If you plan on being in Prague for a while, you should purchase a multi-day public transportation pass that gives you free access to the buses, metro, trams, funicular, and ferries. You also need additional passes if you want to travel to or within other Czech cities like Plzen, Budvar, Brno, or Marienbad. With a multi-day card, you do not need to stamp passes - but you may be asked to show your card by the Tram Inspector!
For short trips, you can purchase transportation passes and transfer passes at the station. You must stamp your pass with the machine on the tram, bus, or at the metro station. These one-way passes usually expire 30 minutes after they're stamped, so you may need to buy a second pass when you go back.
The bus service in Prague is provided by several transport operators, chiefly by Dopravní podnik hlavního města Prahy, a.s. (Prague Public Transit Co. Inc.). The base system of metropolitan and suburban transport is Prague Integrated Transport, organized by Prague municipal organization ROPID, though several urban and suburban lines are not part of this system. The PID system also includes metro and tram lines, Vltava ferries, a funicular as well as some railway transport.
Prague Bus Line Numbers
Bus lines belonging to the PID system are numbered within number series:
- 100-297: daytime metropolitan lines (line 100 is for technical reasons internally marked as 1OO and numbered as 299)
- 301-398: daytime suburban lines
- 401-495: daytime regional (not going into the city proper) lines
- 501-516: nighttime metropolitan lines
- 551-571: school lines
- 601-610: nighttime suburban lines
- special bus lines for handicaped: marked with wheelchair symbol with numbers 1, 2, 3 (also H1, H2, formerly H3, internally numbered as 799 (H1), 798 (H3) and 797 (H2).
- letter X with number of tram line (X-9, X22) or metro line letter (X-A, XC) are used for occasional substitute lines. Internally numbered in 800 series (809, 822...). Some substitute lines are numbered in 700 series.
- AE: Airport Express (internally 790)
- 700 series: some temporary local lines with non-standard financing (financed not by the city itself but by city districts etc.)
Outside the PID system:
- 700 series: special lines (transport to trade fairs, football matches etc.)
- shopping lines: marked in different ways (logos, letters, shop names etc. – IKEA, IKEA2, GLOBUS, OCL, T, E, S, C, O, BBC, OUTLET), all free of charge
- ZOO line with symbolic fare
- suburban lines of SID (Středočeská integrovaná doprava (cs), Central Bohemian Integrated Transport) organized by Central Bohemian Region. Several attempts to integrate PID and SID are so far unsuccessful. Marked with combinations of one letter and two digits, e. g. D97.
- other lines outside integrated systems, mostly intercity and long-distance public lines, with small importance to city transport
- non-public (special) lines (for workers, handicapped etc.)
History of Buses in Prague
The first buses in Prague were experimentally operated in 1908 in the Malá Strana district, but due to unreliable technology at the time it was declared a failure after 20 months. Regular service was started on June 20, 1925 and has been continuously in operation since.
In the 1990s and 2000s, the metropolitan system was integrated and expanded with suburban transport as Prague Integrated Transport (Czech: Pražská integrovaná doprava, PID). Some areas (Kladno) are still separate from this system. The buses are fulfilling many different roles in the public transport of Prague. Many lines serve as connections between the metro and residential areas. There are also plans to gradually introduce trunk services, similar to bus rapid transit systems in Latin America.
Buses have had many different roles within Prague's public transport network over the years. Many lines serve as connections from housing areas to the metro, railway or tram stations: many lines serve as local service or as feeder connections (metro and tram lines are primarily diametral). Main terminals of metropolitan buses are near metro stations: Černý Most, Zličín, Háje, Letňany, Nové Butovice, Želivského, Českomoravská, Kačerov, Budějovická, Depo Hostivař, Dejvická, Na Knížecí (Anděl), Skalka, Palmovka, Nádraží Holešovice, Florenc etc. Some suburban and long-distance buses stop at these stations. The main stations of long-distance buses are Florenc (cs), Černý Most and Zličín.
Since 2008, ROPID is implementing a plan to differentiate rachial lines with small intervals and articulated buses. Some telematic systems are widely implemented (GPS monitoring, traffic signal preference).
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