Getting Around Using Public Transportation in Madrid

Getting around Madrid using public transport system is easy and cheap, provided you have a thorough knowledge about them.The metro or subways, short distance trains, MRT busses, taxis,cable car etc are the available means of public transport in Madrid.

Getting Around Using Public Transportation in Madrid

First of all you are congratulated for having decided to travel to Madrid, which has a fine network of public transport system more than any other European city. The public transport system functioning in Madrid is the most efficient, prompt and above all it provides a cheap and best means of transport not only to the native people but also to the travelers from other countries. Surprisingly, the private transport system available in Madrid remains rather disorganized and inefficient.

Before traveling to Madrid, it is always useful to organize your tour and get to know about the places you propose to visit in Madrid, the public transport system through which you will get around and the best means of transport that may serve your purpose. Madrid is known for its museums, ancient monuments, amusement parks, departmental stores and the World Youth Days festival which is mostly celebrated during the months of August and September every year. In particular, WYD attracts more tourists and the public Transport System functioning in Madrid has heavy inflow of traffic during the WYD.

However, most of the tourist attractions are located within two kilo meter radius of the Madrid city center and it is better to visit them by walk However, getting around Madrid in the following means pf public transport will provide you with different and unique experience that you have not hitherto come across.

For getting around, you can utilize the following public means of transport in Madrid:

  • Metro or popularly known as subway
  • Cercanias or Short distance or Suburban trains or tramways
  • EMT or Bus service
  • Taxis
  • Cable car
  • Roller Blading

Metro or Subway:

Introduced as early as in the year 1919 by the King Alphonse, between Puerta del Sol and Cuatro Caminos, metro is the most popular means of transport in Madrid. The metro in Madrid has been ever expanding and getting updated. By 2010, metro had 13 lines with a total length of 26043 Km, with 227 stations, 168 single with no connecting lines, 29 double, 10 triple and 1 quadruple.22 stations have been linked with suburban trains. The metro net work also has direct links with public transport in the interchanges points of Moncloa, Avenida de America, direct connection with the terminals of Madrid Barajas airport, connections with main railway stations Atocha-RENFE and Chamartin and direct connection with bus station in Mendes Alvaro.

The frequency of metro is every 3 to 5 minutes during rush hours and 5 minutes in the normal hours.The subways are running between 0630 a.m to 01.30 a.m. The cost of a metro ticket is 1.5 euro (for a single line) and a combined metro ticket is 2 euro (for more than one line).Each ticket is valid only for the date of issue. It is advisable to have a return ticket at a 40 % reduced cost, provided you can finish your work on a single day and return. Otherwise you must have a separate return ticket.

Travelers to Madrid can have 10 trips ticket for 9.50 euro and a combined metro ticket for 15 euro and these trip tickets can be used for metro as well as busses.

The metro is most convenient, fast and prompt and trouble free to travel and the ticket is transferable

A travel pass for 3 to 7 days can be had cheaply to utilize all the means of public transport and it is more useful during the world youth days festival. Concessions are offered to pensioners, children below the age of 11 to 6 and senior citizens in the age group of 64 and above. Children below the age of 6 can travel free.

A travel card known as Madrid card can also be had on line with 5 % rebate and other tourist centers for the multi purpose of traveling, availing rebates in entrance fee for museums, in restaurants and for shopping etc, costing 32 euros for 24 hours, 42 euros for 48 hours and 52 euros for 72 hours etc.

The metro tickets and the travel cards are available at the metro stations as well as in the EMT kiosks at the major transport hubs such as Sol, Callao, Cibeles, and at the tobacconists and some news stands.

Traveling in metro during peak hours especially between 0730 a.m and 0900 a.m is rather inconvenient and congested.

Cercanias or Renfe’s short distance trains:-

Renfe’s short distance trains also known as Cercanias connect the suburban areas with the capital Madrid. Travelers willing to have a sight seeing in the rural areas can utilize their services. These trains run covering as many as ten lines.They run between 06.30 a.m and 11.00 p.m These trains provide a vital link for the people living in the rural and suburban areas with Madrid for employment and other purposes.

These short distance trains help the travelers to visit Warner Brothers amusement park in San Martin De La Vega, to Faunia in Vilcalvaro, Madird’s amusement park, zoo and aquarium and other cities lying in the outer area.

The cost of tickets of these short distance trains vary according to the zones they run and you travel. A train ticket for one to two zone costs about 1.35 euro, for three zones 1.50 euro and so on. Similarly a 10 trip ticket for one to two zones cost 7.40 euro and it costs more if the train covers more zones. Reservations and advance bookings not available in Cercanias.

EMT or Bus:

Madrid Municipality operates busses in and around of Madrid. Two categories of bus lines are operated:

  • At the intercity level
  • At the International level.

