The local public transport company called RATB (short for Regia Autonomă de Transport București ) runs street-level transportation in the Romanian capital- buses, trolleybuses and trams, and is a great way of getting around. The ground transportation system operates between 05:00 and 23:59 daily. Tickets must be purchased beforehand and validated upon boarding. The system is a bit complicated and it requires getting used to, even for Romanians.
The ticketing system uses plastic cards that can be charged with any amount of money resulting in a certain number of rides. One trip costs 1.3 RON on Bucharest regular public transport, and RON 3.5 for Express lines, such as the one connecting Bucharest Otopeni airport to downtown. The plastic cards can be recharged either with a subscription if you travel frequently or with various amounts of money if you have a bus trip once in a while. The same cards work on trams, buses and trolleys, and the metro. Subscriptions start at RON 30 a month for one line, RON 35 for two lines and RON 50 for all street-level public transport. The card must be validated after boarding the bus using the orange devices located throughout the bus by keeping the card in front of the orange machine for some seconds until it beeps. Any transfer to another means of transport needs a further validation.
Express buses require a different kind of card for validation, made of cardboard. The express bus system serves destinations outside the city center. Two or 10-journey tickets, as well as monthly passes, are available for these buses. For schedules and routes of buses visit www.ratb.ro – English section available. Use Google Maps, which now offers information about public transport in Bucharest as well.
You can use the mobile phone to buy a one-day subscription with RATB, by texting A at 7456 from Vodafone, Orange and Cosmote networks for EUR 1.75 + VAT.
Tickets for RATB
• For one urban line: RON 30/month
• For two urban lines: RON 35/month
• For all urban lines: RON 50/month
• One trip: RON 1.3
• For all urban lines, valid 1 day: RON 8
• For all urban lines, valid 7 days: RON 17
• For all urban lines, valid 15 days: RON 25