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5.4.2024 | Travel Guides

Public Transport in Tallinn

Text Ingel Kink
Photos Andrei Chertkov

Public Transport in Tallinn

 

Tallinn, the capital of Estonia, may be compact and easy to get around by walking to most places and the main attractions, but its efficient public transport system offers convenience and accessibility for residents and visitors alike. Whether you’re hopping on a tram to go for a walk in Kadriorg Park or catching a bus to visit the Estonian Open Air Museum, understanding the ins and outs of Tallinn’s public transport system will empower you to explore the city with ease.

In this guide, we will cover the intricacies of navigating Tallinn’s public transport network, providing you with clear instructions and helpful tips to make your journey seamless and enjoyable.

 

Overview of Tallinn’s Public Transport System

Tallinn’s public transport system is reliable, efficient and affordable. It consists of buses, trams and trolleybuses, and covers the entire city and its surrounding areas. The system is operated by the Tallinn Transport Department, who are responsible for ensuring that all public transport services are safe, punctual and comfortable.

 

Timetables

The public transport in Tallinn operates from early morning until midnight. However, there are some night buses that run on certain routes throughout the night. Timetables are available at the stops and on the Tallinn Transport webpage. The site also has a handy journey planner. 

 

Accessibility

Tallinn public transport is accessible for all passengers, including those with disabilities, but not all vehicles are equipped with low floors and ramps. Low floor buses, trams and trolleybuses are underlined in the timetables. However, it’s important to note that boarding these vehicles may require assistance as they may not always stop precisely at the edge of the pavement. In such cases, the driver will be available to help.

Blind and visually impaired passengers can use the audio announcements on board to know their location and the next stops.

 

Safety

Tallinn’s public transport is safe, with very low levels of crime reported. However, passengers are advised to take the usual precautions when travelling on public transport, such as keeping an eye on personal belongings.

 

Types of public transport in Tallinn

Tallinn offers a comprehensive public transport network comprising of buses, trams and trolleybuses. These modes of transport connect the various neighborhoods within the city and provide convenient access to key attractions and destinations.

 

 

Bus

Buses form the backbone of Tallinn’s public transport, covering the whole city, ensuring comprehensive connectivity. The city has an extensive network of over 60 routes that reach all corners of Tallinn, making sure that even the most remote neighborhoods are connected.

 

 

Tram

Trams have a long-standing presence in Tallinn and are an iconic part of the cityscape. However, only a few districts of the city are served by trams. There are currently 5 tram lines (nr 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5), but extension works are currently underway to create a new tram line connecting Terminal A of Tallinn Port to the tram network.

 

 

Trolleybus

Tallinn’s public transport includes eco-friendly trolleybuses. These electric buses run on power from overhead power lines. Currently there are 4 trolleybus lines (nr 1, 3, 4 and 5) and they all operate between the Mustamäe district and the city centre. While the coverage may not be as extensive as trams and buses, trolleybuses offer a sustainable alternative for environmentally conscious travelers.

 

Ticketing options and prices

The ticketing system operates on a random ticket inspection basis. This means that passengers do not need to show their tickets to the driver when boarding, but they may be subject to random inspection by transit officials during their journey. Here is everything you need to know about different ticket options and pricing:

 

Different types of tickets

There are a few different types of tickets available for Tallinn’s public transport system that cater to different needs and budgets:

  • QR-ticket: A QR-ticket will be sent to your e-mail. You can use this ticket for a selected number of 1-hour trips, up to a maximum of ten. It’s important to remember that you can only validate the QR-ticket on the validator located at the front of the vehicle. The QR scanner is positioned on the lower section of the device for easy access.
    How to buy: You can buy QR tickets from the Tallinn Transport webpage or Pilet.ee app.
  • Single Ticket: A single ticket is ideal for tourists or infrequent users who are making a one-off journey. It is valid for 1 hour after validating it, allowing passengers to change buses, trams or trolleys if needed. Keep in mind though that you always need to validate the ticket even if you transfer to a different transport vehicle in this 1 hour period. A 1 hour ticket costs 2 euros.
    How to buy: You can buy a single ticket with a contactless bankcard, smartcard or through the pilet.ee app. The easiest way to buy a single ticket is to use a contactless bank card. When entering the vehicle head to the validator device located at the very front and hold your bank card in front of it. If you see a green light, you have just bought a single ticket.

 

 

  • Smartcard: This is the most popular option for locals. Smartcards can be topped up with money or unlimited travel for a certain period. You can buy a 1-, 3- or 5-day ticket on to your smart card costing 5.50-11 euros. Day tickets are valid from the moment of validation in public transport. If your visit to Tallinn is longer, say a month, you can buy a 30-day ticket on to your smart card costing 30 euros.
    How to buy: First you need to buy the smartcard for 2 euros, which can be purchased from various locations throughout the city: all post offices (Omniva), Selver, Maxima, Prisma, Rimi, Stockmann, R-kiosk, and, the service desk at Tallinn city office. The money can be loaded onto the smartcard at the sale points, at the pilet.ee app, which is available for both iOS and Android devices, or online. The easiest way to buy tickets to your smartcard is online or through the pilet.ee app.

 

Tallinn card

The best and the easiest option for tourists is the Tallinn Card because it not only offers free travel on city buses, trams and trolleybuses, but also gives you free access to over 50 museums and discounts for sightseeing tours, activities, shops and restaurants. You have an option to buy a 24, 48 or 72-hour card and it costs 43-76 euros, for children 0-17 years old the price is 25-39 euros. Read more and buy a Tallinn Card here.

 

Rules and Etiquette on Tallinn’s Public Transport

When travelling on public transport, it is important to follow some basic rules and etiquette to ensure a pleasant and safe journey for all passengers. Here are some things to keep in mind:

  • Drivers don’t sell tickets and it is not possible to buy tickets from the public transport vehicles with cash. You can only buy a ticket from the vehicle with a contactless bank card. You can use all Mastercard, Maestro, Visa and Visa Electron bank cards.
  • Always validate your ticket: When boarding a bus, tram or a trolleybus, make sure to validate your ticket by scanning it at the validator located near every entrance. Failure to do so may result in a fine up to 40 euros.
  • Wait for passengers to exit before boarding: This will make the process smoother and quicker for everyone.
  • Give up your seat for those in need: It is common courtesy to give up your seat to elderly, disabled or pregnant passengers. If you see someone struggling to stand, offer them your seat.
  • Be mindful of noise levels: Public transport can be noisy but try to keep your own noise levels down. Avoid playing music or videos without headphones and keep conversations at a reasonable volume.
  • Keep your belongings close to you: Even though Tallinn’s public transport is very safe, always keep your bags and personal belongings close to you to prevent theft. Also avoid placing them on seats or blocking the aisles.

By following these simple rules and etiquette, you can help make your journey on Tallinn’s public transport a pleasant and enjoyable experience for all.

 

Saving the Best Till Last

In this article, you have learned what transport options there are in Tallinn, how to buy tickets, and where to find timetables and plan your journey. However, the best thing about public transport in Tallinn is how punctual it is. Expect trams, busses and trolleybuses to be on time, a vehicle arriving at its destination more than 2 or 3 minutes late is very rare.


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