The public transport network of Vilnius consists of buses, trolleybuses and minibuses (Marshrutki). They operate from 05:00 a.m until about 23:30 h.
Tickets for buses and trolleybuses can be purchased at kiosks (Lietuvos Spauda) for 1,10 Litas or directly from the driver for 1,40 Litas (Prices from 2006). You have to stamp your ticket when boarding the bus and it is valid for one journey no matter the distance.
Minibuses have their own fare system. Tickets can vary from 2 to 3 Litas and can only be bought from the driver.
We wanted to visit the Television Tower, and looking in our 'Vilnius in your Pocket' realised that we could get a taxi for about 20Lt or catch one of the trolleybuses that departed from near our hotel.
Numbers 1,3,7 or 16 were our options apparently.
There were timetables at the bus stop.
We'd just missed a Number 1 - well we'd let it go, as we were trying to suss out which door you boarded etc.
A number 7 pulled in, so I jumped on board with 5Lt for our one way fare and asked for Televizljos Bokstas. I wasn't sure if the driver had understood (or even heard me) I was just about to repeat this, when he said Number one. Hmmmm.
Well we only had a few minutes to wait before a number one arrived. Same request, and the driver slowly opened the money chute, where I deposited my 5 Lt coin, which was exchanged for two flimsy paper tickets. Sitting down, I noticed a yellow machine to validate the ticket by scanning it - nothing happened. Luckily a young woman sitting nearby pointed to a small red metal box above our seat. You put the ticket in the slot and pull the handle which punches holes in the ticket.
On our return journey an elderly lady kept attempting to give me her ticket - I thought she was offering this ticket to me. Eventually I realised that she wanted me to punch it for her - doh!
From August this year, tickets are only sold by the driver (previously you could purchase them from kiosks)
the 2.50 ticket is valid for 30 minutes, for any number of journeys.
3.50 offers an hours worth of unlimited journeys.
You can purchase an electronic ticket from kiosks for 4 Tl, which is scanned on the yellow machine, and the price deducted. Top up amounts at the kiosks. These are valid on Trolleybuses and City buses.
Fines for no ticket is 60-100 Lt
Apparently, you can also purchase 24/72/240 hour tickets valid on the trolley buses and city buses, from a kiosk by the left of the train station or the klientu Informacinis Centras on Gedimino, opposite the Novotel.
Check the websites below for prices/other ticket options.
Well, we enjoyed seeing Vilnius from the trolleybus window as we wound our way to the stop near the terminus. I'm still not sure that we got off at the right stop - we had a short walk to the Television tower, including a short section through some woods.
We followed the signs, but took the path before the one that we should have, so we did a full circumference of the perimeter fence - reading other reviews, it appears that 'getting lost' is the norm.
On our return journey, we found our stop straight away, just outside the terminus.
We noticed that there weren't any bells on the buses, but they seem to stop at each stop en route.
There were announcements of the approaching bus stops, plus some longer announcements, which I have no idea what these were.
The extensive electric trolleybus (pronounced tro-LAY-busas) in Vilnius is very cheap. Tickets can be bought at kiosks around the city or from the driver at a higher rate. Make sure you stamp your ticket in one of the little boxes on the bus, as this validates your ride. Without it, a city inspector can hit you with a fine and kick you off the bus.
In the picture, you can see a sign on a bus that read: "Su vairotoju kalbetis draudziama!" or It is forbidden to speak with the driver!" While speaking with the driver and smoking are both banned on buses in Vilnius, just outside of the frame of the picture is a man talking to the bus driver while smoking.
PS, in some countries you need to buy an extra ticket for your luggage on busses. Not sure if this applies in Vilnius. Make sure you check at the kiosk or with the driver before you get on.
Trolleybuses is the most steady transport in Vilnius. They are provided by electricity. A ticket of use of this vehicle cost about 0,25$.
The montly ticket costs about 3$ for pupils, students and old people, about 10$ for all another people.
Sometimes trolleybuses are crowded by great multitude of people.
Vilnius doesn't have trams like the other Baltic capitals, nor does it have a subway. What it does have is buses, either the free driving ones or the trolleybuses you see all over Eastern Europe. There are also the minibus masrutai, like the marshrutkas you'll find all over the former Soviet Union.
As traffic is limited in the old city, and the trolley buses will never go in there, then routes that take you past Vilniaus gatve are the best. Confusingly this stop is also sometimes called Vinco Kudirkos aikštė. This stop will put you on the Gediminos Avenue, close to the old town, and by many of the most popular hotels.
The following buses run to this stop: 2, 3, 5, 6, 12, 14 and 15. But check the schedules in the link below.
Trolleybus is not a common mean of transportation neither in Europe nor in the USA, as I noticed. Although in cities of the former Soviet Union they were quite common in the past. And they still survived in Vilnius. It maybe additional attraction, at least for a kid, am I wrong?
As I know, trolleybuses survived only in 3 cities in Poland including my hometown, Tychy. Well, trolleybuses are more expensive than buses and the company who runs them needs money from the city budget to survive . Each year there is a discussion whether to pay them and how much. I voted for trolleybuses - clean, silent and nice mean of transportation although the question is: trolleybus or (never and) new school, money for poors etc. Does it work the same way in Vilnius?
The city and surrounding areas have good public transport. Trolleybus #16 took us to the TV tower, most maps have trolleybus and bus routes printed on them. Tickets are available from the driver but it's much easier to buy them from the kiosks around town, usually one near each stop. The next stop was announced on each trolley bus we used which were modern ones, not sure if this happens on the older ones still used.
Tickets are 1.1 lts, don't forget to validate it as you get on.
To get around Vilnius, take the trolley bus.
Buy tickets at the kiosks & cancel them in the machines on the buses when you get on.
I took this photo at 'Stotis' the terminus next to the train & bus stations.
The first time I used a trolleybus it was easy to get my ticket punched. It was one of the newer trolleybuses and so it was equipped with an electronic ticket machine. However, the next trolleybus I used was one of the older ones (and some of these are really ancient) and this had a red mechanical ticket machine. It was not clear how to use this. A fellow passenger kindly showed me how to insert my ticket into the top of the machine to get it punched.
Trolleybuses are reliable and convenient, but that's not the best thing about them. They are a great place to observe human behaviour at its finest. There is nothing more entertaining than a 4-foot tall grandmother who looks like a garden gnome, elbowing her way through a crowd of tough-looking young men in order to get to a seat. ;-)
You can buy a ticket from the driver for 1 Lt, or at newspaper kiosks all around the city for 0.80 Lt. Make sure to insert your ticket into the little red box on the wall (on older buses), or into the brown boxes on the handrails (on newer buses), and punch holes in it to validate it.
The other option is to take a minibus, which look kind of like overgrown taxis and have a route # visible in the windshield. They slow down at all the regular bus stops, but you have to wave if you want them to stop & pick you up. The fare is 2 Lt, payable in cash to the driver (make sure to get a receipt). The minibus is Vilnius' answer to the roller coaster, so hang on tight -- I've heard that the drivers used to drive tanks in the Red Army, and they seem to be on a personal mission to break the landspeed record. ;-)
Just like busses, but instead of diesel they are using electric wires. Mostly built by Škoda. There are less Trolleybusses routes than busses, all of the routes are in the city itself, not outskirts of it. Ticket costs are the same as for busses in all cases (and if you want, you can buy 1 month ticket for both busses and trolleybusses, but then it costs more than such a ticket for just busses or trolleybusses). Trolleybusses are either combined white and red or they are all painted with some advertising.