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Prague's major public transport operator is The Capital City of Prague Transport Company - Dopravni podnik hlavniho mesta Prahy, or DPP for short. It operates the metro (underground), trams, buses, the Petřín Hill funicular railway and the chairlift system at Prague Zoo. The network is quite busy and carries almost 3 million passengers daily.
DPP Public transport is frequent, punctual, clean and safe. The different types of transport are very well integrated. Everything is logically laid out and clearly signed making the system very easy to understand. On-board displays and announcements on metro trains, trams and buses make missing a required stop very unlikely. However, be aware that on the trams and buses the name of the next stop is announced together with the current stop which might be a bit misleading especially for those who don't understand Czech. On the metro, the next stop is announced after the doors are closed and the trains is on its way so it is more clear. Current stop is announced just with its name. The next stop is announced as "Příští zastávka - Staroměstská" that means "Next stop - Staroměstská". The announcements are automatic and recorded by professional speakers, so they are clear and as easy to understand as possible.
On the trams, you may sometimes hear long announcements describing diversions, however, these are usually clearly marked on the stops, usually with a map, so you can find out before you board the tram. Diversions are more frequent during the summer period (July, August) when the road works take place.
To find the optimal way to get somewhere by Prague public transport, use the IDOS (Transport Information System) website of the Prague transport company DPP: Idos on DPP.cz
As a tourist, you may have a problem finding out the exact names of the stops to enter into the IDOS system. Here are those, you may need (you may enter them without the diacritics/accents):
Airport - Letiště Ruzyně ( renamed Letiště Václava Havla)
Main train station - Hlavní nádraží
Holešovice train station - Nádraží Holešovice
Main coach station - Florenc
Wenceslas square - Muzeum (upper part), Můstek (middle and lower part)
Old town (Rudolfinum, Old town sq, Charle's bridge) - Staroměstská
Prague castle - Malostranská (metro A, hill climbing necessary), Pražský hrad (tram line, directly at the entrance)
Lesser town, Kampa - Malostranská
Lesser town, Charles bridge, st. Nicolas church - Malostranské náměstí
Petrin hill funicular - Újezd
Vyšehrad castle - Vyšehrad
Municipal house, Na Příkopě shopping street, powder tower, Palladium mall - Náměstí republiky
National theatre - Národní divadlo, Národní třída (5 min walk)
State opera - Muzeum
Exhibition centre in Holešovice - Výstaviště
Exhibition centre in Letňany - Letňany
Prague ZOO and botanical gardens - Zoologická zahrada
The IDOS system works increadibly well. All the diversions are included, so it is easy to find the way every time with the current data.
Although fares have increased rapidly in recent years they are still good value compared with other European cities and offer dramatic savings compared with taxis and airport transfer services.
The Prague Metro network consists of three lines designated by letters and represented by colour:
Line A is the most popular with tourists as it serves Prague Castle (Malostranska), The Old Town (Staromestska), Wenceslas Square (Mustek, Muzeum) as well as connecting with bus 119 to/from the airport at Nadrazi Veleslavin .
You can transfer between lines at Můstek station (lines A and B), Muzeum station (lines A and C) and Florenc station (lines B and C).
Hours of operation are daily from 5am to 12 midnight. The time interval between train departures is approximately 2-3 minutes during the weekday rush hours and 4-10 minutes during the off-peak.
Just before the doors of the metro train are closed, you'll hear an announcement that most of the tourists wonder about as it quite long. It goes: "Ukončete prosím výstup a nástup, dveře se zavírají." It means: "Please, finish getting on and off, the doors are about to close".
Most surface transportation in the City Centre and inner districts is by way of tram. The wide choice of routes and frequent stops make them a convenient choice for many journeys and they are a good way of seeing the city. In recent years low floor trams have started to enter service making trams a more practical choice for those with mobility problems.
Daytime operation is from 4:30am to 12 midnight. Special night trams (numbers 51 through 59) run on a 30 (20 on Fri/Sat and Sat/Sun nights) minute frequency between 12 midnight and 4:30am. The hub of the night tram network is the Lazarská stop in Nové Město.
Buses tend to serve only the outlying areas of the city and so are not used much by tourists. The exceptions are bus 119 which connects the airport with Nadrazi Veleslavin metro station on line A and bus 100 which connects the airport with Zličín metro station on line B. The daytime and night time operation of buses is similar to tram operation. Night time service is provided by buses 502-514 and 601-603.
Transport to Airport Ruzyně (Letiště Ruzyně)
1) At daytime
Regular Public Transport
Metro Nadrazi Veleslavin (green line, A), then bus 119 to Airport (Letiště)
Metro Zličín (yellow line, B), then bus 100 (travel time from the centre, e.g. Mustek approx 45 mins)
basic fare: 32 Kč
from Hlavní nádraží to Terminal 2, daily (6:35 - 22:05), intervals 30 mins (dept. from Hlavní nádraží at hr:05, hr:35). The stop is in front of the railway station building Hlavní nádraží in Wilsonova street. Price: 60 Kč/Adults, 30 Kč/Children aged 6-15
ONLY when going from the airport to Hlavní nádraží, the bus also stops at Náměstí Republiky and Masarykovo Nádraží - the return journey is direct with no intermediate stops
Public transport tickets are NOT VALID on Airport Express (although the bus looks the same as public transport buses)
The special fare tickets for AE can be bought from the driver or from the public transport kiosks in the arrivals hall of the airport. They CANT'T be bought from the ticket machines.
2) At night
Line 510 from the centre, no transfers (direct line)
leaves from. I.P.Pavlova: 0:31 – 4:31, interval 30 minutes
Where to buy Tickets and Passes
1. The full range of tickets, passes, maps, timetables etc. are available at the following DPP Information Centres which sport multilingual staff:
2. Some Metro stations have a staffed window where tickets, and sometime passes, can be purchased.
3. Ticket vending machines at public transport stops dispense single tickets, but only accept coins in payment with the following exceptions - the ticket machines at airport and main train station accept banknotes and all credit cards, and the ones installed at Nádraží Veleslavín and Národní Třída accept contactless cards.
4. An extensive agency network of newsagents, hotels, tour operators etc also sell tickets valid for up to five days.
6. The 24hours tickets can be bought at any Czech Railways counter - these are not to be stamped so inform the clerk when do you want the ticket validity to start.
Validation and Inspection
All tickets must be “validated” which means that they must be inserted into the yellow stamping machine inside trams and buses or at the metro stations when first used. Tickets MUST NOT be re-stamped when transferring services or starting a new journey within the validity period (another stamp on the same ticket, would make the tickets invalid). The tickets are to be stamped in the direction of the arrow printed on them.
Passes for 30 days and above are not to be validated.
Plain Clothes Ticket inspectors, identified by an official badge and a special identification card they have to show on request, regularly check passengers and are authorised to fine a passenger without a valid ticket up to 1500Kč (reduced to 800Kč if paid on the spot) so the passenger must carry the ticket at all times.