Prague - using Public Transport
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. Where possible it shows opening dates, closed railways, and other items of interest. Note that several tram routes changed in August 2016 and a revised version of the map is planned.
The operator's comprehensive website is www.dpp.cz, which has a lot of information in English and German as well as Czech (click on the flags top right). The website includes a range of maps (dopravní schémata) showing metro, tram and bus services. If necessary you can also find detailed timetables in pdf format either for whole routes (Hledáni podle linek) or for individual stops (Hledáni podle zastávek). You can also input your origin and destination to find possible connections - look under Find a Connection in the English version.
Fares and tickets
Since July 1st 2011 a simplified fare system has been in operation, with a choice of four different periods of validity: 30 minutes (24 CZK), 90 minutes (32 CZK), 24 hours (110 CZK), or a 3-day ticket valid for 72 hours (310 CZK). All tickets are transfer tickets, which means you can change between modes, for example from metro to tram or bus or vice versa, as many times as necessary within the time limit. Included in this are the Petrin funicular, night buses, and ferries. The DPP website has a full chart of fares in English.
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 immediately, 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.
Children aged 6 to 15 and Seniors aged 65 to 70 with appropriate photo ID travel at half price (but holders of an 'Opencard' travel free). There is no discount, however, for the 3-day ticket. Children aged under 6 and seniors aged 70+ travel free.
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.
Until the July 2011 fare change, fares in Prague had remained unchanged since January 2008. The 2011 changes included the extension of time limits, the abolition of transfer restrictions on the short journey ticket, and the withdrawal of the 5-day ticket. You can read more about the changes by viewing the 2010 version of this page (links may no longer work).
Where to buy tickets
Ticket machines are located at metro stations and principal tram stops. They are easy to use and have instructions in English. 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. If you are arriving at the airport there are DPP information centres in both Terminal 1 and Terminal 2. If arriving at the main railway station (Praha hlavní), there are machines on the modern concourse near the exits as well as a staffed kiosk. The main DPP information office is at Můstek metro station (open daily 7am to 9pm). The information centres page on the DPP website has full details of locations and opening hours.
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.
Most visitors to Prague don't need to worry about fare zones as the standard Prague tariff includes all metro and tram services, as well as bus services right out into the suburbs, including the airport (but not the AE Airport Express bus). You only need to pay extra if you are travelling beyond the immediate suburbs of Prague into the surrounding country area. The standard Prague tariff covers two zones, P and 0, the latter being a border zone between the Prague zone and the peripheral zones, which are numbered 1 to 5. Actually, zone 0 consists of two zones for the purposes of single tickets (0 and B) but counts as one for tickets valid for 24 hours or more.
If you are in any doubt about which zone you are in, there is a clock inside trams and buses at the front, which also displays the zone, so if you thought the "P" meant p.m. it actually indicates that you are in zone P. Since all Prague tram routes are in zone P, you will never see anything else displayed on trams!
The peripheral zones cover a large area surrounding Prague going out to places such as Beroun, Kladno, Lysá nad Labem and Milovice. An integrated fare system known as PID (Pražská Integrovaná Doprava or Prague Integrated Transport) operates throughout the whole of the area, administered by an organisation known as Ropid. The Ropid website has an English version, including maps and fares. A 24 hour ticket covering Prague (zones P,0,B) and all five peripheral zones (1 to 5) costs 160 CZK and can be purchased from ticket machines as well as information offices.
Tickets for the standard Prague tariff area (zones P,0,B) are also valid on local trains operated by Czech Railways (ČD). PID tickets valid in zones further away from Prague (the peripheral zones 1 to 5) are also valid on certain local lines as shown by the stations coloured black or blue on the zonal map. Single journey PID tickets can be used on these sections of line as well as day and season tickets. Note that a couple of local lines in Prague were not previously fully integrated into the tariff system (see the old map from 2009) but this was rectified at the beginning of 2011. If you are mainly using rail services, then you should consider the good value regional and national passes offered by Czech Railways.