Warsaw Old Town

Warsaw Old Town
Author: Ferdziu, commons.wikimedia.org, CC BY

Sunday, 1 March 2015

Public transportation

Warsaw is well communicated, offers expanded network of subway, trams, buses and local trains at affordable price. For buses there are bus passes dedicated so during rush hours public transportation is much more effective than getting around by car.

In the daytime
At the moment there is one subway line connecting northern and southern parts of the city, however the second line is to be opened in 2015 linking east and west. Current line includes 21 stations and it takes approximately 45 minutes to travel from first to last stop.
Świętokrzyska and Ratusz Arsenał stations are located near The Old Town area while Centrum is best to reach main railway station (5 minutes walk or one tram stop), Palace of Culture and Science, National Museum. If you want to save some money on accommodation but still don't want to waste too much time in means of transport look for places loacted outside the city center but alongside subway line - you will be able to reach city center easily and within 15-20 minutes.

Buses and trams cover the whole city tightly and will be useful for reaching e.g. Warsaw Uprising Museum, Royal Łazienki, Wilanów, Invisible Exhibition (more about it here) or National Stadium. Lines numbers starting with 1, 2 or 3 are regular ones, 4 or 5 - rushed ones, 7 and 8 - suburban. Local trains provide connection with suburbia; there are few operators (SKM, KM WKD) and main rail hub is Warszawa Centralna/ Warszawa Śródmieście (central railway station).

At night.
Buses, trams and trains operate generally between 5 a.m. until 11 p.m. Beyond these hours there are 43 night buses lines running, reaching not only all Warsaw districts but also suburbia. Signage of night buses always starts with "N". It is important to know that they stop on bus stops on demand - you need to wave your hand when you see a bus arriving at a bus stop.

Subway operates from 5 a.m. until:
  • Sunday - Thursday: 12:10 a.m. (last train leaving from Kabaty and Młociny)
  • Friday - Saturday: 2:30 a.m. (last train leaving from Kabaty) and 2:45 a.m. (last train leaving from Młociny)
Warsaw is divided into zones 1 and 2 in terms of public transportation ticket prices. As tickets for zone 2 are significantly more expensive than dedicated to zone 1 only, always make sure that you are buying appriopriate ticket. Most probably you will not need tickets for zone 2 because it covers pretty distant, suburban areas, rarely visited by tourists. As I've written above, buses with numbers starting with 7 and 8 are suburban but unless you cross the border of second zone, you can travel in those buses with zone 1 tickets.

As per March, 2015 types and prices of available single and short term tickets ar as presented below:
  • 20 minute ticket (unlimited number of journeys for a period not exceeding 20 minutes), zones 1 and 2: 3,40 PLN
  • Single fare transfer ticket (unlimited number of journeys for a period not exceeding 75 minutes), zone 1: 4,40 PLN
  • Single fare transfer ticket (unlimited number of journeys for a period not exceeding 90 minutes), zones 1 and 2: 7,00 PLN
  • One-day ticket (unlimited number of journeys for 24 hours from its validation), zone 1: 15 PLN
  • One-day ticket (unlimited number of journeys for 24 hours from its validation), zones 1 and 2: 26 PLN
  • Weekend ticket (unlimited number of journeys from 7:00 p.m. on Friday till 8:00 a.m. on Monday), zones 1 and 2: 24 PLN
  • Group weekend ticket (entitles a group of up to 5 people to unlimited number of journeys from 7:00 p.m. on Friday till 8:00 a.m. on Monday), zones 1 and 2: 40 PLN
All tickets need to be validated immediately after boarding bus/tram/train or at the entrance gate before entering subway platform. For short term tickets validation is to be performed during first journey.

Public transportation is free for people over 70 years old. Unfortunately there is no discount for children, with a single exception for students possessing a valid ISIC card (entitlement to 50% discount).

The easiest way of purchasing ticket is using a stationary ticket machine. They are located in the whole city: at every subway station, Chopin Airport, railway stations, many of bus and tram stops. All machines are able to function in English and it is possible to pay either by cash or by card.
Ticket machines are also located in all suburban trains and part of buses/trams (e.g. you will for sure find one in bus no 175 running to/from Chopin Airport). The tricky part is that you never know whether the vehicle you are planning to board does possess a machine or not (with the exception of bus no 175), so it's better to purchase ticket in advance. Teoretically also drivers sale ticket on board but they offer only one type of ticket, you always need to have the exact amount of money and they may refuse sale if they are too occupied. All in all - they are generally reluctant to do it.
If you prefer eye contact you may buy tickets in one of stationary points of sale: ZTM passenger service points or post offices. Finding a closest tickets sale point is possible here.

Useful links
  • jakdojade.pl - the best journey planner. If you need to find the easiest way of travelling from one point to another in Warsaw use it to schedule your trip, check which means of transport to use and where to change. Available in English.
  • ZTM - official portal of municipial public transportation. timetables, search engine, maps of day and night transportation, ticket tariffs. There is also a subpage that gathers all information regarding getting to/from the airport. Available in English.
Good to know: major colors of public vehicles are yellow and red, it's really difficult to overlook them!

Source: ZTM Warszawa

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