We know already, that buying and having a car exposes us to considerable weekly, monthly, and yearly costs. We also know how we can reduce cost of traveling with a car with LPG, if we drive a lot – especially between the cities. But what about situation, if You live in a city and you do not want to have a car – but still, you need a transport. What are the possibilities for public transport in Poland? Allow me to present the subjects covered in my post:

I will use in here an example of regular person who just finished studies and started work in a city. Let’s call him Jonny. Our Jonny is not interested about having own car yet. But still, he needs to get to his working place every day, which is 5 km away from his apartment. Since regular month has around 21x working days, we need to multiply 10 km daily by 21x, what results with 210 km.

How much would transport cost in case of a regular car? Taking into the consideration, that Jonny would has to start work at 8 am and finish at 4pm, he would need to travel in the peak hours, which means traffic jam. Regular car with petrol engine, uses around 10 liters of fuel per 100 km, so cost of getting to the work with a car oscillates around 94.5 zł per month. Off course, I am not mentioning here the amortization costs of a car (yearly insurance, maintenance, parking) or other duties related with owning a car. You might ask: “so, what is the alternative?”

Public Transport in the city

Public transport in Poland
Public transport in Poland

Monthly ticket for public transport. This form of transport allows you to travel through the whole city with all possible buses, trams, and subway (in case of Warsaw only) as many times, as you want. It would have cost you ticket price paid only once per month. I need to mention here, that price of a tickets and its variation depend on each city separately. Some of the cities offer quarter or even yearly tickets, which are more profitable from annual period point of view.

In other cases, ticket price might depend on the subzones and lines as well. I provided below table with a list for a public transport in some of the most popular cities in Poland. You might find in there links to main page of transport provider, page with price list and price for monthly ticket which I used here to give you a general overview which I will explain in the next part of my post.

Links with biggest cities

Agglomeration / city namePrice list
link
Full
price
Reduced
ticket
BydgoszczZDMIKP Bydgoszcz   80.00 zł   40.00 zł
Gdańsk, Gdynia, SopotMZKZG Trójmiasto 132.00 zł   66.00 zł
Katowice / ŚląskZTM Metropolia 134.00 zł   67.00 zł
KrakówMPK Kraków   69.00 zł   34.50 zł
ŁódźMPK Łódź   96.00 zł   48.00 zł
OpoleMZK Opole   88.00 zł   44.00 zł
WarszawaZTM Warszawa   98.00 zł   49.00 zł
WrocławMPK Wrocław   90.00 zł   45.00 zł
Price from November 2020

First question after seeing this table: what is the reduced ticket and how can I get it? So, reduced ticket price is eligible for children and youth, students, retirees, and a moderately disabled person. Buying reduced ticket requires certification which confirms your status. For example: you can’t buy ticket for retirees without pensioner card (legitymacja emeryta). Additional documentation will be checked at the checkout and by the controller.

In addition, in some of the cases, public transport might be for free. Majority of the cities give such privilege to children from large families, honorary blood donors, severely disabled people, and elderly over 70 years of age. Since all of this depend on the city council and their internal arrangements, I strongly recommend visiting webpage with price list dedicated for specific region.

Public transport in Poland, is it profitable?

Public transport in Poland - profit?
Public transport in Poland – profit?

As we are equipped with new knowledge, lets come back to the case of our Jonny – we said, that his monthly transportation cost between his apartment and work only, would be equal with 94.5 zł for fuel, if he would have drive a car. There are only two urban agglomerations which are more expensive than 100 zł monthly what is caused by big coverage of all area and public transport lines.

We need to remember that traveling with a public transport, allows you to use specific line as many times as you want! You know already that the price of the fuel is not the only cost which Jonny would need to cover in case of having a car – this is why public transport for our Jonny, would be definitely more profitable than driving a car. Not convinced yet? Let’s change Jonny’s conditions a little.

Jonny’s example

Jonny is living in Krakow and he moved to a different apartment which is 8 km away from his workplace. In addition, he started part time studies, what gives him a privilege to use reduced price of a monthly ticket but also forces him to travel twice per week 3 km to his academy. Let’s do the math first: 8 km times 2x (he needs to come back as well) times 21x days per month results with 336 km – this is work only. So, studies: 3 km times 2x and 6x (visits in academy per month) results with 36 km. 336 + 36 = 372 km monthly. The same car used in previous calculation and fuel price 4.5 zł per liter gives us 166.5 zł. Reduced price of monthly ticket in Kraków: 34.5 zł.

