Getting Around Prague: Part I

The best way to enjoy Prague is to walk: the historic centre is compact enough to see on foot, and your Prague apartment is close to many of the main sights. However, if you’re tired of walking or want to travel beyond the centre, Prague’s comprehensive public transport network can help you get around easily. The system is run by the Prague Transport Company (Dopravní podník hlavního města Prahy), and is efficient, quick, user-friendly and relatively cheap. It comprises a metro and a network of trams, buses and funicular railway.

A range of tickets and short-term passes are available, and are valid on all forms of public transport in Prague, including suburban trains and buses.  Reductions are available on both tickets and passes. In the case of tickets, fares also depend on whether you are transferring between transport modes. The “transfer ticket” (přestupní jízdenka) is valid for 1 hour upon validation at peak times, and 90 minutes at off-peak times/weekends, and during the journey you can transfer as often as you like. A “non-transfer ticket” (nepřestupní jízdenka) is valid for a shorter period and a number of restrictions apply to it. As its name suggests, the transfer ticket does not allow transfers apart from changing metro line. Both types of ticket must be validated at the start of the journey; otherwise, you will be fined if you are subject to a ticket inspection. Bear in mind that ticket inspectors patrol public transport in the city centre very frequently, and ignorance of the system cannot be used as an excuse. With this in mind, it’s handy to know that Prague Public Transport Company allows you to buy transfer tickets by text (SMS jízdenka). All you need to do is send a message to a specified number.

If you intend to use public transport frequently, short-term passes are available for 1, 3 or 5 days; for longer visits, a 30-day pass is available. In most of these cases, reductions are available. Even if you stay not much longer than 5 days, the 30-day pass can save you money. Don’t forget that as of 1 July 2011, the prices of tickets will increase substantially, making short-term passes even more attractive. Other significant changes will also be introduced as of this date.

You can buy tickets from the yellow vending machines at metro stations, and some bus and tram stops. You can also purchase them directly from the staff at certain metro stations, and tickets and passes are on sale at the Prague Public Transport Company information centres, and street kiosks among other places.

For more detailed information about public transport in Prague see www.dpp.cz.

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