In today’s article, we want to tell you about the public transport in Georgia, particularly in Tbilisi. As with any unknown city, Tbilisi may at first glance scare unsophisticated tourists with its spontaneous way of living. We want to help you in this hard work to find the best ways of transportation, to compare different types of public transport in the city and choose the most optimal variant.
Transport in Georgia: Buses and minibusses
The most optimal and cost effective way to travel within the city is by means of city buses and minibusses. Buses regularly run throughout the city. A bus ticket within the borders of the capital costs 50 tetri (20 cents). You can buy a ticket in the ticket machine which can be found inside the bus. It should be noted that the machine does not give the change, so take care in advance to exchange money or just buy several tickets for future use. There is also a pleasant bonus for all bus passengers: within 90 minutes after the purchase of the ticket via “Metromoney” smart card they can use the same ticket for another bus free of charge until the expiration. Controllers usually dressed in blue vests with red stripes check the tickets. As soon as you hear the phrase containing the word “biletebi”, be prepared to show your ticket.
Buses start to work from 7 am to 12 pm. Please note that early in the morning and late in the evening they may not go regularly. On the central streets at the bus stops, there have been installed special boards in English describing the buses’ arrival time and routes.
It is useful to note that there is a public bus stop right in front of the arrival hall at the Tbilisi International Airport. Passenger transportation on the route Airport- Tbilisi center – Airport provides the bus N 37 – Working hours – 24/7.
As an alternative to the buses in Tbilisi, there is also a network of minibusses, popularly called “marshrutka”. The peculiarity of these minibusses is that they are traveling on fixed routes throughout the city, but do not have special stops: you can catch a minibus at any place and by the same principle you can ask the driver to stop at any place convenient for you. The ticket price is 80 tetri (35 cents), payable in cash to the driver when exiting the vehicle. Minibusses run from 7 am to 12 pm.
Transport in Georgia: Underground
Tbilisi Metro consists of two subway lines and 21 stations. The Metro is open from 06:00 – 00:00; trains depart every 5 minutes, which allows move around the city significantly faster. The names of the stations are announced both in English and Georgian languages. The fare is 50 tetri (20 cents). To use the subway, passengers should buy a special card called “Metromoney” which is available at any subway station. The cost of the smart card is 2 GEL. After buying the card users will need to replenish their accounts when necessary. The smart card is a universal means of payment for transportation, so it can also be used in buses, minibusses and on the cable car. As in the case with buses, subway ticket is valid for 90 minutes after the acquisition. Thus, within specified time, you can travel from one station to another free of charge until the expiration of the 90 minutes.
Transport in Georgia: Taxi
Taxi is one of the best ways to quickly move around the city. However, in Georgia, as a rule, taxi is mainly privately owned and that is why the sphere is poorly regulated by the state. In some cars, there is no meter that is why we recommend always agreeing on the price of the trip in advance and insisting on payment before starting the trip. This will help you not only avoid misunderstandings but perhaps save some money especially in case of distant trips, as Georgians, being temperamental people love to haggle. A trip within the city should never exceed 15 GEL, with the exception the trip to the airport. Most taxis take 40-50 tetri ($ 0.28) per km. Standard fare up to 3 km is 4 -5 GEL. Longer trips cost 10 GEL.
Taxi service is also available in Tbilisi international Airport and provides 24-hour service for passengers. The trip to the city center takes 20-30 minutes and the one-way fare is 25 GEL.