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Buses and trams are Ghent basic means of public transportation. They will get you everywhere and it is very cheap to travel. There are single tickets that can be used on the bus or tram within the city limits for an hour since the time you had it validated. The traveler can buy them from the driver or from a vending machine located at several strategic spots in town such as the railway station and the central market square (you will have to validate the ticket by inserting it in a yellow box when getting in the bus or the tram).
It is more cost effective (and convenient) to buy a day pass or a three-day pass. They can be used on trams and buses. The pass can be purchased on the bus, but that costs more then when you buy it at the train station or at the Korenmarkt. Consider a 'museum pass' for 20 Euros. It includes a three-day pass and entrance to all major museums and monuments. It can be purchased in all museums and the tourist office.
To know about routes, stops and schedules, check out the public transport system website at http://www.delijn.be (the downside: it is in Dutch). Don't hesitate to ask the locals for directions.
Prices on the 19th of July 2012, when bought in a shop or on the bus:
single ticket: 1.20€ 2.00€
10-rides (city): 9.00€ -.--€
1-day pass: 5.00€ 7.00€
3-day pass: 10.00€ 12.00€
5-day pass: 15.00€ 18.00€
1-day child: 3.00€ 4.50€ (children between 6 and 11 y.o.; children younger than 6 travel for free)