The Copenhagen public transportation system was very easy for a former New Yorker to learn. There’s really only a couple of metro lines and then a ton of busses. During rush hour you can find they can be busy, but being that Copenhagen is a cycle city they often are not too crowded.
One thing that differs from New York Subways was the level of cleanliness. I didn’t see a speck of garbage on the tracks, or did it smell like urine, and there were guys in the early morning polishing the floors! All of that seems pretty unheard of if you’ve only been on the New York City subways.
The metros here are similar to those in other cities where it’s rather on the honor system of scanning your card when you enter and exit the station. Whereas in New York you have to scan before you even enter the platform. Now this isn’t to say to try to ride for free as I saw ticket operators doing random checks more here than in any other city I have been to.
The same goes for them coming on the busses and checking. Though it’s a bit more difficult to get on for free there as you are supposed to pay or scan your card upon entering.
And what happens if you get caught? A nice hefty fine. That’s a way to put a dent in your travel budget!
You can buy tickets by ride and rides go by zones, a lot of cities that aren’t New York do zones. In New York you can go from the two farthest points and it’s the same price as the two closest points. Do I think zone ticketing is better? Yes. Have I figured out zone ticketing yet? Nope! If you’re like me and don’t understand what is in what zone you can buy an unlimited pass which allows you to to ride the busses and subways as much as you want anywhere within Copenhagen for one set price. They come in different timed amounts such as 24 or 48 hours. They are active after your first swipe.
If you understand the zoning it may be less expensive to go ride by ride however, especially if you aren’t planning to use the metros all that much.
What’s nice, besides the cleanliness of the metro stations, is that a lot of the stations have screens that show when the next metro or bus is coming. Also on the metros and busses a lot of them announce the next stop or at least have screens displaying the next stop as well as what connections are available there. But try not to rely on them as once in awhile you’ll get on a metro or bus or get to a station where that isn’t the case.
Also note, the busses won’t stop unless you press the red stop button (if no one is at the stop to flag it to stop that is) so stay alert. Also, some busses and metros the doors won’t open to let you off (even if you pressed the red stop button) unless you press the green button to open the door!
It may seem like the escalator isn’t working, but get close to it and it begins. Now that’s a nice energy saving feature.
The final thing to say about the Copenhagen public transportation is that there’s often free Wi-Fi! A lot of the metro stations as well as some of the busses have free Wi-Fi you can connect to. Again, it’s not always the case, so keep that in mind if you are Wi-Fi only!