POLAND PUBLIC TRANSPORT - KATOWICE
COORDINATOR: KZK GOP
The Górnośląski Okręg Przemysłowy or GOP is the Upper Silesian Industrial District and includes the cities of Katowice, Chorzów, Bytom, Zabrze, Gliwice, Sosnowiec, Będzin and Dąbrowa Górnicza, as well as many smaller communities. Public transport in the area is coordinated by KZK GOP (Komunikacyjny Związek Komunalny Górnośląskiego Okręgu Przemysłowego) which contracts out bus and tram services to over 30 operators and also sets fares, which are common throughout the area. 24 hour, 48 hour and 5 day tickets are available from ticket machines (some are new "ŚKUP" machines which take notes and cards) and a handful of Passenger Service Points, which also sell tickets for 7 days and longer. KZK GOP tickets are valid on all trams and buses in the area (not the Lotnisko bus service to Katowice airport) but are not valid on trains.
MAPS - the online map shows all bus and tram services divided into several areas and can be saved as 12 separate gif files. There is no online pdf version of the whole map but a nice fold-out printed version was available free from KZK GOP offices when I was last there (it wasn't in stock at the Katowice tourist office at Rynek though). Online you can also select individual routes to be shown on a Google map: there is a drop-down list of routes where it says Pokaż linię na mapie.
TIMETABLES - timetables are available online listed by Route Number. You can click on individual times to find the end to end schedule for that journey. The list of Operators also has links to the routes run by each company. Timetables can be somewhat complex due to most (if not all) depot journeys being run in service; this applies to trams and buses. The entire KZK GOP timetable can be downloaded as a 10Mb zip file and unzips to a .chm (Windows Help) file, which you can browse offline like web pages. On Android devices you will need a CHM Reader app (a free one will do).
Operator of the entire tram system in the GOP area is Tramwaje Śląskie S.A. This extensive system is Europe's last inter-urban tram network. It is also famous for having Europe's last two-axle trams in regular operation: an N type tram from the early 1950s will be found every day of the week in Bytom on route 38, shuttling up and down Piłkarska on a 7 minute run. At the beginning and end of the day there is also a depot journey from and to Stroszek depot, taking around 30 minutes.
MAPS - the Tramwaje Śląskie website does not currently have a map of the system due to extensive modernisation and reconstruction in recent years which requires frequent changes to the routes. However I have a copy of the official map from August 2011, as well as one from 2004 which includes routes 8 and 25 (closed in 2006), route 12 (closed in 2009) as well as routes 1 and 4 through to Gliwice, which were cut back to Gliwice depot in 2009. An extensive Polish language enthusiast site is WPK, which includes a historical map with opening dates etc. A Track Plan dating from 1998 is available in gif format on the Czech website www.doprava.unas.cz.
TIMETABLES - Timetables are shown on the KZK GOP site (see above), and the Tramwaje Śląskie website has links to those same timetables. The tramwaje.wpk.katowice website (which may be experimental and does not seem to be linked to from the main sites) has timetables which also show the tram running numbers plus icons indicating the type of tram operated (Tramwaje Śląskie had a similar format on their website until 2012).
FLEETLIST - a detailed fleetlist can be found under the baza taboru link on the WPK website.
HERITAGE TRAM ROUTE - service 0 runs at weekends in Summer in conjunction with local enthusiast group KMTM which is based in Chorzów. In 2014 it runs on Saturdays and Sundays June 8th to September 28th (also June 19th and August 15th) between Katowice Plac Wolności (near the railway station) and Chorzów Stadion Śląski (handy for the enormous Park Śląskie also known as WPKiW). There are two different trams in service each day (usually an N-type from 1953 and a 13N from 1967) and the timetable runs all day, even into the evening. Depot journeys run in service beyond Katowice to Chorzów Batory depot. During the period of operation the timetable can be found on the KZK GOP website listed under route 0. Further information in English about the service and the historic trams used can be found on this page of the KMTM website. In previous years (certainly in 2013) the service ran on Sundays only from June to September on a longer route between Chorzów Metalowców and Katowice Brynów Pętla via Katowice.
ENTHUSIAST WEBSITES - English language websites featuring the Slaskie trams include Silesian Interurbans which has much historical information, along with photos and maps (though it hasn't been updated since 2006). Sadly the photos which documented some of the routes closed a few years ago and which were linked from this site are no longer available. The Hungarian enthusiast Hamster has some interesting pages in English about the Trams of Upper Silesia, whilst another English site with photos and comments is Richard's Tram Blog.
Principal Bus Operators in the Katowice (GOP) area are PKM Katowice (Przedsiębiorstwo Komunikacji Miejskiej Katowice Sp. z o.o.), PKM Sosnowiec (Przedsiębiorstwo Komunikacji Miejskiej Sp. z o.o. w Sosnowcu) and PKM Gliwice (Przedsiębiorstwo Komunikacji Miejskiej Sp. z o.o. w Gliwicach).
The extensive enthusiast website WPK (Wojewódzkie Przedsiębiorstwo Komunikacyjne) includes a huge amount of information about buses in the Katowice conurbation. Timetable links extend beyond the GOP area into the wider area beyond. The site also has fleet lists for all operators in the area. The initials WPK are significant as until 1991 all of the urban bus services in the area were operated by Wojewódzkie Przedsiębiorstwo Komunikacyjne, the largest of the Communist era undertakings (though divided into 11 operating units), before it was split into separate companies. A historical section of the WPK website has further details of the old company.
The long-distance bus station in Katowice has its own website - PKS w Katowicach S.A. Operators include Polski Bus (owned by Brian Souter of Stagecoach fame) which runs to Warsaw several times a day. There are up to four buses an hour between Katowice and Kraków via the motorway: Unibus leaves every 30 minutes from the PKS bus station, whilst INTER leaves from Katowice rail station (the ul. Andrzeja entrance on the south side). INTER also run hourly minibuses to Rybnik. There are also minibuses to Cieszyn and Wisła operated by Bus Brothers. The bus to Katowice Pyrzowice airport now leaves from the new underground bus station (stand 10) at the railway station - it has no route number but is called "Lotnisko" (airport); although operated by PKM Katowice, KZK GOP tickets are not valid, and the fare is high by local standards.