now cost 80 pfennig instead of 70 pfennig and tickets which included a change 90 pfennig instead of 80 pfennig.

The people in Hanover went out on the streets. Demonstrations and blockades caused a temporary standstill of the tram traffic. The Hannoverians started to organize the local transport by themselves: Many car owners stuck a red dot behind the windscreen - a sign that strangers could get on board. They as well stopped over at the stations and took waiting passengers with them.

The "Red Dot Campaign" (Rote-Punkt-Aktion) become the initial inspiration for the establishment of the Greater Hannover Transport Association: On 17.06.1969 the Hanover City Council approved the introduction of a 50 pfennig standard price for carnet tickets. Furthermore the acquisition of the üstra into possession of the City was about to be tried as well as a transport association was about to be called into life. Under the auspices of the Greater Hannover Area Association, a forerunner of today's "Region Hannover", the transport association "Großraum-Verkehr Hannover" was prepared. The 
04.03.1970 may be regarded as the official "anniversary" of the GVH.

The seventies: Uniform tariff, underground subway construction and buses per order

Within the new association, six partners were organized: The "Verband Großraum Hannover", the "ÜSTRA", the "Bundesbahn", the "Bundespost", the "Steinhuder Meer-Bahn" and the public transportation services "Herrmann Bachstein". As a first measure in 1970, an uniform joint fares system was introduced which applied on all tram and bus lines within the GVH as well as the DB local traffic. Two years later, in spring 1972, the first joint timetable came into force. In the early 1970s the ÜSTRA was furthermore transferred to a municipal company. For the passengers these measures were crucial improvements.

Already in 1965 the tunnel construction works for the trams began at the "Waterlooplatz" in Hanover. An underground subway network was planned consisting of four lines which cross in the city centre.  On 26.09.1975, after a ten-year construction period, the line A with the underground stations "Hauptbahnhof", "Kröpcke", "Markthalle", "Waterlooplatz" and a ramp at the station "Gustav-Bratke-Allee" were opened. The Hannoverians were excited: Round about 75.000 people came to the inauguration.

A further innovation concerned the bus lines around Wunstorf: On 04.09.1978 a Call-a-Bus service has been introduced. It has become possible to respond flexibly to the needs of customers. The model was so successful that in subsequent years further Call-a-Bus and Call-a-Taxi services arose in the region. In doing so, especially in rural areas a broad and yet economical public transport can be guaranteed.

The eighties: Green information columns, new tariff offers and "Discoverer Days"

In the 1980s the unification of the GVH was consistently pushed forward and the passenger comfort has been improved: At each stop within the tariff area green information columns and often as well platform roofings were installed. The new informational show cases contained passenger information as well as line and network route maps.

On 01.04.1986 the existing three tariff zones were further divided. Holders of GVH monthly cards were offered an annual subscription. The transferable monthly card was also introduced, as well as the entrainment regulation and the Combined Ticket (KombiTicket). On the 25. anniversary of the "Verband Großraum Hannover", that in the meantime has become  the "Zweckverband Großraum Hannover", the first "Discover your Region Day" was organized which today is called the "Discoverer Day of the Hanover Region" (Entdeckertag der Region Hannover).

In the late 1980s the "Deutsche Bahn" improved its local public transport: The new "CityBahn" ran on the routes Hanover-Haste and Hanover-Springe. The journey times became shorter, the new vehicles provided increased comfort and the schedule coordination with other means of transport was optimized.

The nineties: Electronic timetable information, "Silberpfeile" and accessibility

In the 1990s the tariff offer of the GVH has been further developed: For the first time, the Mobile Cards (MobilCards) were available in the regional tariff. And as well the corporate subscription (FirmenAbo) and the Semester Ticket (SemesterTicket) were introduced. Furthermore the tariff system with "Tickets" and "Cards" has been established which is still valid today.

The rapid development of new media enabled the introduction of an electronic timetable information (German: EFA): From 1996, customers had as well access to it and were able to look for suitable connections. Due to the passenger television (Fahrgastfernsehen) in the trams, the passengers received information round off the GVH topic as well as news from Hanover and around the globe.

In the years before the Expo 2000 in Hanover, the local public transport network was significantly expanded: For instance, there was created a connection via "Bemerode" and the "Kronsberg" to the EXPO grounds and the Hannover Zoo has received an own tram terminal. The vehicle fleet has been modernized as well: The ÜSTRA put 144 new trams of the TW 2000 type, the so-called "Silberpfeil", in operation.

For the first time natural-gas buses were used - by the ÜSTRA and the B.U.S., an association of several different local public transport companies of the year 1991. 1998 the partners merged into today's "regiobus".

Accessibility was a large topic in the 1990s for the GVH: The transport companies increasingly used low-floor buses and buses with ramps. Furthermore the tram stations were developed further into high-level platforms. All tunnel stations were now accessible and reachable barrier-free. In addition, for the first time trainings were offered for passengers with limited mobility. And many platforms were heightened.

Right on time for the World Exhibition the tram network was completed. Modern trams provided very fast connections in the region. Before the Expo 2000, round about 1,1 billion Euro flowed into the improvement of public transport. This is money well spent: During the 153 days of the exhibition, 9,3 million passengers used the trams. The ÜSTRA transported 8,1 million customers and the regiobus further 1,3 million passengers.

The GVH app was launched in 2012 and has also made it possible to purchase tickets online since 2014.

The new millennium: Customer guarantees, mobile timetables and climate protection

In the year 2000, the GVH was already well established as modern and customer-friendly transport association. No larger changes occurred in the past years but a lot has been improved: In 2002 a year-round timetable was introduced - at this time it was common to have a summer and a winter timetable. Furthermore the passenger rights were expanded: Since 2003 the GVH offers you an "On-Time Guarantee" and a "Cleanliness Guarantee". Since 2009 passengers of low income are offered the Social Ticket (Sozialticket).

The interconnection between several modes of transport is becoming increasingly important: Buses and trams should be combinable with a bicycle or a car. Due to the new HANNOVERmobil offer, holders of a Mobile Card (MobilCard) can use rental cars and carsharing services at an advantageous price. In addition, they get a BahnCard 25 and can benefit from many discounts, such as for taxi rides.

The Internet goes mobile in these years: That is why the GVH, as the first transport company in Germany, introduced a timetable information for mobile phones in 2008. Since 2014 it is as well possible to buy tickets online.

Currently the GVH consists of the companies: ÜSTRA, DB Regio, metronom with enno, erixx, regiobus and WestfalenBahn. The vehicle fleet is constantly modernized. Not only the passengers benefit but as well the environment protection: For instance the hybrid buses as well as low-emission and environmentally friendly manufactured vehicles make a contribution to reach the targets on climate protection of the "Region Hannover".