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© GVH/Archiv

The history of the GVH

The GVH can look back on an eventful history. On March 4, 1970, the success story began and continues to this day. Learn more about the milestones and the history of the GVH.

For more than 50 years we offer attractive public transport

On 4 March 1970 the success story of the “Großraum-Verkehr Hannover” began. It is about people, who took to the street prior to the formation for a better local transport, about affordable fares, about the first common timetable and the rapid expansion of the public transport before the Expo 2000. The continuous development of a more and more attractive service and transport offer of the GVH is still ongoing.

Bild von einem Autokorso durch die Innenstadt. Die Autos haben einen roten Punkt an der Windschutzscheibe. Um die Autos herum stehen Menschen.
The "Rote-Punkt" campaign is considered the initial spark for the founding of the GVH. Hanoverians demonstrated against announced increased ticket prices. © GVH/Archiv

Milestones in the history of the GVH

The GVH foundation on 4 March 1970

The 4th of March 1970 is regarded as the official anniversary of the GVH. One year earlier, people took to the streets in protest against announced increased ticket prices. At that time, you had to purchase a ticket on each public service vehicle, the schedules of the individual transport companies were not aligned and each one had a different tariff system because the individual companies were in competition with each other. With the 'Rote-Punkt' campaign, the Hanoverians organised their local transport without further ado by themselves. They put a red dot behind the windscreen of their cars, that indicated that strangers may get on. That was the starting point for the foundation of the new transport association GVH. Under the leadership of the Verband Großraum Hannover (Greater Hannover Local Association), a forerunner of today's Region Hannover the local transport should in future become cheaper, more unified and aligned more closely.

Fair fares and the first common schedule

The new unit included six partners: The Verband Großraum Hannover (Greater Hannover Local Association), ÜSTRA, Bundesbahn, Bundespost, Steinhuder Meer-Bahn and the Verkehrsbetriebe Herrmann Bachstein. As a first, step a consistent common tariff scheme was introduced in 1970 which was valid for all trams and buses within the GVH as well as for the DB local traffic. Two years later, in the spring of 1972, the first common schedule came into effect.

Bild von einem alten Rufbus Neustadt, der vor einer Haltestelle steht. Im Hintergrund ist ein weiterer Bus zu sehen.
In 1978, the first call a bus-service ran within the GVH area. Further services such as on-call taxi and call a bus-services followed.© GVH/Archiv

First underground railway, on-call buses and on-call taxi cabs

The construction of the underground railway system ushered a new era for Hanover in 1965. After a construction period of 10 years, line A was finished. On 26th of September 1975 the first underground ran from Hauptbahnhof via Kröpcke and Markthalle to Waterlooplatz. In the following years, the tunnel sections B and C were finished. The originally planned fourth section– line D – was implemented over ground.

A further innovation was the introduction of the first on-call bus on 4th of August 1978. Thus, as of immediately, it was possible to react flexibly to the needs of the passengers. The model was so successful that in the following years further on-call buses and on-call taxi cabs came into operation in the region including in rural areas. In the following 80ies, the unification of the GVH was consistently pushed forward and the comfort for passengers was further extended.

Picture of a TW 2000 on the move. In the background and on the side are flags of the Expo.
For EXPO 2000, the exhibistion grounds were even better connected to the public transport system. Since then, line 6 has been running to "Messe/Ost".© ÜSTRA/Uhlenhut

The first „Großraum­entdeckertag“

In September 1988 the first „Großraumentdeckertag“ ("Discover-your-Region-Day") took place. Because the idea was well received, interested people can still discover the region and neighbouring districts each year, on the second Sunday in September, with a Day ticket for one zone (A, B or C). The great „Entdeckerfest“ (Discovery Festival) in the city centre of Hanover shows the diversity of the entire region. The crowning highlight is a competition.

Extension of local public transportation before EXPO 2000

Before the EXPO 2000, the public transport was significantly expanded, about 1,1 billion euros were invested in the improvement of public transport. A new connection via Bemerode and Kronsberg to the EXPO grounds was implemented. The Hanover Zoo was provided with a city railway connection. The vehicle fleet was modernised as well: The ÜSTRA put 144 new TW 2000 trams, the co-called „Silberpfeile“, into operation. For the first time, CNG buses were used – at ÜSTRA as well as at B.U.S., today’s regiobus. Right on time for the World Exhibition, the subway network was also completed. The GVH established itself as modern and customer friendly transport association.

Ein junger Mann sitzt in einem regiobus Fahrzeug und zeigt sein Handy, welches die GVH App zeigt.
2020 wurde die GVH App erneuert. Seitdem können Fahrgäste alle Fahrkarten im Einzelverkauf digital erwerben.© regiobus/Albertin

Customer-oriented range of services and transport to date

In the following years, the rights of rail passengers were extended. Since 2003 the GVH offers its passengers the cleanliness and punctuality guarantee.

