The Tacoma area has a public bus system operated through Pierce Transit. Buses fare $2.00 per ticket, can be transferred to another Pierce Transit bus, and is valid for two hours. The ticket is bought on the bus and requires exact change. Day passes are also available for $5.00 and can be purchased on board the bus or online.

Sound Transit operates a light rail, regional express bus system, and commuter rail within the Puget Sound region, including Tacoma.  In downtown there is a short light rail, Tacoma Link, taking passengers between the Theater District north of downtown Tacoma and Freighthouse Square/Tacoma Dome south of downtown Tacoma, passing the University of Washington - Tacoma campus. It is free through September 2016 and runs relatively often. The regional express buses connect Tacoma to other cities throughout the region, including Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (locally known as "SeaTac") and downtown Seattle.  Sounder Commuter Rail runs from Lakewood, through Tacoma, to Seattle, with trips operating only during rush hours on weekdays.  Sound Transit fares are based on distance and can be found on the Sound Transit website.

Taxis almost always need to be ordered in advance. About half an hour of waiting time after a call is placed should be expected.

Transit users should be aware that transit routes are limited in Tacoma and cannot be relied upon for 24-hour per day service, and does not provide thorough coverage to the whole city.  Some neighborhoods can only be reliably accessed by private car (including taxi or rental car), because of lack of service.  Other neighborhoods, such as downtown, are best explored by transit, especially if travelling from Seattle during hours of heavy traffic.  Travelers considering using public transportation are advised to check the Pierce Transit and Sound Transit websites for detailed route maps and schedules to ensure that public transit will serve their destination on the day, at the time, and to the locations desired.

Sound Transit:
Pierce Transit: