Prague - using Public Transport

Prague

Prague - mecca for the Tatra T3 tram

Using public transport in Prague is pretty easy. The metro, all the trams, all the red and white buses, and even the Petrin funicular, are operated by city-owned Dopravní podnik hlavního města Prahy. Tickets are transferable when you have to change, and can even be used on many of the local rail services operated by Czech Railways (ČD). Normally you buy your tickets from a machine or one of the information offices. Best value if you are making a lot of journeys are tickets for 24 or 72 hours.

An exception is the Airport Express (AE) bus service between the airport and the main railway station Praha hlavní, which is operated on behalf of Czech Railways. Normal public transport tickets are not valid on this bus, but you can buy a separate ticket from the driver. See the Airport page for further details.

Transport Map for Enthusiasts

Rail, tram and bus enthusiasts may find this transport map of interest, produced especially for this website in July 2015 and updated to July 2022. Where possible it shows opening dates, closed railways, and other items of interest. Older versions: 2015, 2018.

DPP and PID Websites

The operator's comprehensive website is www.dpp.cz, which is available in Czech, English and German. It features detailed maps; timetables for each tram, bus and ferry route; as well as fares information and where to buy tickets. Similar information is available on the PID website (Pražská Integrovaná Doprava, the authority which co-ordinates all public transport in the Prague region) but it also includes the large regional area surrounding Prague where zonal fares apply.

Fares and tickets

In Prague itself, so-called short-term tickets are available for four different periods of validity: 30 minutes (30 CZK), 90 minutes (40 CZK), 24 hours (120 CZK), or a 3-day ticket valid for 72 hours (330 CZK). All tickets are transfer tickets, which means you can change between modes, for example from metro to tram or bus or train or vice versa, as many times as necessary within the time limit. Included in this are local trains, night buses, and ferries (also the Petrin funicular with tickets valid for 24 hours or more). Tickets can be purchased from information centres at metro stations, yellow ticket machines at metro stations and some tram and bus stops, machines inside every tram (contactless cards only), and also through the PID app.

Monthly, quarterly and annual season tickets are also available from DPP enquiry offices. Of possible interest to tourists and enthusiasts is the monthly (30 days) transferable season ticket costing 1000 CZK, which does not require a photo or identity document. Cheaper non-transferable season tickets are also available aimed at residents, but these require a chip card and a photo. Full information is available on the PID website.

You must validate your ticket in one of the yellow validators when you start your first journey (near the doors on board trams and buses, or at the entrance to metro platforms). Note that you only validate your ticket once, so even the 3-day ticket should only be validated the first time you use it. The date and time stamped on your ticket when you validate it is the start time for the period of validity. You can therefore purchase your tickets in advance, so if you are staying for, say, four days, you could buy a three-day and a one-day ticket on arrival, validate the three-day ticket on your first journey, and save the one-day ticket for validating on your last day. Remember that the one-day and three-day tickets are valid for 24 and 72 hours respectively, so a one-day (24 hour) ticket validated at 1815 hrs on Friday will be valid until 1815 hrs on Saturday.

If you don't already have a ticket, there are ticket machines on every tram which only accept contactless credit and debit cards. You should buy your ticket immediately on boarding. The ticket is valid straight away and does not need to be placed in the validator.

Prague ticket machine

A Prague ticket machine

Discounts are available for children and seniors with appropriate ID, such as a passport. Children aged under 6 travel free; children aged 6 to 14 inclusive also travel free (half fare outside Prague). Seniors aged 60 to 65 travel at half price (but full fare outside Prague), except that there is no discount for the 3-day ticket. Seniors aged 65+ travel free within Prague (half fare outside).

Public transport in Prague operates as an open system, meaning that there is no need to show your ticket unless requested. You can therefore board trams and buses at any door, and there are no entry barriers at metro stations. However, you do need to remember to validate your ticket on first use. Roving inspectors are likely to ask to see your ticket, and hefty fines are imposed for travellers without a correctly validated ticket. On trams and buses ticket inspectors are likely to be in plain clothes and if you have any doubts about their authenticity you can ask to see their gold identity badge. At metro stations they are more likely to be in uniform and work in teams.

Where to buy tickets

Ticket machines are located at metro stations and principal tram and bus stops. They are easy to use and have instructions in English, but many machines only accept coins, not banknotes. Certain machines accept bank cards (e.g. at the airport and main station). You can buy 24-hour tickets from the machines as well as single tickets, but for 3-day tickets you may have to visit a DPP information centre or the ticket office at a metro station or railway station.

Information Centres: if you are arriving at the airport there are DPP information centres in both Terminal 1 and Terminal 2, open daily 0700-2100. If arriving at the main railway station (Praha hlavní), there is a staffed kiosk on the concourse (open 0600-2200), as well as ticket machines. The main DPP information office is at Můstek metro station (open daily 0700-2100). The information centres page on the DPP website has full details of locations and opening hours.

Railway stations: principal railway stations have ticket offices where of course you can buy tickets with coins or banknotes.

As well as the full range of tickets, the information centres sell a very nice detailed transport map (plán města Praha) and also have basic give-away maps, including an English version "Getting Around Prague: metro tram bus", which includes details of fares and how to use the system. A further free booklet has information in 10 languages. Sometimes there is also a small range of books and models aimed at enthusiasts.

Fare Zones

Prague

An older T3 tram showing the yellow validator and time/zone indicator

Travel within Prague including the airport: visitors to Prague don't need to worry about fare zones as the standard Prague tariff includes all metro and tram services, also urban bus routes 100-299, the funicular and ferries. Note however that the AE Airport Express bus is a special case and is not covered by the normal tariff. All stops in Prague are in zone P and you will normally see "P" displayed on board trams and buses next to a clock. Strictly speaking, tickets for Prague also include zones 0 and B which are border zones between Prague and the country area so you may see reference to your ticket being valid in "P+0+B".

Travel beyond Prague: an integrated fare system known as PID (Pražská Integrovaná Doprava or Prague Integrated Transport) extends well beyond Prague into the surrounding country area of Central Bohemia. The country area is divided into zones 1 to 12, stretching out to places such as Mlada Boleslav, Turnov, Kutná Hora, Dobřiš, Beroun, Louny and Roudnice nad Labem. When travelling from Prague to the country area, the Prague zone "P+0+B" counts as four zones, so a journey from zone P to zone 7 actually requires a ticket for 11 zones. A good value 24 hour ticket covering Prague plus the 12 outer zones (i.e. 16 zones in all) costs 300 CZK and can be purchased from many ticket machines as well as information offices. Tickets for fewer zones and shorter periods are available from railway stations and the drivers of suburban buses. A full list of PID suburban fares is available on the PID website.

Suburban Buses: on suburban bus routes (lines 300 upwards) you can buy your ticket from the bus driver if you don't already have a valid ticket. State your destination and a ticket for the appropriate number of zones will be issued. The ticket is valid from the time of issue and does not need to be validated by the passenger.

Train services: tickets for the standard Prague tariff area (zones P+0+B) are also valid on local trains operated by Czech Railways (ČD), up to the zone boundary. PID tickets valid in zones further away from Prague (zones 1 to 12) are valid on local railway lines as shown on the zonal map. Single journey PID tickets can be used on these sections of line as well as day and season tickets. The map also shows which stations have PID validating machines; if not you can validate on board the train (by machine or by the conductor).