Off course it is not only about money. As everything, public transport has advantages and disadvantages. Own car gives you privacy and freedom to drive whenever you want wherever you want. On the other hand, public transport allows to read your favorite book while you are sitting in a bus or simply check the internet. It is also using dedicated bus lines, which allow them in majority cases to bypass traffic jam. Also – as I mentioned already: no issues with parking, additional costs or other responsibilities related with having a car.

JakDojade

Coverage of JakDojade (November 2020)
Coverage of JakDojade (November 2020)

But what is the most efficient way to plan my travel from point A to point B? This is the best moment to introduce JakDojade.pl – search engine which works very similar to google maps, with the difference, that it is checking all possible connections to chosen destination and navigates you with each single stop, shows different types of connection available as well as next and missed connections. It considers connections with a bus, tram, and subway. Application allows us to buy a ticket via app as well. Option is not available yet in every single city, but it goes in a very good direction.

Railway transport

Public transport in Poland - Railway
Public transport in Poland – Railway

I will get straight to the point in here. Railway transport in Poland is evolving very much nowadays – we are getting more modern trains, so the conditions of traveling are much better than 10 years ago. Actually, 10 years ago I was still using railway transport every day in order to get to school and it was tough, especially during winter period. Nowadays, situation looks much better as we talk about time of travel as well as comfort of the trip. But! Polish Railway transport has still a long way to go if we would like to compare it with France, Italy, or Japan.

As I said this, I need to mention as well that train traveling is most profitable in case of single person doing longer intercity trips. So, the biggest difference in here is the relation between cost and amount of passengers. Since the cost of the fuel in case of car traveling might be divided into number of the passengers, then the cost of a ticket will be multiplied by the same. I know what you are thinking right now. Would it be something for our Jonny? Let’s check the possibilities of a trip between most popular directions in Poland via car and the train.

Table with comparison

Trip destinationTransport typeDistance in kilometersCostDuration
Warszawa –> ZakopaneCar406     146.16 zł5 h 30 min
Warszawa –> ZakopaneTrain484.5        71.00 zł6 h 30 min
Kraków –> GdańskCar565     203.40 zł6 h 30 min
Kraków –> GdańskTrain621.1     199.00 zł5 h 30 min
Katowice –> WrocławCar192        69.12 zł2 h
Katowice –> WrocławTrain178.9        32.90 zł2 h 30 min

I took into the consideration the shortest trip time in case of a trains checked via “portal pasażera” (search engine which I will present in a next section) as well as the most optimistic variation of a road checked via google maps. The goal of this table is to show you general overview about the possible connections between the city, its cost and duration.

Table shows clearly that the duration of the travel is more or less on the same in case of a car and the train. Off course, we also need to take in to the consideration time which we need to take in order to get on the train station, but on the other hand, we get the possibility to travel and spend this time on reading, learning or for example remote working instead of driving a car.

As we talk about cost – if you would need to go alone, the price of the trip for one person is much cheaper than in case of paying for petrol. What is the conclusion here? Train might be a perfect alternative for car in case of plaining a trip outside of the city. It is an ideal solution for our Jonny, who travels alone and rather avoids any kind of responsibilities related with driving. But what are the best possibilities to find a proper connection and buy a ticket?

Search engine for railway – Portal Pasażera

As I mentioned already, Portal Pasażera (passenger portal) seems to be the best online portal with option for English language which offers possibility to find proper railway connection between the cities. It also allows you to buy a ticket online, for you or your family, choose the amount and size of baggage and use proper discount option. Application is available as well for mobile devices and offers all of the features mentioned above. App is easy to use and intuitive, in addition buying process supports multiple options for payment – BLIK, quick payment with card or PayU. This gives you possibility to buy the ticket directly via app on your phone, instead of via PKP ticket office. You might ask right now, “what would be the case if Jonny would like to visit his family in a country town, with no railway connection available?”

