Stockholm Public Transportation: Bus and Metro explained

A train at Telefonplan Metro Station. Photo by harry_nl.
A train at Telefonplan Metro Station. Photo by harry_nl.

Each day in Stockholm, 700,000 trips are made using public transportation. Considering only about 800,000 people live within Stockholm city limits, that number is pretty impressive. With the efficient and user-friendly SL, Stockholm’s public transportation company, it makes sense that so many Stockholmers take to the metro, buses, and more.

The lowdown

Stockholm is a very walk-able city, but if you’re less interested in wandering around than getting around efficiently (or if you just want to get out of the cold on your way to your next destination), public transportation is really the way to go. Subways, buses, trains, and even boats and street cars are covered by the SL umbrella, and every single one of them is clean and on time.

SL offers a smorgasbord (pun absolutely intended) of ticket options. Luckily, the SL website gives a great rundown of everything that is available. Some of the options are perfect for a short trip to Stockholm.

Standard and prepaid tickets

SL offers standard one-trip tickets. These are not worth your money if you plan on using public transportation more than once or twice, but they are worth explaining. Stockholm is broken up into three different zones according to SL. