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they go where no one else will; but they can be confusing - here's what you need to know.

- how do I buy a bus ticket?
- what are Polish buses like?
- how much does it cost?


bus systems

For route planning, go to Jakdojade.pl.

There is an important distinction to make here. As stated in our long-distance bus article, many cities have their own local bus companies that connect those cities to nearby villages - called PKS buses.

Now, those are different from urban buses, which are part of a public transport system within one city. Those are the buses this article focuses on.

which cities have buses?

The short answer is most. The long answer is... it's a long list. Most cities of over 50 thousand inhabitants have public transport systems, and in most cities under 200 thousand inhabitants those public transport systems consist only of buses.

Polish buses

All urban buses in Poland are of comparable quality. There are no old buses left in service, making the experience quite consistent across all cities. To see what buses are like in a given city, go to the city's article. However, the images below are a good representation of what buses are like in Poland.

urban bus

urban bus inside

bus stops

Buses go everywhere you will need to go as a tourist. To catch a bus, you simply need to wait for the right bus (bus routes are numbered - look for a bus with the right number) at the right bus stop. This is easier said than done, but, as long as you manage to find your bus stop, you're fine. For finding the right bus stop and bus route, we recommend using Jakdojade.pl.

Bus stops consist of a bus timetable, a roofed glass shelter with a bench, a short platform, and a sign with the bus stop name. They may also include a screen stating when the next bus will come.

bus stop

bus timetable

It's important to know that buses do not necessarily stop at all stops along their route. Some stops are so-called "on-demand stops" - for the bus to stop, one of the passengers must press one of the red stop buttons inside the bus or a passenger must be waiting at the stop.


The prices and types of tickets are different for each city. To read about tickets in a specific city, visit the city's article. However, there are some universal truths about tickets in buses. And here they are:

buying the ticket

There are a few ways of buying a ticket, out of which four are viable for a tourist.

Firstly, you can buy a ticket in a newsstand. To do this, you need to know exactly what ticket you need beforehand. This is not a recommended option, but it is sometimes easier to find a newsstand than a ticket machine, which leads to...

pros: works in almost all cities;
cons: big language barrier; must know type of ticket needed beforehand; payment by card may not be possible;

Option number 2, buy a ticket at a ticket machine. This is not possible in every city, but it is in the larger ones. We strongly recommend this option.

pros: can be set to English; very easy to use; can pay by cash or card; all ticket types are presented;
cons: only in largest cities;

Option number 3, buy the ticket in the bus itself, right after you board it. Some (not all!) modern buses have built-in ticket machines. This is a bit risky, however - there might not be one. In larger cities, such as Warsaw, Łódź, Cracow, Gdańsk, Wrocław, and Poznań, you have an approximately 50% chance of being able to buy a ticket inside of the bus. Remember to have cash - not all in-bus machines accept credit card. Please note that the ticket you buy may already be automatically validated - the machine will inform you whether you need to validate the ticket that is printed for you.

pros: can be set to English; very easy to use; all ticket types are presented;
cons: only in largest cities; even in largest cities not possible on all routes; card payment not always available;

Option number 4, buy the ticket from the driver. This works only in smaller cities, roughly 200 thousand inhabitants and below. To do this, you must enter the bus through the front, ask for a ticket (you must know what type you need), pay in cash (best to have exact change), and either validate the ticket if it fits the validation machines or not if it doesn't (which means it has been validated at purchase).

pros: no need to buy ticket beforehand in small cities;
cons: may cost more to buy on the spot; can only pay by cash; must know type of ticket needed beforehand; big language barrier;

ticket machine

in-bus ticket machine

validating your ticket

You may only travel with a validated ticket. This means that if you do not have a validated ticket, you must validate it as soon as you enter the bus using in-bus validating machines. To validate a ticket using those machines, you must enter the ticket into the hole and remove the ticket when it is released (it will be intuitive).

If you aready have a validated ticket when boarding the bus, you do not have to do anything. Most big cities in Poland have integrated public transport systems in which you can freely switch between metro, buses, and trams for the duration of the ticket's validity. This means that if you have any valid ticket and it has not yet expired, you may travel by bus until its expiration.

ticket validation machine

back of validated ticket

Please note that you must have a validated ticket for the entire duration of your journey and have it at your disposal to present to a ticket controller if needed.