At the Intercity level:

More than 170 busses are operated under the public transport system.They are operated between 0600 a.m and 00.00 a.m at a frequency of 5 minutes and it may vary depending upon the traffic in a line. Since Madrid is a nocturnal city, some busses are operated between 11.45 p.m and 06.00 a.m at a frequency of 15 to 30 minutes, depending upon the nature of traffic in a particular line.These night service busses are known as night owls or buhos. Besides, EMT busses are also operated at the week ends exactly at the parallel routes of subways and have stopping at each subway or metro station.These are known as Metro buhos.

All the busses are air-conditioned and offer luxury travel.You can have a bus ticket for one euro at the bus terminals and in some busses you can also have tickets from the driver or conductor of the bus. But you must tender exact change to have a ticket and the driver or a conductor is not under the obligation to pay the balance and in some cases they may ask your address to send your balance amount.

There are 3 lines of double-decker busses operated by EMT and you have to pay extra to travel in those busses.

Similarly there are some mini busses which have a seating capacity of only five and they are operated only around the central city area of Madrid. It is a pleasure to travel in these mini busses watching everything while traveling without any disturbance

At the International Level:

Bus lines such as connecting Madrid with Lisban and Madrid with France are also operated.

Madrid Taxi:

Taxis in Madrid have a unique identity of having a diagonal line and indicating their availability through a green lamp glowing at the top. Taxi fares are exhibited inside the car and the minimum charge to start with is 1.5 euro. You can hire them even over phone. But you should engage a taxi, only in case of necessity and where other means of public transport are not available.

Cable Car:

Cable car provides you with a nice air trip from Parke del Oeste (Western Park) to the Casa de Campo. While traveling in the cable car you can see the Manzanares river, the Egyptian temple of Debod, the Plaza de Espana, the Royal palace with its beautiful gardens, the Almudena Cathedral and the Church of San Francisco el Granade. However cable car facility is available only a few months in a year. However, cable car provides you with the best aerial view of the places mentioned above and an unforgettable experience.The price range for the cable car may vary between 3.60 euros and 5.20 euros.

Roller Blading:

Roller Blading is a funny way of getting around Madrid provided you have the energy and time to sport a pair of roller blades.Of course, you will have plenty of exercise and you will not have any parking problems.However, considering the hectic schedule of public transport system and their heavy traffic, certainly you have no scope for roller blading on the busy streets of Madrid.

How to choose the best option:

Considering the number of choices available for public transportation in Madrid, you may be in a dilemma to choose the correct mode of transport. It all depends upon the following factors:

  • Where you are actually staying
  • The distance of the place you propose to visit from the place of staying
  • The means of transport actually available
  • The cost you can afford to pay
  • Number of journeys you wish to make
  • Number of people travel with you.

Though getting around Madrid through the means of public transport is quite easy and they are readily available, still as a foreign traveler you should necessarily follow these tips in order to save your time, money and remain disciplined as a traveler:

  • Before traveling to Madrid have a thorough knowledge about the public transport system available in Madrid by browsing their web sites and through guides, travel agents and travel maps provided by the Madrid Public Transport authorities.
  • You can also gather additional information about the public transport through 1)call center 2) 3)www.crtm.es4) Telephone number for getting information regarding public transport:012
  • Always have your passport and other credentials of identity before having a traveler’s pass and a traveler’s card to have the maximum monetary benefits and savings and for the easy processing.
  • Avoid traveling in the subways or metros during the hours of congestion between 0730 A.M and 0900 A.M. Otherwise you may have to suffer from stress and fatigue. There is also a risk of becoming a victim of pickpocket or robbery.
  • Please take notice that a metro ticket is transferable and so it can be shared on the same day of journey.
  • While traveling in Cercania or a short distance train, have a ticket according to the number of zones you may wish to travel. If you purchase a ticket for a single zone, you may not be able to travel in the next zone. Hence, it is always good to have a ticket that enables you travel in three or more zones.
  • Always board an EMT bus through the front door and make your exit through the rear or side door.
  • Always wait until all the passengers from a bus get down and then try to board the bus.
  • If you travel through a taxi, please do not expect that your taxi driver is thorough with the topography of Madrid. On the other hand you should be thorough with the address and land mark if any etc.
  • If you are not satisfied with the behavior and service of a Taxi driver, collect the correct details about him and prefer a complaint to the appropriate authorities.
  • Always keep your belongings safe while traveling.
  • While traveling in a bus, the total weight of your luggage should not exceed the specific limit fixed by the concerned authorities.
  • If you are traveling as a member of a group and traveling with them, always follow them and have the group leader’ s phone number with you.
  • While traveling in the public transport system, always watch out for announcements made and flash news exhibited.
  • If you are staying away from Madrid, always check out for the details of last bus or train bound for Madrid.

If you are thorough with the tips and the information provided above on the public transport system in Madrid, you may not have any difficulty in getting around Madrid. Best wishes for your journey!



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