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Prague's major public transport operator is The Capital City of Prague Transport Company - Dopravni podnik hlavniho mesta Prahy, or DPP for short. It operates the metro (underground), trams, buses, the Petřín Hill funicular railway and the chairlift system at Prague Zoo. The network is quite busy and carries almost 3 million passengers daily.
The public transport in Prague belongs into the "Pražská Integrovaná Doprava" (PID, Prague Integrated Transport) and this allows you to use the following means of transport on a single ticket.
Public transport is frequent, punctual, clean and safe. The different types of transport are very well integrated. Everything is logically laid out and clearly signed making the system very easy to understand. On-board displays and announcements on metro trains, trams and buses make missing a required stop very unlikely. Some unfrequented stops on trams and buses are "request stops" (na znamení in czech, so look for that on the information displays and in the announcements). If you wish to board on such station, you just needto be visible for the driver, however if you wish to disembark, press the green button in tram (if there's no green button, the tram will always stop) and the red button in buses. Those are located on the doors or near them.
Although fares have increased rapidly in recent years they are still good value compared with other European cities and offer dramatic savings compared with taxis and airport transfer services.
The Prague Metro network consists of three lines designated by letters and represented by colour:
Line A is the most popular with tourists as it serves Prague Castle (Malostranska), The Old Town (Staromestska), Wenceslas Square (Mustek, Muzeum) as well as connecting with bus 119 to/from the airport at Nadrazi Veleslavin.
Line B connects with the bus 100 to/from the airport at its terminus Zličín.
You can transfer between lines at Můstek station (lines A and B), Muzeum station (lines A and C) and Florenc station (lines B and C).
Hours of operation are daily from 5am to 12 midnight. The time interval between train departures is approximately 2-3 minutes during the weekday rush hours and 4-10 minutes during the off-peak.
Most surface transportation in the City Centre and inner districts is by way of tram. The wide choice of routes and frequent stops make them a convenient choice for many journeys and they are a good way of seeing the city. In recent years low floor trams have started to enter service making trams a more practical choice for those with mobility problems.
Daytime operation is from 4:30am to 12 midnight. Special night trams (numbers 51 through 59) run on a 30 minute frequency between 12 midnight and 4:30am. The hub of the night tram network is the Lazarská stop in Nové Město.
Buses tend to serve only the outlying areas of the city and so are not used much by tourists. The exceptions are bus 119 which connects the airport with Nadrazi Veleslavin metro station on line A and bus 100 which connects the airport with Zličín metro station on line B. There is also a express service AE which connects the airport and the main train station for 60 czk one way. The daytime and night time operation of buses is similar to tram operation. Night time service is provided by buses 502-514 and 601-603.
With your PID ticket, you can use all regional (Os) and regional express (Sp) trains in the city limits of Prague. However, the train service is usually very unfrequent and not very useful to get to the usual tourist places in Prague, but they can be a good alternative to buses, if you're travelling further in the city.
Only the following ferries belong into the Prague Integrated Transport system
Mosto of them don't run in the city centre, so you're not very likely to be using them.
N.B. If you buy the 24 Kč or 32 Kč ticket and your luggage has dimensions greater than 25 x 45 x 70 cm, is a tube-shaped item longer than 150 cm with a diameter greater than 20 cm, or is a tablet-shaped item larger than 100 x 100 x 5 cm then you will need to buy an additional 16 Kč ticket.
Concessions - Children under 15 travel for a half price ticket.
Persons over 70 years of age travel free on Prague public transport but require to carry an ID card or a passport to take advantage of the free travel.
You can also buy a plastic travel card, which is a lot cheaper than opencard (20,- CZK) but you still need a passport photo and your ID. The open card is no longer necessary.
Passes are only worth considering if you are staying in Prague for more than a week, with the exception for "juniors" (up to 19 years of age), as these can get a discounted 30 days pass for 260, even though they have no discount for single ride tickets. Adult prices start at 550 czk for 30 days. 90, 150 and 365 day passes are also available. To take advantage of these fares you will need to also buy an electronic Opencard or a plastic travel card or pay extra for the flexibility of a transferable pass (i.e. one not tied to a single individual) - a 30 days transferable pass costs 670 czk.
Where to buy Tickets and Passes
1. The full range of tickets, passes, maps, timetables etc. are available at the following DPP Information Centres which sport multilingual staff:
2. Some Metro stations have a staffed window where tickets, and sometime passes, can be purchased.
3. Ticket vending machines at public transport stops dispense single tickets, but only accept coins in payment. (The vending machines at Národní Třída Petřín funicular and Nádraží Veleslavín also support payment by contactless cards, and the ones at Hlavní Nádraží and at the airport accept all credit/debit cards as well as coins)
4. An extensive agency network of newsagents, hotels, tour operators etc also sell tickets valid for up to three days.
5. If you have a mobile phone with a Czech SIM card you can purchase a 24 or 32 CZK ticket by SMS. Information on the format of the SMS and numbers are dispayed on every stop. You must receive the SMS ticket before you board the vehicle or before you enter the Metro (pass through the ticket validator line).
Validation and Inspection
All tickets must be “validated” which means that you must insert them into the yellow stamping machine inside trams and buses or at the metro stations when you first use it. Tickets must not be re-stamped when transferring services or starting a new journey within the validity period (you stamp every ticket just once). If you stamp a ticket for the second time it is considered an invalid ticket.
Passes for 30 days and above do not need to be validated.
Plain-clothed (or sometimes uniformed, particularly on the metro) ticket inspectors, identified by an official golden badge (holding it in their hand) and an ID card that they have to present upon request (the card must have the same ID number as the badge), regularly check passengers and are authorised to fine a passenger without a valid ticket up to 1500Kč (reduced to 800Kč if paid on the spot or in 15 days) so carry your ticket with you at all times. You may also be fined by 200 (100 on the spot) if you do not pay for your luggage (see above).
Ticket inspectors are uncompromising and won't let you go just because you are a tourist. You should know that they behave the same to locals. No exceptions. However, the public transport system is so clear and simple that it is no problem to obey the rules if you want to. You just have to buy the appropriate ticket and stamp it. Nothing else.