Public transport step by step
This brief guide for passengers outlines the basic rules related with the functioning of and using the Warsaw public transport. These rules described herein are meant to assist passengers, however they do not release anyone from the obligation to read the additional provisions and the regulations.
Zarząd Transportu Miejskiego is an organiser of public transport within the territory of Warsaw. Selected lines (i.e. zone lines) extend also beyond the borders of Warsaw, thus creating a network of convenient connections at the territory of Warsaw conurbation.
ZTM is responsible, among others, for the arrangement of routes, timetables, sale of tickets and ticket inspections.
What we offer is a combination of tram, bus, metro and urban rapid rail lines. As a result of our cooperation with rail carriers, ZTM tickets are also valid on trains serving the Warsaw conurbation.
Tram lines are numbered from 1 to 79. Numbers 1-39 include basic connections.
Tram lines with numbers from 40 to 49 run at specific times of day or week (e.g. during traffic peak hours).
Trams with other numbers are operated on special or substitute lines.
In case of unanticipated service interruptions (breakdown/failure) or planned works, the tram traffic may be suspended and substitute means of transport made available. Substitute buses are marked with the letter “Z” or “Z” along with a number, e.g. “Z-2”.
All tickets are valid on trams. Trams stop at all stops on a given route. All stops are permanent.
Standard bus lines are numbered from 101 to 399. The range 300-399 includes seasonal lines which are activated at specific times of days of week. These buses stop at all stops (with few exceptions).
Lines 400-599 are bus fast lines with fewer stops. Lines numbered 400-499 run at selected times of day or week.
Lines marked with the letter “E” along with a number, e.g. “E-4” are express lines which enable smooth travel between remote districts and the centre of the city (Śródmieście). These lines service only selected stops, therefore it is worth checking the map of a given line first.
Zone lines are numbered 700-899, out of which the range 800-899 includes seasonal lines. Selected and marked stops located along their routes constitute border stops – the ones marking borders of ticket zones.
Night lines buses are marked with the letter “N” followed by a number, e.g. “N11”. Selected night lines are, at the same time, zone lines– their routes run across Zone 1 and 2. see more.
On all buses described above the same tickets are valid.
On an occasional basis special bus or tram lines numbered 900-999 are activated, or cemetery lines marked with the letter “C”, followed by numbers, e.g. “C25”.
The two metro lines connects the districts of Bielany, Ursynów, Wola and Praga-Południe via the city center with a possible change on Świętokrzyska station. Metro runs based on approximate hours from 5 a.m. to 1 a.m. On Friday and Saturday nights metro runs until 3 a.m. with a stable 15 minute frequency.
In case of unanticipated service interruptions (e.g. breakdown) or planned works the metro service may be suspended, and substitute means of public transport made available. Substitute buses or trams are marked with a pictogram or the letter “Z”.
Rules for using the metro service differ slightly – see more.
Trains of Szybka Kolej Miejska – SKM (Urban Rapid Rail) are marked with the letter “S” and a number. The route of SKM runs across two zone tickets. Rules for paying fares are the same as in the case of zone bus lines.
Day lines run between 5 a.m. – 11 p.m. Night lines run within the remaining hours. Organisation of public transport at night differs from its standard arrangement. The basic connections make up a network of lines joining remote districts with the centre, serviced every 30 or 60 minutes. The routes communicate at stops by the Dworzec Centralny station (Central Railway Station) which enables passengers to change the line. Buses depart 15 and 45 minutes after each full hour.
Lines numbered N01-N09 are bypass line which do not run across Śródmieście (the centre of Warsaw), however they communicate with basic lines at selected stops.
Lines numbered N50-N59 are peripheral supplementary lines operated on selected weekdays. These lines also communicate with basic lines which enables passengers to reach the centre easily after changing the line.
Fares on night buses are the same as for day lines, including the fare for travelling through two tickets zones.
The conurbation area served by ZTM lines is divided into two tariff zones marked as 1 and 2. The first zone (1) encompasses the territory within the borders of Warsaw and occasionally goes slightly beyond the boundaries of Warsaw (to thr border stop), and the second one (2) – locations outside the borders of Warsaw.
Passengers may travel through Zone 1 having all types of ZTM tickets. In Zone 2 only tickets dedicated for Zones 1 and 2 are acceptable. The zone border is marked by border stops.
Passengers are obliged to have tickets valid for travel through a particular zone on crossing the zone border at the latest.
Selected bus lines cross the border of ticket zones – the ones marked with numbers 7xx, 8xx and Lxx, as well as the lines of urban rail S1, S2, S3 and S9. The border of ticket zones is also applicable when travelling by other trains, as specified in the “Integrated ticket” offer.
How to buy a ticket
In vehicles of ZTM lines only tickets issued by ZTM Warszawa are acceptable. Such tickets may be bought in the sale network, including among others, Passenger Service Centres, post offices, authorised points of sale and ticket vending machines.