Bus Travel

Public Transport - Bus
Public Transport – Bus

Buses do not depend on railway and this is the main benefit of this type of a transport. They may bring you anywhere you want. New types of a big intercity buses allow us to have a comfortable seat with our own place for baggage, personalized light bulb, air conditioning and air ventilation. In addition, more and more of these buses have a toilet onboard which does not force the driver to stop on each single gas station. In general – trip with an intercity bus is as enjoyable as trip with a new generation of a train. I need to mention here, that except big intercity buses, you might have some experience with local vans, which can transport up to 8 people. Conditions of such travel are, *ekhm*, less attractive, but definitely cheaper. Let’s have a look on a table below:

Trip destinationTransport typeDistance in kilometersCostDuration
Warszawa –> ZakopaneBus40656.00 zł6 h
Warszawa –> ZakopaneTrain484.571.00 zł6 h 30 min
Kraków –> GdańskBusNot Available Not Available Not Available 
Kraków –> GdańskTrain621.1199.00 zł5 h 30 min
Kraków –> KatowiceBus19217.00 zł1 h 05 min
Kraków –> KatowiceTrain77.113.00 zł1 h 45 min
Kraków –> ProszowiceBus325.50 zł45 min
Kraków –> KatowiceTrainNot Available Not Available Not Available 

Few facts worth mentioning on the base of a table above.

  • Bus companies are rather avoiding long trips between the cities, which have a good railway connection.
  • In some of the cases, especially if a distance is lower than 100 km, bus might give you shorter duration of the travel than the train.
  • Price of both types are on very similar level.
  • If you need to get to smaller city or countryside, bus might be your only option.

e-Podróżnik

So, search engine for bus connections. e-Podróżnik (e-traveler), is an app which works on the same way as Portal Pasażera and allows you to check all types of a connection (also railway). There is a catch here. e-Podróżnik does not allow you to buy a ticket on intercity train connection, since this is a state transport company, which does not allow anyone else to sell their tickets. Worth remembering.

Summary of Public transport in Poland

Answering the question from the beginning of this post: “What are the possibilities for public transport in Poland?” I will summarize it with few bullet points:

  • Short distance in a city (daily and occasionally) can be done by urban buses and trams.
  • If you are planning to do the longer trip, train might be the best option.
  • Intercity buses might be the most advantageous type of a transport for extra-urban connections, especially in case of a countryside without railway.
  • If you travel with public transport, I highly recommend to “arm yourself” with 3x applications for such travelling: JakDojade, Portal Pasażera and e-Podróżnik.

I used “might be”, in case of trains and intercity buses, since as you saw in a previous section – travelling cost and duration of the trip may variate in case of specific points on the map. Therefore, you supposed to check all possibilities first, before making the decision. At the end: Yes, travelling through Poland without car is possible and if well planned, “might be” cheaper and more comfortable than in a case of 4 wheels.

It seems to be perfect solution for people like our Jonny. In a next post related with transport, I will present alternatives for Jonny in case of driving safely his girlfriend back home after the date and moving to a new place without his own car. Would you like be informed about it? Follow me in Social Media or join to the newsletter to stay up to date with my publications.

Would you like to read more publications about “Transport” on my blog? Click here. You may also get to main “Table of content“, which is available here. Do you want to stay in touch and get updates about new posts? Subscribe now.

wikipedia.pl, jakdojade.pl, e-podroznik.pl, portalpasazera.pl, ZDMIKP Bydgoszcz, MZKZG Trójmiasto, ZTM Metropolia, MPK Kraków, MPK Łódź, MZK, Opole, ZTM Warszawa, MPK Wrocław

Source

3 Comments

David Blanton · 18/02/2021 at 17:23

Could you write about frequent traveler, like if i have a job in Lodz and live in Warsaw, is there any special cards or discount for package for such people ?

is there any travel package in railway for example , one week whole Poland discount offer, to use unlimited railway system ( like japan rail pass or something similar ) in rail or bus system between cities ?

GP / POZ doctor in Poland - Make Life Smart.pl - living in Poland · 22/02/2021 at 09:38

[…] information about opening hours, address, details, facility equipment andlines of public transport (link to my article about public transport), which can bring you there. Only Polish available, so prepare yourself for using “Live […]

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