How to use public transport in Bucharest
With a population of close to 2 million people and over 200 km2, Bucharest is a pretty big place.
So is its central area which is filled with many interesting sights worth a visit. But how to make your way between all these spots or between your hotel/hostel without losing too much time and money? The answer is simple: by public transport.
Even though Bucharest has an extensive public transport network that includes almost all known means: buses, trolleys, trams and subway, we would recommend using the metro and we will delve in deeper with the reasons in the following paragraphs.
Firstly, the metro system is the fastest way to travel in Bucharest. At rush hour, it is much faster than any car on ground who according to statistics only travels around 5-7 km/h during these tricky hours. The center of the city is covered by several stations, who are set around 1-2 km from each other: Piata Unirii, Universitate, Piata Romana, Piata Victoriei.
Secondly, it is convenient. There are multiple types of tickets you can buy:
– 2 fares that costs 5 lei (2.5 lei/1 fare)
– 10 fares that costs 20 lei (2 lei/1 fare)
– the day pass for 10 lei
– the weekly pass for 25 lei
( 1 Euro = 4.65 Lei )
One fare means that you can go to any station in Bucharest no matter how far and the color of the line. There are no zones marked on the metro map, so the price of one fare is the same. Thirdly, it is easy to get around. Feel free to check the map of the metro network below or correlate it with a general map of Bucharest.
However, using the bus will be necessary when you’re going to the airport or coming from there.
At the moment, there is no metro station near the main airport of Bucharest – Otopeni, that is – and the best solution are represented by the two Express lines: 780 (Airport – Central Station Gara de Nord) and 783 (Airport – Piata Unirii, which is in the city center).
A fare on the express lines costs 3.5 lei and you can buy the ticket in the shape of a paper card from the small booths marked with the RATB name present in most bus stations. You will need to buy at least 2 tickets, worth 7 lei.
We only recommend using the bus or tram or trolley if you are spending a long time in Bucharest (at least a month) and need to go some places far from the center that are not reachable by metro. It’s true that travelling with them is cheaper than with the metro: 1.3 lei/fare, but they have some serious setbacks, which even puts locals off from using them.
The problem is that the overground means of transport have no clear schedule, so you don’t know if the bus will arrive in 1 min or in 20-30 minutes, which the wait frustrating. Besides this, they don’t have a special lane, so if there is rush hour, you may be stuck in traffic for as long as 1-2 hours, depending on your destination.
And as a final warning, not all of them have heating or air conditioning installed. But, if you need to use any of these means of transport, here’s where you can find more information. (http://www.ratb.ro)
The public transport works every day between 5 am – 23 pm, with night buses covering some routes during the remaining hours of the night. Most night buses start their journey at Piata Unirii as you can see in their list uploaded on the webpage of the provider RATB. http://www.ratb.ro/v_noapte.php
If public transport is not for you and you need to get somewhere fast and comfortably, than the taxis are for you. Click here for more details about travelling by taxis in Bucharest from our other article.