The Ultimate Guide to Trams in Warsaw
The history of tram transport in Warsaw dates back to 1866 when a 6k long horse-car line was built to transport goods and passengers between the Vienna Railway Station and the Wilno and Terespol stations across the Vistula River. In 1899 the entire tram system, by then 30 kilometres (19 mi) of tracks with 234 tram cars and 654 horses operating 17 lines, was purchased by the city. By 1903, plans were drafted to convert the system to electric trams, which was done by 1908.
The tram system of Warsaw is one of the original forms of public transport. The trams of Warsaw are currently ran and managed by a company called ZTM, in Polish it is presented as ‘Zarząd Transportu Miejskiego’ and this translates to ‘Public Transport Authority’ in English.
ZTM are currently in charge of over 1500+ buses, 30+ metro trains and 400+ trams.
Before embarking on your journey you’ll need to purchase a ticket. There are many different tickets available from single 20 minute journeys to large family tickets. Click the video to the left to see a full explanation of the tickets to find the ticket that best suits your needs.
Warsaw’s public transport system is very reasonably priced. An two way journey can cost 6.80zł which equals about 1.5 euro.
Any ticket bought from an official ZTM ticket re-seller or ticket machine can be used across all of the different public transport platforms (metro, buses and trams) within the given time of the ticket once activated.
If you can’t view the video then you can read our written guide: Warsaw Public Transport Tickets Explained
Old vs New Tram
It is possible to buy public transport tickets in many places. You can buy them at kiosks, ticket terminals and you can buy tickets trams*
*On the older trams there are no electronic ticket printing machines. You must approach the driver and purchase a ticket with cash. This might not be the easiest solution if you do not speak Polish. If you are travelling to Poland for a short amount of time we could recommend buying a few cheap travel tickets at once and keeping them in your wallet. You can learn more about tickets in this video or this article: Warsaw Public Transport Tickets Explained. Also something to note is the driver can only be found in the first carriage. You can not access the first carriage from the second without leaving and re-entering.
The newer trams have ticket machines on all. These machines have different language options of English, Russian, German and Polish. These machines will allow you to buy any paper ticker from the cheapest all the way up to the most expensive ones.
Tracking your Route
If you’re new to the city of Warsaw then it will be important for you to track where you entered the tram, where you are planning to travel and when you is the correct stop for you to leave. On all bus and tram stops you’ll find a time table showing the name of the stop you are currently standing at and will show an arrow in the direction the tram will travel with the different tram stop names. Here are some examples of where you can find the tram stop name.
On the old trams you’ll find a white board (see first image) with all the different tram stop names. This can a be a little tricky to follow if you are new to the city. It won’t tell you what way you are travelling and it won’t tell you when you reach your destination. This is why it is important to look and remember the name of the stop you enter on. This was you can manually track each stop on the list until you reach yours.
On the newer trams you’ll a digital screen showing the different tram stops. This is much more helpful for those who are new to the city. As the tram moves the LCD screen will show you the previous stops passed (which will be faded) and will show you the up and coming stops and high lighted text. It will show you the direction it is travelling so if your required destination is faded then you know you are travelling in the wrong direction. The newer trams will also have a time in minutes below each stop letting you know how long it takes.
On both maps you’ll see a blue line through the middle. This is to signal the river. If you know your destination is not over the river then it is something to keep track of.
(hoover to enlarge)
Disability Access and Baby Friendly
There are a big difference when it comes to disability access, bike space and baby strollers in the newer and older trams. The old trams have zero to limited support for those in a wheel chair. The old trams have three large steps and depending on the height of tram stop they can be even higher off the ground. The older trams do have space baby strollers and bikes, but you would need to help with getting a baby stroller inside.
The newer trams are much more disability friendly. In the middle of the newer trams you’ll see a blue button, this button alerts the driver that you need assistants. The driver will then lower you a ramp which makes access seamless. There is also a large space inside the newer trams dedicated for wheel chair users. This has a soft head rest and seat belt.