About validating your ticket
This is how it works in Kraków, but the same sort of rules and system apply throughout Poland.
Kraków is divided into two zones – inner and outer – but only buses go into the outer zone (eg to the airport) so if you’re using the trams the zone issue does not arise.
Your tickets are for one zone or both (an agglomeration). And they are for a duration. Kraków tickets at the time of writing are:
30-minute 3.20 zł
15-minute 2 zł
one-hour 4.00 zł
90-minute 5.20 zł
24-hour 12 zł
48-hour 20 zł
72-hour 30 zł
7-day 40 zł
family ticket (Sat-Sun only, unlimited daytime travelling) 15.00 zł
So, you buy a ticket for, for example, a 30-minute journey in the inner zone
When you buy your ticket at the stop, kiosk or shop, it will not be validated – it should not have any date or time stamp on it.
So … when you get on the bus or tram you need to validate your ticket by sticking it into the slot on the validation machine. The machine stamps the date and time, and the time is when your ticket’s clock starts running.
What this means is you buy your ticket at 12:30, then decide to have lunch before moving on. So at 14:10 you get on the tram, with your 30-minute ticket. and immediately validate. Your ticket expires at 14:40.
Underground, overground, Kraków’s trams come in old, new and in-between
Why do we have this system? Because it means you can buy tickets where and when suits you – you can buy a week’s worth at 22:00 in the corner shop on a Sunday evening and use them for your journeys to and from work all week.
Watch out for ticket inspectors – they WILL fine you, just like they fine the locals. And they’re not the nicest people in Poland.
And watch out for delays – your ticket will expire regardless of the bus or tram being held up in traffic – buy a new one or get off (see above).