Warsaw has an extensive bus and tram system criss-crossing the city as well as a good metro system running from north to south and a second line that opened in March 2015 running east to west. Over 1,500 buses operate in and around the city, and most run from between 05:00 and 23:00. After that night buses run on most routes twice every hour. All night buses display the letter N, followed by a two digit number. ‘Fast buses’ (marked with red digits) skip the smaller stops.
Tickets (all valid for use on metro, bus and tram) can be bought from a series of ticket machines with instructions in English dotted around the city, at all metro stations, and some bus and tram stops, with English translations printed on tickets. Tickets can also be purchased from machines on buses and trams, where you can pay by card, or using exact change only. Alternatively, kiosks also sell tickets.
A standard public transport single ticket costs 4.40zł. If you’re travelling to the further reaches of Warsaw you’ll be needing a ticket that covers both zones 1 and 2 – these are priced at 7zł. Note that the airport is in Zone 1. Still with us? Good. There is also a 20 minute ticket priced at 3.40zł. Tickets valid for 24 hrs are priced at 15 or 26zł if travelling through both zones. They have also introduced a new weekend ticket (available from 19:00 on Friday till 08:00 on Monday) which costs 24 zł (also a weekend group ticket is available for up to 5 people and costs 40 zł). A 3-day ticket costs 36zł for zone 1 only and 57zł for zones 1 & 2. Those over 70 ride for free, as do children up until the end of September of the year they turn 7, but you must have photo ID with you (in such cases, to enter the metro, use a 'wejściówka', which is a ticket that allows you to enter the electronic gates - they can be found from dispensers next to the gates). Everyone else pays full fare unless in possession of an ISIC card (in which case you must be 26 and under). This entitles you to buy a reduced ticket (ulgowy) which costs approximately 50% of the full fare.
Once you’ve got a ticket you will need to validate it in one of the box-style kasowniks, thus activating the magnetic strip on the back. On the metro this must be done before you get on board. It is no longer necessary to buy an extra ticket for animals or large pieces of luggage. Plain clothes ticket inspectors regularly stalk the lines, dishing out 270.40zł (266zł plus a normal ticket price of 4.40zł) for those without valid tickets (we understand quick payment results in the fine being lessened). They often don't look very official and you are within your rights to request identification.