All you need to know about Prague public transportation
Getting around Prague is really easy. Most places are within walking distance and the public transportation is simply amazing. We are quite proud of it here, as it is in the top 3 best public transport systems in Europe – and rightfully so! Many public transit specialists visit Prague to learn a thing or two. We understand that it might be a bit confusing at first, that’s why we have this information-packed article ready for you. Hop on!
Good news, everyone! In Prague, there is only one kind of ticket: a time ticket. We have 30-minute ones, 90-minute, 24-hour, and a 3-day ticket. All of them work for all 5 modes of transportation here: buses, trams, metro and ferries (yes, that is correct!). What is more, once you validate your ticket, you can switch to a different kind of transportation as you please. Easy, right?
The transportation system is very efficient and on time. It is not unusual to see a bus driver that is a bit ahead of schedule, so they sit at a stop checking their watch until they are back on time. If the clock in the metro says the train will arrive in 3 minutes and 14 seconds the doors will be opening then. This makes the time “thing” much easier.
Most places are within 30 minutes. That is a 30 CZK ticket – a bit over a US dollar or a euro. Longer times are available as well for a bit more. I suggest the 90-minute ones for 40 CZK if you feel like taking a tram to ride around and see Prague. Makes it very easy to explore!
You can also buy a one-day pass for 120 CZK. To be clear, you have 24 hours from the time on the stamp. A 3-day pass is available, too, for 330 CZK. You get the idea. If you are staying a while, monthly and yearly coupons are also an option. So, how to get a hold of one?
Buying a ticket
There are plenty of ways to acquire a ticket. Some hotels and hostels even sell them at their reception desks. That is where you should start, and if you are not that lucky, don’t worry. There is usually a yellow machine where you can buy them in the vestibule of the metro and next to tram stops. While most of these take Czech change only, the city is adding new ones where you can pay by card – they also have a touch screen and an English menu for your benefit! Nevertheless, it is always good to have some change on you, if not for the ticket machine, then for public restrooms. That is a topic for another blog post, though…
Another option to buy a ticket is tobacco shops that sell magazines. These can often be found near tram stops or in the metro. You can also receive the ticket via an SMS – just send DPT31, DPT42, or DPT120 (depending on the price of your chosen ticket) to the following number: 00420 902 06. While this might seem like the easiest option, you might encounter some problems due to your foreign sim card, so I do not recommend that. Some of the newer trams also offer the option of buying the ticket directly inside, with a card. But that is only a recent invention and you should not rely on this.
Finally, since Prague is a progressive city, you can now also buy tickets via an app called PID Lítačka. The app has a built-in map of the transportation system and it allows you to search for the fastest connection. This is definitely the best choice for those of you who prefer to stay online on your trips.
Using the ticket
Now that you have the ticket in hand, you are ready to commute. In the photo, you see a sample of the tickets. You want to have them stamped on the side that sort of looks like an arrow. If you are taking the metro, you will find yellow validators at the top of the escalator. Be warned that sometimes ticket inspectors are waiting at the beginning of the platform, so if you are on the escalator and have not stamped your ticket yet, it might be too late.
Make sure to stamp the ticket only once. If you have a day pass, it is for 24 hours after the stamp. The yellow validators are found inside the trams and buses. If you bought the ticket via the app, you can activate it online.
It is very important not to lose the tickets; the transportation service checks for them. On occasion, a person with a badge will ask to see your ticket. If you do not have it or it is expired, there will be an 800 CZK fine. You will also be fined if the ticket is stamped more than once.
Here is how I have seen this work: After a tour, a couple was going to the same area of town that I lived in. We decided to ride together to continue the conversation we were having. The revizor (as they are called here) checked us while riding the metro and unfortunately they had forgotten their day pass. This revizor could speak some English and asked them what station they were going to. He then rode with us to their station where we all got off and went to the nearest ATM. After they withdrew their money and paid the fine, he gave them each a 90-minute ticket. This allows a person to continue on their route.
As a point of interest, you will find that many of the metro stations are very deep. In fact, Prague boasts the deepest metro station in Europe. Náměstí Míru is 53 meters below the surface. This means it is one of the longest escalators in the EU. At 87 meters, this escalator takes 2 minutes and 21 seconds to ascend, 2 minutes and 19 seconds to descend. The area is worth a visit, too: there are many pubs and quaint little shops to visit there, as well as some beautiful architecture to admire.
Let’s not forget about a very particular part of the public transport system – the funicular on Petřín Hill. At the entrance, you will find a ticket machine with a special 60CZK ticket for a ride, but if you are already using a one-day or a three-day ticket, you ride for free! Definitely makes for an interesting perspective of the city, and a walk downhill will give you many panoramic views and picture opportunities.
To sum up, if you are staying a few days, our advice is to get the 1-day or 3-day pass. If you are going to pay as you go, be sure to have some Czech change. Don’t forget to stamp the ticket (only one time) and do not lose it. The transportation system in Prague is efficient, clean, and the buses and trams run 24 hours a day. Getting around Prague should now be a bit easier for you.
Many of our tours use the transportation system at least for a short time and your guides will answer any questions you may have about it.
May 13, 2021