Tbilisi public transport includes metro, buses and mini-buses. Transportation in a new country can be tricky and as a tourist you should know few things about city transport system before you start moving around in the city.
Tbilisi is served by an efficient metro network, which includes two lines; the Akhmeteli-Varketili (Red) Line, and the Saburtalo (Green) Line. The two lines intersect at Station Square, which is also where Tbilisi’s Central Train Station is located. Central station service Georgian railway for destinations outside Tbilisi.
For using the metro, you need to buy a Metromoney Card which cost 2 GEL. These can be bought and recharged at any station. Each journey costs 0.5 GEL regardless of distance. Any change between metro to bus within 90 minutes is free. Metro signage and announcements inside metro trains are made in both Georgian and English.
Bus service in Tbilisi is operated by TTS. Buses are efficient and cover all the major areas of Tbilisi. Buses are blue and yellow and each displays a route number on the front. On the bus website there is an option for journey planning. Input your start location and destination and it will show you the buses available on this route. If you have difficulty using their site you can use Google map to check the bus on particular route. Google Map will not tell you the exact bus number for your destination. From the map you have to do it manually.
Single bus ride cost 0.5 GEL. You can buy a ticket at the ticket machine in the bus. The ticket machine doesn’t give change so the fare should be paid exactly. The better way is to pay by Matromoney card. Any change between bus to metro within 90 minutes is free.
All the new buses (blue color) are air conditioned with comfortable seats. One very good feature of the bus service in Tbilisi is they all have GPS. When you are waiting for your bus, a digital display at the bus stop displays next few buses and their expected arrival time.
As an alternative to regular buses, there are minibuses known as Marshrutka. The mini-bus network in Tbilisi is the most comprehensive and cover more area than regular buses. These buses follow fixed routes around the city but stop on request anywhere (hail and ride) for pick up and drop off except few streets. Charges start from 0.3 GEL to 1.0 GEL depending on the route. In these buses you have to pay cash on exit (pay cash on exit – no ticket) or pay by MetroMoney smartcard.
There are four cable cars in Tblisi. The most widely used by tourists is the one running from Rike Park to the Narikala Fortress. To use this cable car you need Metromoney card. One way ride cost 0.5 GEL.
Taxis are a cheap and are an easy way to get around the city as they can be found almost anywhere. Most trips within Tbilisi will cost only few lari. Some taxis have taxi sign on top, equipped with meters and fixed rates, but not all of them. Taxis in Tbilisi are not regulated and anyone can operate his car as taxi. Before you hire a taxi always agree the price with the driver and try to keep exact change. After all this, language is still a barrier since most taxi drivers don’t speak English.
If you want to avoid all this hassle of negotiation and explaining your destination to the driver, stick to app based taxi services. Its easy to order taxis, fare is displayed before boarding the taxi. Few of the services available in Tbilisi are;