Public transport has often intimidated many especially in a new place. However, public transport in Europe is easy, economical and environmental friendly. Unless you have a truckload of baggage and only travel wearing stilettos, do consider public transport anytime over taking an expensive cab or walking unnecessarily!
“Why should you take public transport in Europe?”
- With a myriad number of options of buses, metro, trains, and trams, it may seem complicated if you haven’t traveled before, but the fun in travelling lies in exploring the city the way locals do too. It gives you a peek into the local attitudes, dressing, and culture.
- It is in the public transport, that you might just get away from the hordes of milling tourists at key attractions who usually stay around these.
- Unlimited tickets provide you with unlimited hop ons and hop offs to public transport. So use these to take some picturesque routes and explore the city! For example, you can take Tram 1 along the Danube in Budapest or even have a boat ride! So, just sit back and enjoy the sights in comfort! And please do save your poor tired feet to be able to walk at museums, for exploration and for shopping!
- Last and not the least, of course, you would also save a lot of money using public transport. For example, a taxi from point A to point B would cost you at least 10 Euros and could go upto 40-50 Euros for the airport. On the other hand, public transport would cost you about 2.5-3 Euros for a single trip depending on the kind of ticket you choose. So, obviously, it makes sense, and all the more for solo travelers who may not be able to split the costs.
What you do need to keep in mind though is every city has its unique mode of ticketing and you need to check which type of ticket suits you.
“The ticket systems are confusing? How do you decide which ticket suits you?”
When you take a transport pass or ticket, evaluate the number of days you ll be using the ticket, the number of trips you will make during your visit and how many people are there in your group. Also children under 6 travel free usually, but it is good to check specifics for the city you are traveling to.
What are the types of tickets you should evaluate?
- The discounted bunch of tickets – At Budapest or Barcelona for example, one could buy a bunch of 10 tickets which would be cheaper than buying a single ticket.
- The day passes – One can buy 24 hour, 48 hour or 72 hour day passes in several cities. Some day passes have an expiry based on the time duration, and some expire at say midnight or 4 am the next day. So be sure of what you have. These are typically useful for tourists who might do more than 3 trips a day. And it obviates the need to buy tickets each time. In some cases, such as Berlin, you can validate the ticket once and use it for the rest of the day. In Amsterdam, you need to check in and check out each time you board and leave the transport.
- Single ticket – Single tickets for one use can also be used if you plan only one single journey, for example, arrival late evening and you don’t plan venture out again, or while departing the city. These tickets are usually valid for an hour or two of travel from first travel.
- Group tickets – If you are traveling in a group, check out the option of group tickets. These are often cheaper than buying single tickets or passes for everyone
- City tourist cards – Several city tourist cards provide easy access to museums and other attractions. These cards also come with free public transport through the validity of the card. So, if you are getting a city card there is no need for a separate ticket! Cool huh?
“Now I have the tickets. What is next?”
- Check for the rules of the ticket – Check the validation requirements. It may not suffice to just buy a ticket. You may have to validate it at one of the yellow or red machines at the entrance of the public transport. If you don’t validate it, you may be considered ticketless and pay a hefty fine if caught!
- Check if the ticket is applicable for all forms of transport or if it is only metro or bus or tram and board accordingly. Often, tickets for the airport are different from those used in the city, so check if your ticket or pass is valid for travel to and fro from the airport too.
- Use Google maps to find out best routes and use the easiest one possible. Google maps not only provides multiple options for public transport with recommendations on which train and direction and which stop to get off, but also provides you with recommendations with filters on least walking, least time etc.
Go and have fun! If you save plenty of money, do splurge it on shopping afterwards!