Polish cities offer excellent public transport. Every large and medium-sized city will have a comprehensive autobus (bus) network, while some cities will also have tramwaj (tram) and trolejbus (trolleybus) systems. Warsaw is the only city with a metro.
- Public transport normally operates daily from around 5am to 11pm. Service is less frequent on weekends.
- Trams and buses are likely to be crowded during rush hour (7am to 9am and 4.30pm to 6.30pm Monday to Friday).
- Timetables are usually posted at stops, but don’t rely too much on their accuracy.
Each city has a slightly different system of ticketing and fares, so be prepared to watch what the locals do and do likewise.
Most cities have a fare system based on the duration of the ride, with a standard 60-minute ticket costing around 3zł. There may be slightly cheaper tickets available for shorter rides (20 or 30 minutes) and more expensive tickets for longer ones (90 minutes).
There are many common features across Polish buses and trams.
- In most cities you can buy tickets from machines inside buses and trams (automat biletów) using a contactless card payment. You don't get a paper ticket; if an inspector asks, allow them to scan the card you used for payment.
- There are also ticket machines on the street at major bus and tram stops. These accept cash (coins and notes) as well as cards, and issue paper tickets.
- You can also buy paper tickets from newspaper kiosks like Ruch or Relay or from street stalls around the central stops.
- Paper tickets should be validated in one of the little machines installed near the doors when you enter the bus or tram.
- Plain-clothed ticket inspectors are always on the prowl and foreigners are not exempt.
Taxis are widely available and not too expensive. Daytime fares are generally based on 6zł flagfall and 2.20zł per km. Prices are higher at night (10pm to 6am), on Sunday and outside the city limits. The number of passengers (usually up to four) and the amount of luggage doesn’t affect the fare.
- Avoid unmarked pirate taxis (called ‘mafia’ taxis by Poles), which usually have just a small ‘taxi’ sign on the roof with no name or phone number.
- You can flag down cabs on the street or order them by phone. It's best to order by phone if possible, as it cuts down the chance you'll get a rogue driver.
- Remember to carry small denomination banknotes, so you’ll be able to pay the exact fare. If you don’t, it’s hard to get change from a driver who’s intent on charging you more.