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Public Transportation Tips and Tricks

23 September, 2019

For many American students, studying abroad is their first experience relying on public transportation. Prague is lucky to be home to one of the best public transportation systems in Europe. Looking at the spaghetti-like mass of different metro, tram and bus lines on a map can be daunting, but it’s not as difficult as it looks to have a positive experience on public transportation—and to get where you wanted to go on the first try.

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  1. Plan ahead

Set yourself up for success ahead of time. Do you know where you need to go? Find the nearest station or stop. Use a website like dpp.cz or the PID Litacka app to plan your journey. Google Maps is a great way to find the station nearest you. Simply type in your starting point and the station you’d like to end up at and it will clearly outline your route with any line switches or interruptions you might encounter.

  1. Read the map the right way

This is where many people get confused, but once you know what you’re looking at, it’s simple. At the tram and bus stops, your current station is bold and underlined on the list of stops. Everything below it is where it will go. Everything above it is where it has been. The first column of numbers is the hour of day. The second (and typically larger) column is the minute. If you’re taking the metro, your current station is highlighted on the one-line map. If you’re going to a station on the right side of the highlighted station, take the track on your right. If it’s on the left side of the map, go to the left.

  1. Always have your transit pass on you

The Prague public transit system works on the honor system. You’ll notice that you buy tickets that are valid for a certain amount of time and then you never validate them again. This is because plain-clothes transit officers are often patrolling the trams, buses and trains at random, checking that everyone has a valid ticket. Get into the habit of always having your transit pass on you to avoid getting slapped with a hefty fine to be paid in cash on the spot.

  1. Be respectful

Just like there are nuances in every other part of life, there are unwritten rules on Prague’s public transportation. If the train, bus or tram is crowded, make sure that you give up your seat for elderly, physically disabled or pregnant people as they will have the hardest time remaining on their feet if the vehicle lurches or turns sharply. Offer to help parents with strollers. When it comes to chatting on public transportation, take cues from everyone else on board. If you’re on a tram that’s absolutely silent, this might not be the time to loudly bust out your next standup comedy routine. In general, avoid loud, English-language conversations on public transportation, as this makes you an easy target for pickpockets. Eating and drinking on public transportation is also not allowed.

Now you’re ready to ride the public transportation in Prague. UPCES Staff encourage students to use the transit options available to them to explore new parts of their host city. Public transportation provides countless options for adventures after class or on the weekends. We can’t wait to hear about the places you discover!