The inexpensive and efficient Prague public transport system is managed by Dopravní podnik hl. m. Prahy (DP) (Tel: 29 61 91 11 1. Internet: http://www.dpp.cz/de/) and consists of subways, trams, buses and the cable car on Petrín Hill. The integrated public transport system is in operation around the clock – night buses and trams are used from 00:00 to 05:00. There are three subway lines (the green A, yellow B and red C lines). There are three transfer options, at Muzeum (A and C), at Mustek (A and B) and at Florenc (B and C). The underground trains run every 2 minutes on workdays between 5 a.m. and midnight, and every 5 to 10 minutes at all other times.
The cable car( lanovka) runs every 10-15 minutes between 9 a.m. and 11.30 p.m. and takes passengers from Újezd in Lesser Town to the top of Petrín Hill.
Tickets ( jízdenky) must be bought in advance and stamped when boarding the buses and trams as well as in the subway station lobby. They are valid for all public transport and are available from ticket machines in train stations, tobacco shops, information centers and in every shop with a red and yellow DP sticker. There are two different tickets: the ticket for a ride on the subway (up to four stops) or a 15-minute tram or bus ride without changing trains (not valid for night buses, cable cars or historic trams). The ticket is valid on all modes of transport (including changing trains), at rush hours up to one hour, at other times up to 90 minutes. If you do not have a valid ticket, you must expect an immediate penalty.
A simple ticket allows you to travel up to 4 stations. Daily and weekly tickets are valid for 24 hours, for three days, for a week or for 15 days. A 5-day ticket for tourists includes admission to 42 sights (see city tour).
Many taxi companies are controlled by organized gangs, there are many unregistered taxi drivers and most horror stories about outrageous prices are true – and they happen far too often. Basically, taxis shouldn’t be used at all, especially not at taxi ranks. If you want to take the risk, you should order a taxi by phone from reputable operators such as ProfiTaxi (Tel: 261 31 41 51 or 844 700 800). ProfiTaxi has English speaking drivers and is usually safe.
There is usually a surcharge for hailing a taxi on the street, as is ordering over the phone; there is also a kilometer price. A taximeter is required by law for registered taxis – if the driver refuses to use the taximeter, you should take another taxi if possible. The fare is usually rounded up to the nearest 10 Kc; for a particularly good service an additional tip of 8-10% would be appropriate.
Driving in the city
Cobblestone streets, tram tracks and unpredictable drivers make driving in Prague an unpleasant experience. In addition, the old town is a single pedestrian zone. Parking is also problematic, so tourists should leave their car in the secure hotel car park and use public transport. Incorrectly parked cars either get a parking claw or are towed away (Tel: 158).
There are three different parking zones – orange with a parking time of up to two hours, green for up to six hours and blue that can only be used by residents and businesses. Cars should be locked and have an alarm system. Valuables and radios should not be left visibly in the car.
In order to reduce motor vehicle traffic in the city center, the city’s traffic authorities have created a number of parking spaces with direct underground connections. Parking at these supervised parking lots with P + R signs (Park and Ride) is charged at a flat rate (5 a.m. to midnight).
These P + R places include
Praha 4, Hrncirska (line C, subway station Opatov),
Praha 5, Radlická (line B, Radlická station),
Praha 5, Zlicin (line B, Zlicin station),
Praha 7, Holesovice train station (line C, Nadrazi Holesovice station),
Praha 9, Chlumecka (line B, Rajska zahrada and Cerny most station) and
Praha 10, V Rybnickach (line A, Skalka station).
Renting a car is expensive in Prague and is really only suitable for driving in the country, considering the many pedestrian zones in the city center. Processing the car rental before departure guarantees that a car is available and avoids language problems. Customers must be at least 21 years old and have had a driver’s license for at least one year. National (and international) driver’s license, ID and credit card are required for the deposit. The rental prices usually include a collision waiver clause, theft and liability insurance.
Cars can be rented at Ruzyne Airport, Cedok, American Express agencies, and many larger hotels.
The following major rental car companies are represented:
Avis, Klimentská 46, Prague 1 (Tel: (02) 21 85 12 25. Internet: www.avis.cz),
Budget, Cistovicka 100, Prague 6 (Tel: (02) 35 32 57 13. Internet: www.budget.cz) and
Hertz, Karlovo námestí 28, Prague 2 (Tel: (02) 22 23 10 10 or 20 10/24 24. Internet: www.hertz.cz).
Local companies such as, among others
Cenik Royal Rent, Opetalova, Prague 1 (tel: (02) 22 24 75 15 Internet: www.royalrent.cz),
Dvorák, Hotel Hilton, Probezni 8, Prague 8, (tel: (02) 24 84 23 13. Internet: www.dvorak-rentacar.cz) and
Toscar, Novovysocanská 85 / 2a, Prague 9 (Tel: (02) 66 31 55 86. Internet: www.toscar.cz) are cheaper than large international companies.
Renting a bike cannot be recommended due to the high levels of air pollution, ruthless drivers and the lack of bike lanes. City Bike, Králodvorská 5 (Tel: (07) 76 18 02 84. Internet. Www.pragueonline.cz/citybike) rents out bikes.