Public transportation in Sofia - frequently asked questions
Living in a capital city has its perks but it can also be a nightmare, especially when it comes to public transportation. The team of Inter HECS acknowledges the fact that the Bulgarian capital, Sofia, is also a big city and has many bus / tram/ trolley etc. lines, that can easily confuse every foreigner. This is why we will share the most frequently asked questions about public transportation in Sofia and the answers to them:
1. How can I buy a public transportation ticket in Sofia?
You can buy a ticket from several places. To start with, there are many kiosks and offices of ”Centre for urban mobility” around Sofia – this is a place where you can also purchase monthly cards, etc. They are located at the biggest metro or bus stations, such as the National Palace of Culture, Serdika, etc. You can also buy a ticket from nearby kiosks (where people sell newspapers or candies). Lastly, you can also buy a ticket from the driver or a machine in the vehicle (new trams often have those; some of them don’t give change, though). Keep in mind that the driver might not have enough tickets with him, so we advise you to buy a ticket in advance.
Keep in mind that tickets that you buy from kiosks or from the driver must be perforated right when you enter the vehicle (the metro tickets do not require this!!!) – so ask a local to help you out.
Tickets for the metro can be purchased at the entrance of the metro – either at the kiosk right next to the entrance or from the machines next to the entrance.
One-way ticket costs 1.60 leva. It does not include transfer (except if it is a metro ticket – you can use one ticket to switch between metro lines, given that you do not leave the underground).
2. Bus, tram, trolley, metro – which one is the best?
Yes, there are bus, tram, trolley and metro lines in Sofia. There is no line better than the other – it really depends on where you live and where you want to go. We advise you to use either the moovit application to find the best way to reach point B from point A. Google Maps is also quite useful!
There are plenty of lines all around Sofia (only the metro has two, as of January 2018), so we recommend checking out the following detailed map to view all available public transportation lines.
3. Is there night public transportation in Sofia?
In 2018 there used to be night public transportation in Sofia. Unfortunately, as of 2021, there is no night public transportation in Sofia.
If none of the four night lines are suitable for you, keep in mind that usually the last bus/ tram/ trolley/ metro lines leaves around 11 PM. The first one is about 5 – 6 AM depending on the line.
Also, it is common that people catch taxis at night in order to go somewhere. Keep in mind that we do not recommend catching a random taxi on the street as there are the so-called ”fake taxis” (charging more than they should) – this is why you should rather use trustworthy mobile applications to catch a taxi, e.g. TaxiMe or Yellow Taxi 91119.
4. Who checks if I have a ticket and what happens if I don’t have one?
In Sofia there is no inspector in every vehicle who is in charge to check if all passengers have tickets. However, from time to time, inspectors are going around different lines to check that in order to catch/surprise people who take advantage of ”free” transportation.
Actually, the metro is the only place where you have to show your ticket (at the entrance) in order to get in. However, it is still common that members of Centre of Urban Mobility check passengers there, too.
The fine if you do not have a ticket is 40 leva, as of January 2018, and should be paid within three days.
5. What types of tickets are there?
There are over 10 types of tickets you can purchase. As of January 2018, these include a single ticket (1.60 lv), a 10-trips-ticket (12.00 lv), a daily pass ticket (4.00 lv), a three days pass (10.00 lv), a monthly pass, etc. Here you can find a list of all tickets.
Students belong to the group that can take advantage of discounts when it comes to monthly passes – for this students have to register to obtain a plastic card and also present their student book.
6. How frequent are public transportation lines in Sofia?
During the day bus/ tram/ trolley/ metro lines come about every 5 to 10 minutes. However, some lines (that take you to villages close to Sofia, for instance, might also come every 20 minutes). It really depends on how busy the respective bus/ tram/ trolley/ metro line is.
After 8 PM the lines less frequent – about every 15 to 20 minutes, again depending on the line.
7. Is public transportation in Sofia safe?
Yes, it is safe. Most people in Sofia use public transportation and the drivers are also reliable.
However, just like in every public transportation, we advise you keep your bags closed and your items safe – beware of pickpockets.
8. What are the advantages and disadvantages of public transportation in Sofia?
Just like any public transportation around the world, the main advantage is that travelling is much cheaper in comparison to using your own car or catching a taxi.
The main disadvantage are: less comfy and takes more time. Also, it is common that lines are not on time due to traffic.
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