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.
The Public Transport Authority (ZTM) 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.
Trams can be numbered from 1 to 79. Numbering from 1 to 39 covers basic connections. Lines from 40 to 49 run at certain times of the day or week (e.g. during peak traffic hours). Trams with other numbers run 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-4”.
All tickets are valid on trams. Trams stop at all stops on a given route. All stops are permanent.
Among the connections of Warsaw Public Transport, there are several types of bus lines:
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. Rules for traveling by night transport.
The same ZTM tickets are valid for all buses described above, including respect of the validity zones.
Local “L” lines
Buses of lines beginning with the letter “L” run in neighboring municipalities, most of them only in zone 2. Due to the different scope of valid tickets, they are distinguished by blue painting. The line operators issue tickets, but also honor selected ZTM tickets:
- the weekend tickets,
- the weekend group tickets,
- the senior ticket,
- tickets for children from families with three children.
These buses accept all the reduced and free travel entitlements applicable to WTP vehicles.
Occasionally, special lines with markings from 900 to 999 or cemetery lines marked with the letter “C” and numbers (e.g. C25) are launched.
Two metro lines connect Śródmieście with Bielany, Ursynów, Bemowo and Targówek districts withe the possible change at Świętokrzyska station. The metro runs runs approximately from 5 to 1. On the nights from Friday to Saturday and from Saturday to Sunday, the metro operation is extended until 3.00 with a fixed frequency of about 15 minutes. Due to the prevailing coronavirus pandemic, the night subway operation is suspended.
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”.
To get to the metro platform, you need to validate the ticket and go through the gate or take the elevator and validate the ticket in a validator. All tickets and allowances from the ZTM tariff are valid in the metro ticket zone.
Passengers with tickets purchased in a vehicle or a mobile application can get to the platform using wide baggage gates – they are equipped with QR code readers that allow you to open the gate.
Trains of Szybka Kolej Miejska – SKM (Urban Rapid Rail) are marked with the letter “S” and a number. The SKM trains painted in the characteristic red, yellow and cream colors have a full range of ZTM tickets and the right to reduced and free travels.
The routes of SKM run in two zone tickets. For travelling outside Warsaw, you should use tickets valid in zone 2.
Only ZTM tickets are valid on SKM trains. Tickets of other railway carriers, such as Koleje Mazowieckie, PKP Intercity, Przewozy Regionalne, etc., are not valid.
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 area of the agglomeration where ZTM lines operate is divided into two tariff zones marked with numbers 1 and 2. The first zone (1) covers the area of Warsaw and selected municipalities. It happens that the zone occasionally extends beyond the city limits (to the so-called border stop). The second zone (2) comprises towns and villages outside Warsaw.
Passengers may travel through zone 1 using tickets valid in zone 1. In zone 2 only tickets dedicated for zones 2 are acceptable. The zone border is marked by border stops.
At the latest when crossing the border of zones, the passenger should have a valid ticket to travel in a specific zone.
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 the WPT vehicles are valid only tickets emitted by ZTM. Such tickets can be purchased in the sales network including, among others Passenger Service Points, post offices, marked points of sale and ticket 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) including the name, surname and a photo of the owner.
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).
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.
It often happens that the lines are fully operated with low-floor rolling stock. This information can be found in the timetable under the departure times. Otherwise, low-floor courses may be marked with a box around the departure time, and high-floor courses may be marked with a dot next to the departure time.
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.
After the vehicle has come to a halt passengers should open the door themselves, by pressing the button placed next to the door or on the door.
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 SKM trains. Tickets which havs 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.
Bilety tzw. kartonikowe kasuje się przez włożenie do oznaczonego otworu kasownika. Aby bilet został skasowany należy go delikatnie popchnąć i puścić. Skasowanie biletu jest potwierdzone sygnałem dźwiękowym i zaświeceniem zielonej lampki na kasowniku.
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 Warsaw City 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 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 applications on mobile devices. After buying the ticket, you need to activate it by scanning a QR-code.
Each vehicle has information about the line number, route and stops. They are placed in the form of a static list or electronic LCD list. Inside the vehicles, there are also displays presenting the line number, route, and information about the current and next stop.
Information about stops on all buses (except the “L” lines), most trams and SKM trains is also given in the form of voice messages.
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.
People with tickets purchased in a vehicle or a mobile application can get to the platform using wide baggage gates – they are equipped with QR code readers that allow you to open the gate.
Passengers with the right to free travel can also use free tickets in the form of a cardboard ticket, available in the Passenger Service Points.
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.
On the platform, the directions of trains are marked with large boards and on displays counting down to the next course. The same directions are also found on 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 newer 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 vehicles operated on ZTM lines. Luggage may not obstruct passageways, expose to damage or dirt, or pose any threat to safety. It is not allowed to place luggage or animals on seats.
Small pets should be transported in dedicated baskets, cages or boxes. Dogs should be muzzled and kept on a leash.
The “Park & Ride” car park system enables free parking of vehicles by people who present a valid ticket upon leaving the car park:
- the weekend tickets,
- the weekend group tickets,
- the senior ticket,
- tickets for children from families with three children
- a document entitling to free travel.
In case of any questions and suggestions, feel free to contact the City Contact Center at any time: (22) 19115
It is also possible to contact via the website warszawa19115.pl