The public transportation system in Riga, Latvia consists of a wheelchair accessible city bus and trolleybus network, as well as on-street tram lines with limited accessibility.
Wheelchair Accessible City Bus & Trolleybus Service in Riga
Riga’s two primary modes of public transportation are city bus service and on-street trams. I used public transit exclusively for longer journeys throughout the city, and found it manageable.
The majority of city buses and trolleybuses are wheelchair accessible, with an electronic ramp (and in limited cases, manual) at the center or rear door. Pressing the button with a wheelchair icon on the side of the bus alerts the driver to deploy the ramp. A wheelchair space exists on all of the accessible buses.
Tram Service in Riga is only partially wheelchair accessible
Two primary types of on-street trams currently operate in Riga, with only the most modern low-floor tram being wheelchair accessible.
Older, high-floor trams (pictured left) are inaccessible to wheelchair users, whereas low-floor trams feature a wheelchair lift at the forward door. Drivers can be alerted to deploy the lift by pressing the button with a wheelchair icon.
Unlike barrier-free low-floor trams and streetcars seen in other European cities and in the United States, Riga’s low-floor trams do not offer level boarding. A mechanical lift is deployed and used to raise the wheelchair user from the street up into the tram. Tram stops are often located in the center of the street, rather than at a separate boarding platform — this requires passengers, including wheelchair users, to enter the street in order to reach the tram. It may be necessary for a wheelchair user to enter the street away from the designated stop, where a crosswalk with curb ramp is provided.
Tickets and fares for Riga public transportation
Disabled people ride public transportation in Riga free of charge. For nondisabled passengers, a single journey on Riga’s city buses and trams costs €1.15 EUR if purchased in advance or €2 if purchased onboard. Unlimited ride passes are available at a cost of €5 for 24 hours, €10 for 3 days and €15 for 5 days. Tickets and passes can be purchased from Narvesen stores or from an automated ticket machine (availably only at select stops).