As with most communes in the Ruhr area, local transport is carried out by a local, publicly-owned company for transport within the city, the DB Regio subsidiary of Deutsche Bahn for regional transport and Deutsche Bahn itself for long-distance journeys. The local carrier, Essener Verkehrs-AG (EVAG), is a member of the Verkehrsverbund Rhein-Ruhr (VRR) association of public transport companies in the Ruhr area, which provides a uniform fare structure in the whole region. Within the VRR region, tickets are valid on lines of all members as well as DB's railway lines (except the high-speed InterCity and Intercity-Express networks) and can be bought at ticket machines and service centers of EVAG, all other members of VRR, and DB.
EVAG operates 3 U-Stadtbahn, 7 tram and 59 bus lines (16 of these serving as Nacht Express late-night lines only), with a total length of 29 kilometres (18 mi), 83 kilometres (52 mi) and 459 km (285 mi), respectively. One tram line and a few bus lines coming from neighboring cities are operated by these cities' respective carriers. The U-Stadtbahn, which partly runs on used Docklands Light Railway stock, is a mixture of tram and full underground systems with 20 underground stations for the U-Stadtbahn and additional 4 underground stations used by the tram. Two lines of the U-Stadtbahn are completely intersection-free and hence independent from other traffic, and the U 18 line leading from Mülheim main station to the Berliner Platz station at the gates of the city center partly runs above ground amidst the A 40 motorway. Essen Stadtbahn is integrated in the Rhine-Ruhr Stadtbahn network.
On the same motorway, a long-term test of a guided bus system is being held since 1980. Many EVAG rail lines meet at the main station but only a handful of bus lines. However, all but one of the Nacht Express bus lines originate from / lead to Essen Hauptbahnhof in a star-shaped manner. All EVAG lines, including the Nacht Express lines, are closed on weekdays from 1:30 a.m. to 4:30 a.m.
Of the Rhein-Ruhr S-Bahn net's 13 lines, 5 lines lead through Essen territory and meet at the Essen Hauptbahnhof main station, which also serves as the connection to the Regional-Express and Intercity-Express network of regional and nationwide high-speed trains, respectively. Following Essen's appointment as European Capital of Culture 2010, the main station, which is classified as a station of highest importance and which had not been substantially renovated over decades, will be redeveloped with a budget of € 57 million until early 2010. Other important stations in Essen, where regional and local traffic are connected, are the Regionalbahnhöfe (regional railway stations) in the boroughs of Altenessen, Borbeck, Kray and Steele. Further 20 S-Bahn stations can be found in the whole urban area.
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