The zone system

The zone system is based on a few fundamental principles which are described below.

Zone division

The common price and zone system for Zealand means that you can freely transfer between buses, trains and metro on the same ticket or card, provided it is only within the zones they include and within the time they are valid.

The area is divided into 211 zones. All zones have both a zone number and an associated zone name. For example, zone 8 also has the zone name ‘Roskilde’. Zone numbers are displayed at all bus stops and at many stations.

When you buy a Commuter Pass or a single ticket for a travel relation such as between Helsingør (zone 5) and Roskilde (zone 8), it is a ticket between two station names or place names.

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Zone limits

The bus or train sometimes drives through a zone without stopping. However, the zone must be counted when you buy a ticket or pass.

There is a difference between where the zone changes and how it is marked at stations and at bus stops. Zone changes are announced on buses via the display or loudspeaker.

Travel with regular buses

There may be several stops in the same zone. The change to a new zone usually occurs at a stop (‘boundary stop’). You can ride to the stop where a new zone number is first posted on the stop stand. The zone number shows the zone that is being entered. So you can get off at a ‘limit stop’ without having a valid ticket or pass for the zone.

At ‘boundary stops’ there will usually be different zone numbers for the two stops on either side of the road.

Travel on R, S and E buses

Here, the zone change can occur at stops, but often the zone changes between stops. You must have a valid ticket or pass for the zones in which the bus runs.

Travel with train and Metro

Zone changes can occur at stations or between stations. Stations on a zone boundary usually have two zone numbers and a few stations have multiple zone numbers.

If the zone change occurs at a station, for short journeys of 2 to 8 zones you can ride to the station where the zone changes. You can therefore get off at a ‘boundary station’ without having a valid ticket or pass for the zone that the train continues into.

If the zone changes between two stations, you must have a valid ticket or pass for both zones. You must always have a valid ticket for the zones in which you are riding.

Zone calculation for short journeys (2-8 zones)

‘Transit’ and ‘ring zones’

For short journeys, there are two principles for how to calculate zones. For travel on a Commuter Pass up to and including 8 zones, the transit principle applies. For travel on short journey single tickets and mobile zone cards, the ‘ring zones’ principle applies.

‘Transit’ - Commuter Pass

When traveling on a Commuter Pass up to and including 8 zones, you pay for the number of zones you travel in, with a minimum of two zones.

On a 3-zone Commuter Pass, you can travel in the three zones for which the card is valid.

Figure showing subscription passes covering zones 8, 76 and 66

Ring zones – tickets and mobile zone cards

When traveling on single tickets for short journeys and/or mobile zone cards, you pay for the number of zone rings in which you travel, including the zone where the journey begins.

Imagine throwing a stone into the water. Rings are formed: first one, then two, then three rings, etc. The starting point for the journey is the place (zone) where the stone hits the water. When traveling on a 2-zone ticket, you can travel inside the starting zone and the first ring’s area. On a 4-zone ticket you can travel inside the starting zone, first, second and third ring area, etc.

The starting point is always the zone you start in. It is the one that appears as the start zone on the single ticket for short journeys or the mobile zone card. It counts as the first zone and is always red on the coloured zone map where your journey begins. At stations located on the zone boundary, there may be several stations which are the starting point. These zones are red on the zone maps.

Figure showing ticket or mobile zone card covering 3 zones

The most expensive zone determines the price of one-way travel for short journeys and mobile zone cards

When traveling on a single ticket for short journeys and/or a mobile zone card, you must find your route on the map and see which colour zones (zone rings) it transits through. The most expensive colour zone (usually the one furthest away) always determines the price, whether the journey ends there or you just transit through the zone along the way.

Routes to and from a destination do not always cost the same amount for single ticket travel for short journeys and/or mobile zone cards.

Even if you choose the same route back and forth, you may find that the bus or train runs through a more expensive colour zone one way than the other. So you must sometimes pay different fares to get there and back. The furthest colour zone (most expensive) that you pass through is what determines the price.

The journey with the S-train from Svanemøllen to Friheden and back again is an example of how it can be cheaper to travel to a destination than back.

The ‘rings in the water’ principle applies here on the journey from Svanemøllen (zone 2) to Friheden (zone 33) via Copenhagen H. (zone 1) and back.

From Svanemøllen to Friheden

You ‘cast the stone’ in zone 2. It is the zone you start in and the centre of the journey (shown in red). Outside, rings form.

The first ring (light blue) comprises all the zones adjacent to the starting zone. The first zone ring covers both zone 1 and zone 33. You can travel from zone 2 to zone 33 through zone 1 when you have a ticket or punch for 2 zones (the start zone and first zone ring).

Image of zone map with zone 33 as centre

From Friheden to Svanemøllen (example)

On your return journey, you cast the stone into zone 33. Now this is the centre of the journey (shown in red). Outside, rings form again.

The first zone ring (light blue) covers zone 2, but not zone 1. Therefore, use the second zone ring, i.e. all the zones adjacent to the first zone ring. The journey therefore requires a ticket or punches for three zones: the start zone (red), the first zone ring (light blue) and other zone ring (yellow).

Image of zone map with zone 33 as centre

Zone calculation for travel in more than 8 zones

Single tickets for 9 zones and above are issued as a ‘travel relation’;which means that it is a ticket valid for the line between two specific stations or place names and thus valid for the line between the zone you are traveling from and the zone you are traveling to. The same applies to travel on a ‘travel relations’Commuter Pass and travel on a‘travel relations’10 zone card in the app.

The idea is always that no matter where you buy the ticket, you do not need to look at zone maps or anything else to familiarise yourself with the number of zones included in the journey.

The ticket’s price is calculated according to the ‘longest section of line’ (measured ‘as the crow flies’/in a straight line) on the natural travel route of the specific line. For example: A- (C) -B is 9 zones in a straight line, A-C is 11 zones, C-B is 8 zones. The longest section of line is 11 zones.

If the ticket for long journeys is issued from A to B without a waypoint, it is priced on the basis of a zone distance of 9 zones and is valid only on natural travel routes between A and B without a longest leg of over 9 zones.

If the ticket for long journeys is issued from A to B via C, it is priced on the basis of a zone distance of 11 zones and is valid only on natural travel routes between A and B including via C.

The departure zone and destination zone and possible waypoint zones are printed on the ticket. If you travel from Frederikssund to Friheden, you can buy a ticket either with the ring line, where the ticket reads ‘via Flintholm-Ny Ellebjerg’, or over Copenhagen H, where the ticket reads ‘via København H’.

The first ticket is for 9 zones and the last one is for 10 zones. The ticket is only valid for one natural forward journey and the ticket can always be used on a shorter distance than the one on the ticket.

Therefore, in this example you can also choose to make the journey via Flintholm-Ny Ellebjerg with the ‘via København H’ ticket (10 zones), but if you have purchased the ‘via Flintholm-Ny Ellebjerg’ ticket you cannot opt to transit through Copenhagen H.

Zone calculation for Rejsekort (travel card)

For Rejsekort (travel card) journeys, only the direct route between the starting zone and the destination zone is paid. This means that even if the journey transits through a more expensive zone ring that is further away than the destination zone, you only pay for the distance measured in a straight line from the place you check in to the place you check out.

The number of zones in a straight line is used for calculating the price of a journey, unless you have spent a disproportionately long time on your journey. In this case an ‘hourly price’ is calculated.

In the example of journeys between Svanemøllen and Friheden in section 2.1, the price will be the same regardless of the direction of the journey.

Read more on www.rejsekort.dk.