Quick Guide to Prague Public Transport
As Prague is one of the most visited cities in Europe and more than seven million tourists come there each year, the public transport system is not only important for the locals and their daily business but also for the visitors who want to see as much of the beauty and magic of the Czech capital as possible. Fortunately, Prague´s public transportation is usually described as one of the best in Europe: it is convenient, highly efficient, cheap, it covers the entire city and is tightly integrated into the broader system of transport in the greater Prague (PIT – Prague Integrated Transport). However, the system of fares and of using the tickets is not an easy one and can be quite confusing for both non-locals and Prague citizens (who usually use the pre-paid tickets).
Public Transportation System in Prague
The system of public transport in Prague has a history which is more than 140 years long and it consists of the subway system (called metro, in service from 5:00 to 24:00) with three lines, buses and trams (both day and night). It also includes some special components like special Airport Express bus, the funicular from the Old Town to the top of the Petrin Hill or several ferry services connecting two banks of the Vltava river. In general, the whole area covered by PIT is divided into many fare zones. Nevertheless, as long as you will stay within the city, in most cases, you should not worry about it and you will be OK with the basic type of the tickets.
Fares and Tickets
As mentioned above, the basic fare zone (although there is a formal division into zones P, 0 and B, the fare covers them all) covers the Prague itself, it means all the subway and tram lines plus buses numbered 100 – 299 and 901 – 930. The normal ticket is valid for 90 minutes but you can also choose the short-term ticket for 30 minutes as well as 1-day and 3-day tickets. When you are inside the paid area of the subway station or on board of bus and tram, your tickets can be inspected by ticket inspectors at any time.
There are several options how to obtain a ticket: you can buy it at a ticket machine (placed in all subway stations and some of the tram/bus stops) or at most of the newsstands. These paper tickets must be always validated in a validator (it is a yellow box) placed at the entrance to the subway or in the tram and bus. Be aware, the paper ticket is not valid until it is validated! Other options are to buy a ticket via the SMS. However, this service works with the local SIM card only. There is also an app (available for both Android and iOS) called „SEJF“ which allows buying public transport tickets in many Czech cities as well as many other small payments like chosen parking or entrance fees. It seems like the most convenient way how to pay for the tickets, unfortunately, the technical issues with the app are reported quite often.