Buying bus tickets in Warsaw.
Bus tickets are easy to buy in Warsaw. The city has an extensive public transport system and there are more than 1500 buses that operates in and around the city. They run between 5:00 and 23:00 and after that you have night buses on most routes, twice every hour.
If it is your first visit to Warsaw, then you probably would like to know where to purchase bus tickets. There are various options but the easiest is to purchase a ticket from one of the ticket machines. I was pleasantly surprised to see ticket machines close to each bus stop. Ticket machines are in English and they accept Credit Cards or cash. They cannot be missed and has a sign that reads “Bilety”. If you purchase the ticket in English, then the translation will also be printed on the ticket. That comes in very handy, especially if you don’t speak Polish.
Tickets can also be purchased at some kiosks that bears a green and yellow RUCH logo or anywhere where it says Bilety. We found it difficult to purchase bus tickets at the Kiosks because most of the time they did not have change or did not understand us. Tickets are valid to use on the Metro, Bus or tram.
Single tickets can also be purchased directly from the driver if you are on a bus or tram. You must have the correct amount otherwise they will not help you.
Validating the bus ticket and a word of caution.
Buses are fitted with a validating machine also known as a Kasowniks. Once you board the bus, it is very important to have your ticket validated. The ticket is fitted with a magnetic strip and once inserted into the machine, a time and date stamp is printed on it. A standard ticket entitles a person to travel on the bus for a period not exceeding 120 minutes. This means that you cannot get off the bus and board another with the same ticket – if you purchased a single ticket. If you are on the Metro then the ticket must be validated before you board and obviously you are entitled to travel with a single ticket inside the metro until you reach the end of the line.
It is also important to know that you don’t need to purchase an additional ticket for luggage. Most buses have space for luggage and we never had any problems travelling with our luggage.
I have mentioned that you need to exercise caution when using the buses in Warsaw. It is very easy to board a bus without paying or without validating your ticket but you are taking a big risk. We were subject to two inspections during a 3 day visit to Warsaw. Inspectors with plain clothes board the bus and check tickets. They work in pairs of two and it is impossible to escape. Hefty fines are being levied.
You can never be too careful.
We met a couple on a bus that received a fine. When they boarded the bus the driver did not have change and they decided to stay on the bus. Inspectors got in and they received a fine that had to be paid there. No excuses and no running away. We were busy speaking to them when the same inspectors boarded our bus and immediately recognized them. They jokingly asked if they have tickets. The couple took everything in good spirits but they were out of pocket.
We were told that locals often try to bargain with the inspectors to bring the price down. Please note that it is within your rights to ask for identification as these inspectors travel with plain clothes.
- More information about Public transport in Warsaw.