Using the public transportation system in Prague as a wheelchair user can be a bit tricky, but this guide will help you navigate it like a pro. The system consists of n underground metro subway, on-street trams and city buses. None are fully accessible, but by using a combination of the three, wheelchair travelers can access all parts of the city.
The Prague Metro is the fifth busiest metro system in Europe, serving nearly 600 million passengers annually. The metro consists of three lines, lettered A, B and C, and serves 61 stations. Future expansion and a new line, D, is planned. Accessible transfers between the three existing lines are available at two stations: Muzeum (A & C) and Florenc (B & C). The transfer station Mustek, which serves lines A and B, is not wheelchair accessible. Mobility challenges passengers seeking to transfer between these lines should ride line C between the Museum and Floenc stations, which are only two stops apart.
Wheelchair accessibility of the Prague Metro, in stations and on trains, is moderate. Approximately two-thirds (40 of 61) of stations are wheelchair accessible, with elevators from the street to both the concourse and platform. Elevators are not available at all entrances, and many stations do have two or more entrances. The street-level elevators are typically located directly next to one of the primary escalator entrances, but this is not always the case. In each of the accessible stations, elevators also exist between the station concourse and train platform.
For wheelchair users, the metro may be the least useful of the city’s public transportation options, as many of the downtown stations are inaccessible. The following stations are NOT accessible, grouped by line:
- Line A – Flora, Hradcanska, Jiriho z Podebrad, Malostranska, Mustek, Namesti Miru, Staromestska, and Zelivskeho.
- Line B – Andel, Ceskomoravska, Invalidovna, Jinonice, Karlovo namesti, Krizikova, Mustek, Namesti Republiky, Palmovka, and Radicka.
- Line C – I.P. Pavlova, Kacerov, and Prazskeoho povstani.
Two types of metro trains operate on the metro. The latest equipment, employed on line C, can be seen in the photograph above. These trains are level with the station platform, and the gap is less than 3 inches. The older-style trains typically sit 2-3 inches higher than the platform, with a similar gap. Power wheelchair users will want to board the older style trains with some speed. They are found on lines A and B.
Prague has an extensive network of on-street tramways, with 21 daytime and 9 night routes which utilize 88.5 miles of track. The trams themselves are quite diverse, with many dating back to the 1960s. Although the stops/boarding platforms are accessible, not all of the trams are.
The new Skoda trams, like the one pictured above, began entering the fleet in 2005. I have not been able to confirm the total number of these more modern trams, but several sources suggest that approximately one-third of the 931 total trams are of this new type.
These trams have a wheelchair accessible boarding ramp (pictured here) at the passenger door closest to the driver. Wheelchair passengers will need to flag the tram’s operator, as the ramp must be manually deployed. The ramp is more than wide enough for powered wheelchairs. While the ramp’s incline is quite pedestrian at most stops, not all tram stops have a high-level boarding platform, which means the ramp can be quite steep at a few stations.
Most of the trams operating along the network are of the older T3 style. They were originally built with high floors, and passengers must climb a few steps to access the passenger cabin. Many of these older trams are being rebuilt and modified to include a low floor section, with a ramp similar to the one pictured above. Still, this process is moving slowly, and the majority of T3 trams are not yet accessible. Wheelchair accessible trams will be marked as such, with the international disability and wheelchair logo appearing on the front of the train.
Accessible trams run on most routes. During my time in Prague, line 3 was the only one that I never saw operated by a low-floor tram. Between 6 a.m. and midnight, trams typically run every 5 to 10 minutes. This means that, if you are waiting on a tram, and it is operated with a high-floor model, you’ll likely see an accessible tram on that route within 10 to 20 minutes. While this is not always the case, I never waited more than 20 minutes for an accessible tram to come along.
Many stops feature an electronic schedule indicator, which display the waiting time for the trams stopping there. It will also show whether or not the approaching tram vehicle is wheelchair accessible. When I took the photograph at the right, I was waiting on the #25 tram at the Hradcanska tram stop. The next line 25 tram was 7 minutes away and accessible, as demonstrated by the wheelchair symbol on the display. This stop is located across the street from the accessible Hradcanska Metro station, served by line A.
City Buses & Airport Express
Most city buses which operate in Prague are wheelchair accessible via a manual, fold-out ramp at the center door. These ramps, like those on the trams, must be extended by the bus driver. Pictured at the left is the ramp for the Airport Express bus, which provides service every 30 minutes between Vaclav Havel International Airport (PRG) and the city’s Central train station.
Although the city buses are easy to use, I personally preferred using the tram system, as it was more reliable, the schedules were more regular, and my Google Maps app was able to provide reliable directions.
Most people in Prague use the buses only for travel between the city and the suburban housing areas. It is designed more for commuters going between home and wok, and is not the best option for tourists. The Airport Express does offer quick service to the airport, but the bus fills up and will be a very tight squeeze. Expect for other passengers to stand around and crowd you. More information on transportation options to/from the airport can be found in the airport section of this accessible travel guide.
For a complete list of city bus routes and stops, visit the Prague Transport Company’s website at www.dpp.cz (Czech only).
Tickets & Fares
Tickets for the Prague Metro, tram, city bus and Airport Express can be purchased at electronic kiosks in metro stations, at public transit information centers, and at some tobacco shops. The fares are outlined in the chart below, copied from the Prague Transport Company website (English).
When using public transportation, I like to use either a reloadable tap card, or a daily pass, as it saves me the trouble of buying a ticket every time I want to hop on the metro. I was not able to find any information on fare reductions for disabled persons, so I bought daily unlimited use passes for 110 CZK (~$4.50). Children and seniors (age 70+) get a 50% reduction on the cost of the single day tourist ticket. I thought this was a great deal, as it allowed me to use all three major public transit services, and required only one stop at the ticket sales office.
Praha Hlavni Nadrazi (Main Train Station)
I recently traveled to Prague on the ALEX train from Munich, Germany. The train arrived to the city’s central train station, Praha Hlavni Nadrazi. It is the largest and busiest passenger train station in the Czech Republic. Havana Nadrazi first opened in 1871,but has thankfully been updated since then. Pictured below is what you’ll see when you enter the station, with moving walkways and elevators connecting the multiple levels.
The train station connects wheelchair travelers with regional and international rail, the Airport Express bus service, and the metro’s C line. The station is staffed to provide boarding services (via a ramp) to regional and international trains. Ticket desks, for both rail services and the Airport Express, are staffed by English speakers. I recommend that wheelchair travelers arrange rail transportation at least one day in advance, and confirm assistance services at the train station. You can also purchase tickets via the Czech Railways website.