Since September 2015, Baku has started phasing in a prepaid card system called the BakıKart, which can be purchased at metro stations and at certain bus stops. There are two versions of the card – a plastic one costing AZN2 plus credit that can be reused, and a disposable paper one allowing up to four credits (ie four rides will cost AZN1). For now the system is only used by the metro and the newest red buses, but it is likely that the system will be extended in the future.
City buses cost 20q per ride. For most services you pay cash as you get off. However, the sleek new red buses only accept prepaid BakıKart credit.
Many Baku bus routes are shown in detail on www.gomap.az – click 'Avtobuslar' in the left-hand panel and choose the route. Most are accurate but some are missing, while others have since been changed or discontinued (notably buses 1, 90 and 100)
The Google maps app routefinder works fairly well in Baku and www.niim.az claims to give real-time info about the next bus arriving at any stop, though it often seems unduly pessimistic. Beware that routes seem to change every year or two and the maps don't always stay updated.
Some key stops as they appear on bus sign boards:
28 May Loosely interpreted to mean anywhere near the train station.
Axundov Bağ A triangular garden just north of Içeri Şəhər.
Azneft The big traffic circle directly southwest of the Old City.
Beş Mərtəbə Füzuli Sq.
M xxxx Suggests a stop near xxxx metro station.
MUM Handy for the western side of Fountains Sq.
Təzə Avtovağzal Main bus station.
Vurğun Bağ Vurğun Gardens, just south of the train station.
Bus numbers within Baku and to the Abşeron towns were correct at the time of research. However, a wholesale renumbering process is planned so while departure points are likely to stay the same don’t be surprised the bus you need has a new number.
The majority of taxis that wait street corners are not metered, many demanding around AZN5 minimum fare. However, the metered London-style cabs, introduced in 2011, are an exception with a flag fall of only AZN1 and very sensible kilometre rates. For longer rides call Taxi189 which charges AZN3 minimum for up to 3km, or AZN3.80 for 4km plus 50q per km. Pay 20% more for a plusher ‘bizniz’ vehicle. You’ll need to preorder by phone and they’ll quote the total fare in advance.
The metro links the Old City (İçəri Şəhər metro station) via the train station (28 May metro station) with a series of suburban stations, most usefully Koroǧlu, Qara Qarayev and Neftçilər metro stations, each with bus connections to certain Abşeron towns. Fares cost 20q per ride regardless of distance: prepay credit onto to a smart card (AZN2 deposit, refundable).