Single fare tickets, time-limit tickets and short-term tickets are sold on a carrier in a form of a paper card with a magnetic strip. Long-term tickets are coded on Warszawska Karta Miejska (Warsaw City Card). Until 31.12.2009 personal tickets may be coded on plastic cards on which the holder should place their name, surname and the holder’s identity card number themselves – otherwise the ticket is deemed invalid. However new cards have already been introduced, on which the name and surname, along with the photo is placed by ZTM.
ZTM stops are marked with traffic signs with a bus or tram pictogram. The sign is usually placed either on a pillar or the shelter (roof).
There is the stop name indicated clearly on each stop. A number of stops with the same name located around the same area makes up a group. Each stop in such a group is marked with a different two-digit number preceding its name.
Markings of lines servicing a given stop are also indicated at that stop. A number of stops of selected bus lines are only on-demand stops. The line is marked as “na żądanie” (on-demand stop), and the number surround is green (for day lines).
In order to board the bus at the on-demand stop, signal your intent to the driver early enough by raising your hand in an apparent manner.
There are timetables available at stops indicating times of departures, and listing all stops on the route. Temporary timetables, related with, e.g. diversions, are printed on yellow paper.
There are is external line marking on all vehicles, placed at the front, rear and sides. In vehicles with electronic displays at the front, information on the line destination is placed next to the line marking. The displays also inform about any service changes or shortened services.
On the side of each vehicle, apart from the line marking, there is also an information plate available listing the main streets along the route.
In the case of lines whose route has been temporarily changed, the line marking and the changed service are marked with yellow. Additional information on changes is also provided on sheets attached below the information plates.
After the vehicle has come to a halt, especially in autumn and winter, passengers should open the door themselves, by pressing the button placed next to the door or on the door.
The door may also be opened by passengers during the summer season in vehicles equipped with air-conditioning.
Passengers may board the vehicle through all doors. Passengers wishing to board the vehicle should first give way to those leaving the vehicle. Boarding the vehicle after the signal is forbidden.
In the vehicle
There is a validating machine to be found by the door on all buses, trams, and urban rapid rail. Tickets which have not been validated earlier, i.e. each single fare ticket or unused seasonal or time-limit ticket, should be validated immediately after boarding the vehicle.
Paper tickets are validated by putting them into the opening on the validating machine. In order to have the ticket validated, push it gently into the machine and then let it go freely.
Validation of the ticket is confirmed by a short beep and illumination of a green light on the validating machine. Tickets encoded on the proximity cards are validated by bringing the card close to the marked area on the validating machine. Validation is also confirmed by a short beep and illumination of the green light on the validating machine.
Passengers who have not bought their tickets before boarding the vehicle may use the ticket vending machines. They can be found in all buses (except “L” lines), trams and Rapid Urban Railway (SKM) trains. The location of the ticket machine in the vehicle is indicated by special pictograms at the entrance. In addition tickets can be bought through plications on mobile devices (SkyCash, mPay, moBilet and jakdojade.pl).
Information on the line number, route and stops is available in every vehicle. It is placed on the right-hand side on an information plate. In selected trams this information is provided on a display inside.
In new vehicles there are also electronic displays available which provide information on the line number, route and on the current and the following stops.
In selected trams and buses information about the stops is also provided as automatic voice announcements.
Information on on-demand stops is provided inside the vehicle. A passenger wishing to leave the vehicle at such a stop should signal their intent to the driver by pressing the dedicated “stop” or “na żądanie” (“on-demand“) button.
Entrances to underground stations are marked with a pictogram and the name of the station. There are entrance gates installed before the very entrances to the underground platforms. Likewise the validating machines, the gates have a dedicated area for bringing proximity cards and a small opening for ticket validation. Entering the platform is allowed only for those passengers who have valid tickets. Tickets should be validated before entering the platform area. Tickets which have already been validated are used for opening the gates – they should be used in the same way as unvalidated tickets.
There are validating machines installed also beside the lifts – similar to those available on buses and trams. The lifts are to assist passengers with impaired mobility or those having larger amount of luggage in entering the underground platform.
Destinations of the metro trains are given on large display boards on the platforms. They are also indicated at the front of the trains.
Inside the carriages above the sliding doors there is a map of lines with individual stations marked. Names of subsequent stations are given in advance as automatic voice announcements, and in selected vehicles they are also provided on electronic displays.
There is no need to validate the ticket on leaving the underground station – the gates open freely.
Passengers may transport their luggage or animals for free in all vehicle operated on ZTM lines. Luggage may not obstruct passageways, expose other passengers to damage or dirt, or pose any threat to passengers’ safety. It is not allowed to place luggage or animals on passengers’ seats.
Small pets should be transported in dedicated baskets, cages or boxes. Dogs should be muzzled and kept on a leash.