Travel within Łódź using buses and trams is efficient, fast and cheap; driving a car through the centre, on the other hand, can be confusing indeed, and the is best negotiated either on foot or by taking a cab. In this section you'll find all you need to know about getting around the city with general ease via bus, tram and taxi.
Public TransportŁódź can boast a well-developed network of bus and tram routes that traverse the city. The comprehensive website at www.mpk.lodz.pl features full English translation of content, including timetables for all routes, general information and ticket prices. A brief exploration of the website will reveal that venomous animals are banned from public transport, as are people who are ‘slovenly, scruffy or give off an offensive smell’. Reassuring, but in reality completely untrue. Tickets (bilety) can be purchased from automated ticket machines at stops, most streetside kiosks and some onboard machines, and must be validated upon boarding the tram or bus by punching them into the metal boxes (kasowniks) found next to the doors. Failure to do so will result in a 108zł fine (if paid in 7 days; after it goes up to 270zł) if you’re caught by one of the undercover ticket inspectors. Prices are currently as follows:
2.80zł (1.40zł) 20 minutes
3.60zł (1.80zł) 40 minutes
4.40zł (2.20zł) 60 minutes
One day passes (valid till 23:59 that day) can be purchased from kiosks (Zone I: 11zł / 5,50zł Zone I + II: 13,20zł / 6,60zł). Both trams and buses usually operate from 05:00 until 23:00 after which night buses (marked with an N) serve the city.
TaxisTaxis in Łódź are generally trustworthy although you should guard against unscrupulous drivers by going for taxis which have clearly displayed prices (normally found in the rear passenger window). As a yardstick rates should be around 6zł the moment you get in and then around 2zł per kilometre. You should expect to pay approximately 50% more at night and on Sundays and public holidays. A standard day fair to/from the airport from the centre of Łódź will cost around 20-40zł.
Car RentalAll most travellers need to rent a car in PL is 18 years of age, a credit card (not debit), and a valid foreign driver's licence. Be aware, however, that those from countries that didn't ratify the Vienna Convention on Road Traffic (United States, China, Australia...) cannot legally drive on their home licences; technically an International Driver's License is required in those cases (in the US these are issued by AAA for a fee). If you don't have a license in line with the Vienna Convention, or the required IDL, you may be denied the ability to drive a rental car. Though some car rental companies (the dodgier ones) will still rent you a car (since it's good for their business to ignore international law), be aware that you are assuming full liability if you get behind the wheel; not only can you get a citation from the police, but if an accident were to occur, you would be fully responsible for any damages, regardless of the circumstances.
If you're looking to leave the country in your rental car, be aware that you can't cross the borders into Ukraine, Belarus or Lithuania in a rental car.