Warsaw is becoming a more popular destination day by day, whether it is business men visiting for work purposes, oldies on coach trips, stag do's or young backpackers there's plenty of people around.
Using a public transport system abroad can always be a bit worrying for some people, so here's the low down on public transport in the capital of Poland.
There's currently one metro line which runs through the centre from Marymont in the north, to the most southern district of the city Kabaty in the south. There are plans to have more lines in place by the time Euro 2012 comes knocking, whether that will materialise we will see!
The metro is clean, new and modern, tickets should be bought from a kiosk, validate your ticket, go through the barrier and that's it, only 2 directions so you are unlikely to get lost, there are maps both upstairs and on the platforms of the stations.
You don't need to do anything to the ticket on the way out, just walk through the turnstiles.
Bus lines run across the city and in some cases outside of the city to surrounding towns such as Marki or Piaseczno. Day buses run from 5am to about 11.45pm at which point the routes are lessened and night buses take to the streets (denoted with the letter N before a 2 digit number), each bus comes once every 30 minutes and there are often 2 routes on 1 road, which means you shouldn't have to wait longer than 15 minutes for a bus during the night in most parts of the city.
All buses head to the Central Station and meet there at the same time, giving you a few minutes to find your bus if you live in a different part of the city.
Again, tickets should be bought in advance from a kiosk, you can in theory also purchase them from the driver but he is not obliged to sell you the ticket, particularly if the bus is late and may refuse or may be out of them. Kiosks are not usually open after 7-8pm and night buses are quite often inspected, the fine can be quite high (120zl - 30 pounds) and I've never known anyone get away with not paying, the most recommendable way of getting out of it would be to carry ID with you and claim you don't have cash, they should in theory give you a written fine which you then have to take to an office and pay. Obviously if you are visitng, you can skip the visit to that office ;)
The same ticketing system applies to the trams which run throughout the cities in all different directions, ironically the brand new ones seem somewhat less reliable than the old models!
The public transport company has a website where you can check the timetables and routes of all the transport in the city.
Go to www.ztm.waw.pl, click on "Rozklad Jazdy" and then WG Linii and select the 1st or 2nd choice depending on what date it is. If you don't know the number of the bus you want but no the destination then it may be preferable to click on Wg przystankow, select the date and then click on the name of the stop that is listed alphabetically.
I definitely recommend buying a map of the city which can be purchased for about 4 or 5zl (1 -1.25 pounds), most maps cover all the public transport routes but maps by Copernicus or Demart are recommended.
It is custom to give up your seat for old people, who may pester you with a pesky kidsesque tirade if you don't!
Hold on tight unless you want your head flying into a buxom busom of a poker faced gran!
The system itself is ok, you can generally count on it, there's always transport close by but it does tend to get a bit hot in the summer. An enlarged underground system would definitely be a blessing.