Bicycle & Scooter
- The Polish capital is mostly flat and easy to navigate, and cycle paths are on the increase. However, Warsaw drivers don't give a toss about cyclists and you’ll soon be following the locals' lead and sharing the footpath with pedestrians.
- Veturilo (www.veturilo.waw.pl) Public bike-rental system available from March to November. It's free to use a bicycle for up to 20 minutes, then the hourly fee rises to 7zł per hour for a maximum of 12 hours' use. Visit the website to register (10zł), and to find pickup and drop-off locations.
Car & Motorcycle
- Warsaw’s street surfaces are not the most well-maintained in Europe, so driving demands constant attention.
- The city's local government oversees paid parking on central streets. You pay using coins in the nearest ticket machine (parkomat) and get a receipt that you display in the windscreen.
- For security, try to park your car in a guarded car park (parking strzeżony). There are some in central Warsaw, including one on the aptly named ul Parkingowa, parallel to ul Marszałkowska.
- The Polish Automobile Association, PZM, operates a 24-hour road breakdown service (pomoc drogowa).
All the major international car-hire companies have offices in Warsaw, many based at the airport. Polish companies offer cheaper rates, but may have fewer English-speaking staff and rental options. One dependable local operator is Local Rent-a-Car, which offers a midsized Opel Corsa in summer for €48 a day, or €309 a week, including tax, collision damage waiver (CDW), theft protection and unlimited mileage.
- Warsaw’s metro system has two lines. The older and longer line (M1) runs from the southern suburb of Ursynów (Kabaty station) to Młociny in the north via the city centre. The newer east–west line (M2) runs from Rondo Daszyńskiego, west of the city centre, to Dworzec Wileński in Praga, though it's likely to be extended in the future. The lines intersect at Świętokrzyska station.
- Yellow signs with a big red letter 'M' indicate the entrances to metro stations. You won't miss the station entrances on the east–west line, with each giant letter 'M' made from coloured glass.
- Every metro station has a public toilet.
- There are lifts for passengers with disabilities.
- Riding the metro, you use the same tickets as on trams and buses, but validate the ticket at the entrance gate to the platform, not inside the vehicle. Trains run approximately every eight minutes (every four minutes during rush hour).
- Main routes operate from about 5am to 11pm, and services are frequent and punctual, though often crowded during rush hours (7am to 9am and 3.30pm to 6.30pm Monday to Friday).
- After 11pm several night bus routes link major suburbs to the city centre. The night-service hub is at ul Emilii Plater, next to the Palace of Culture & Science, from where buses depart every half-hour.
- On Friday and Saturday nights the Metro runs until 2.30am.
- Taxis in Warsaw are easily available and not too expensive, costing 8zł flag fall and around 2/4zł per kilometre during the day/night within the centre. A typical 10-minute ride should cost around 20zł.
- Beware of 'pirate' or 'mafia' taxis, which do not display a phone number or company logo – the drivers may try to overcharge you and turn rude and aggressive if you question the fare. They are becoming less common, but still occasionally haunt tourist spots looking for likely victims.
- All official taxis in Warsaw have their meters adjusted to the appropriate tariff, so you just pay what the meter says. When you board a taxi, make sure the meter is turned on in your presence, which ensures you don’t have the previous passenger's fare added to yours.
- Taxis can be waved down on the street, but it's preferable to order a taxi by phone; there’s no extra charge for this service.
Reliable companies include the following.
MPT Radio Taxi has English-speaking dispatchers,
All are recognisable by signs on the taxi's roof with the company name and phone number.
Tickets & Passes
- Tickets are valid on buses, trams and metros. Buy them at Ruch and Relay news stands, some hotels, post offices, metro stations and various general stores – look for a sign saying 'Sprzedaży Biletów ZTM'.
- There are ticket machines (automat biletów; instructions available in English) at metro stations and major tram and bus stops (coins, banknotes and credit cards). There are also machines on newer trams and buses (exact fare in coins only, or credit card).
- Tickets, timetables and information are available at ZTM information desks at several underground stations, as well as at Chopin Airport and Warszawa Wschodnia train station in Praga. Some of the more central information desks are at metro stations including Ratusz-Arsenał, Centrum and Świętokrzyska.
- Several ticket prices and packages are available. For most trips, a jednorazowy bilet (single-journey ticket, 3.40zł) is sufficient. It is valid for 20 minutes, including transfers between bus, tram and metro.
- For longer journeys, consider a 40- or 90-minute ticket (4.40zł and 7zł respectively). These tickets also allow unlimited transfers.
- If you’re travelling a lot, it might be better to buy a 24-hour unlimited transfer ticket (15zł). Another good deal is the weekend ticket (24zł), valid from 7pm Friday to 8am Monday.
- Note that all these tickets include night buses. Foreign students under 26 years of age who have an International Student Identity Card (ISIC) get a discount of around 50%.
- There are no conductors on vehicles. Validate your ticket by feeding it (magnetic stripe facing down) into the yellow validator machine on the bus or tram or in the metro station lobby the first time you board; this stamps the time and date on it. Inspections are common and fines are high (up to 266zł!), so don't take the risk of riding unvalidated.
- Watch out for pickpockets on crowded buses and trams.
Warsaw’s integrated public transport system is operated by Zarząd Transportu Miejskiego and consists of tram, bus and metro lines, all using the same ticketing system.