The interconnection of various types of transport is becoming increasingly important: buses and trams can be combined with bikes and car sharing services. The GVH provides new offers which to date keep up with the passenger requirements.

As the first transport association in Germany, the GVH introduced in 2008 a digital schedule information for mobile phones. Since 2014 tickets can be purchased online. Today, the GVH offers a modern app including a journey planner, sale of electronic tickets and sharing services.

Grafik vom neuen Tariftableau, das die drei Zonen des GVH in der Region Hannover schematisch zeigt.
With the tariff reform, which came into force on 01.01.2020, the GVH simplified the previously existing tariff system and renamed products and the tariff zones. © GVH/B&B.

Attractive rates

Important GVH milestones concerning the tariff offer were in 1986 the implementation of annual subscriptions, in 1992 the first special tariff to adjacent districts, the SemesterTicket for students in Hanover in 1993, the social tariff to ensure mobility for further customer groups in 2013 and the comprehensive tariff reforms in 1997 and 2020. 

On 01.01.2020 the new GVH tariff reform came into force. It makes the GVH offer even more clear and simple for the passengers. Instead of the previous differentiation between the tariff zones „Tickets“ and „Cards“ there are now the three zones A, B and C within the GVH area. Added to this are the zones within the Regional tariff D, E and F. In addition to the renaming and adaptation of the tariff zones, the product names for tickets were replaced by terms that are easier to understand and anglicisms such as „Tickets“ and „Cards“ have been waived to the greatest possible extent.  Instead of the GVH Mobile Card there is now the Monthly pass. The GVH Saving Card is now called Youth pass. The ticket range was also optimised. Passengers benefit from consistent 1. class surcharges and the acceptance of the short trip tariff in all buses. There were benefits for passengers travelling in zones B and C. Furthermore, the Corporate pass was extended by the Regional tariff and the School pass is since 2020 valid as well during leisure time and within the entire GVH area (zones ABC).

[Translate to English:] Rabattierungen durch die Region Hannover ermöglichen es, dass der GVH Interessenten des Deutschlandtickets seit dem 08.05.2023 zusätzlich vergünstigte Varianten der Fahrkarte für nur 365 Euro pro Jahr anbieten kann.© GVH/B&B.

Impact of the Corona pandemic and changes in fares

Whether this reform in fares was successful or not could no longer be evaluated, as there have been heavy declines in the number of passengers since the beginning of 2020 due to the outbreak of the Corona pandemic. As public life became very restricted and some people worked from their home offices, the GVH waived 20 per cent of the subscription price for each of its subscribers, who numbered over 100,000 from June to August 2020 and again in March to April 2021.

From June to August 2022, the 9-euro ticket was launched in the market in response to a decision by the Bundestag to relieve the burden on citizens, enabling them to use local transport for 9 euros per month throughout Germany. The GVH also sold this ticket in the transport network area. In order not to put existing customers at a disadvantage, the price of all monthly tickets in the GVH was reduced to 9 euros.

The “Deutschlandticket” was then introduced as a follow-up product on 01.05.2023. This subscription, which can be cancelled monthly, allows one to use the entire local transport system in Germany for 49 euros per month. This ticket was then sold in the GVH on 01.06.2023 due to a delay caused by a hacker attack. Funding is provided by the federal government and the states. Thanks to further discounts from the Hannover region, the GVH was then able to offer additional discounted versions of the Deutschlandticket for just 365 euros per year: The Deutschlandticket Hannover social, the Deutschlandticket Hannover Ehrenamt and the Deutschlandticket Hannover Job.

Thanks to discounts from the Hannover region, the GVH has been able to offer discounted versions of the ticket for just 365 euros per year to those interested in the Deutschlandticket from 08-05-2023.

Today, Großraum-Verkehr Hannover GmbH has nine powerful partners. These include the Hannover region as the regional transport authority and the eight transport companies ÜSTRA, regiobus, DB Regio, Transdev, start Niedersachsen Mitte, WestfalenBahn, erixx and metronom with enno.

You can find more interesting topics about the GVH here:

  • The GVH

    Eight transport companies, one tariff, about 220 million passengers each year. The GVH – Großraum-Verkehr Hannover (Transport Association of Greater Hanover) is one of the oldest and, at the same time, one of the most advanced transport associations in Germany. Together with seven strong partners the GVH contribute to the improvement of the…

  • Jobs

    As a forward-looking industry whose mission is to enable sustainable mobility for everyone, the transport companies in the GVH offer a wide range of career opportunities. At ÜSTRA alone, there are almost 60 different occupational fields. If you are looking for an apprenticeship, you can also contact the GVH network partners.