Public Transport

Tallinn’s public transportation system is a fairly straightforward network of buses, trolley-buses and trams, all of which use the same ticketing-system. As of January 2013 public transport is free to all residents of Tallinn, making it the first European capital city to implement such a system.

Trams provide the simplest way to get around downtown areas, whereas buses are mainly for getting to outlying neighbourhoods. From the centre, most major bus routes leave from the terminal under the Viru Centre, or from Vabaduse Väljak (Freedom Square). You can easily hop on a tram in several places adjacent to Old Town. Routes and schedules are also listed in English at soiduplaan.tallinn.ee/#tallinna-linn/map/en where you can also find a handy route planner to help you navigate your way through Tallinn’s pubic transport system. Detailed route maps are also posted at many public transport stops and stations.

When climbing on board, in 98% of cases, you can just hop on any door, i.e. you don’t have to show your ticket to the driver. The rare exception is a few buses that have ‘no-entry’ signs on their rear doors. If you see this sign and the door doesn’t open, head to the front and buy a ticket from the driver or scan your pre-purchased Smartcard at one of the scanners on board (see below). Tickets and cards are otherwise checked by inspectors who stop transport vehicles in between scheduled stops. The fine for ‘riding like a rabbit’ - as locals call it - is €40. Exceptions include: registered residents of Tallinn, Tallinn Card holders, unaccompanied children under the age of six and children under the age of three plus one accompanying adult - they all ride the public transport system for free.

Tickets: The same tickets/cards are good on all three systems. The simplest version is the single-ride ticket. Non-Tallinn-residents will need to purchase this ticket from the driver for €1.60 and it no longer needs to be validated. If you are planning on travelling a lot via public transport, other types of tickets are good for specific periods of time and are sold in all post offices, at Selver or Prisma info desks, R-Kiosk shops and the Tallinn City Government Info Hall (Vabaduse väljak 7). All longer period tickets are now e-tickets and come in the form of a plastic Smartcard. You’ll need to rent the card for a one-time deposit fee of (€2) and then purchase ‘virtual’ tickets that will be added to the card. These come in the form of a 24 hour (€3), 72 hour (€5), 5 day (€6) or 30 day (€23) pass.

The card will need to be validated upon entering the vehicle by holding it in front of the orange validation machine. You’ll know it’s been scanned properly when a green light and “beep” sound show that your pass has been validated. Each time you add another ‘E-ticket’ to the card you’ll need to repeat this process. When you no longer require the use of Tallinn’s public transport system, the card can be returned to the City Government Info Hall, you’ll then receive your €2 deposit fee back - or you can just keep it as a souvenir.
For more info please go to: http://www.tourism.tallinn.ee/eng/fpage/travelplanning/transportation/public.

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