Prague’s public transportation system ranks consistently among the best in Europe, and is far more popular than car commuting. The highly efficient and wide-reaching metro began in the 1970s as an effort to create an underground train system out of Hlavní Nádraží. Eventually, the underground train evolved into a plan for public transit to connect the city. Arcadis performed research for the London Centre for Economic and Business Research and ranked Prague 5th in the world for their attention to the environment, financial stability, and human interaction with the system.
Paying for Your Ride
Ticket prices are based on time spent in transit and there are no barriers to entry onto platforms or trams. The tickets for public transit cover buses, trams, the metro, and trains travelling within city limits (for example, the train between Smíchovské Nádraží and Hlavní Nádraží). The city uses an honor system, but uniformed and plainclothes inspectors check passengers’ tickets and write fines for those caught travelling illegally. For short-term tickets, make sure to stamp the correct side of the ticket, even if you have the time stamped, you can get charged a fine for stamping the wrong side, as people commonly try to get two uses out of a single use ticket. To avoid being scammed, make sure the officer checking your ticket first shows you their badge.
The Litacka is a green card on which you can put money towards your fare. The main office for your initial card is at Charvátova 41/6, but topping up of money on your account can be done at any PID office within the metro vestibules.
Caught without your long-term transit pass because you left it at home? Do not fear. When the inspector gives you the ticket, bring your long term transit pass to the transportation offices and the fine will only be 50 crowns, not the original 800 crowns. The date of the fine and the dates covered with your pass will have to match to be covered by this discounted fine.
Navigating Around the City
Google Maps remains the most user-friendly and up-to-date app for traveling by public transportation. Google’s Transit Partner Program incorporates transit routes into Google Maps, even during construction and street closures.
Along with the usual trams, buses, and metro line, transportation tickets can also be used for ferry rides across the Vltava and the funicular up Petrin Hill. The ferry system has 6 lines, two of which are open year round. The P2 ferry from V Podbabě to Podhoří provides an easy route to the zoo.
The funicular up Petrin Hill is located near Ujezd tram stop and riders need only to show their transit pass to get a ride up the hill. The ride has two stops: the first is halfway up the hill at a restaurant, and the second is at the top of the hill. It is a common mistake for first time users to get out at the restaurant and realize they have to hike up the rest of the way, so pay attention!
The metro system has a few details to look out for. In 2002, a flood devastated much of downtown Prague and several of the metro stations flooded from groundwater seeping in. It takes a keen eye, but look out for the small plaques stamped with “2002” indicating the water’s height during the flood. Most of them are visible within the escalator tunnels.
The Future of Prague’s Public Transportation
Prague’s transportation network is always improving and city planners work hard to ensure speed and convenience for commuters. A fourth metro line is expected to begin development and will connect areas in the south to Pankrác and Náměstí Míru transit stations. In the northwest, the current, overcrowded bus routes from Strahov Stadium will be replaced by a tram line to connect the students living in the nearby dorms to the Dejvice transit station.
American by birth and Praguer by choice, Caroline can be found enjoying Pho Bo at one of the city’s many Vietnamese restaurants or finding the best way to promote public transportation.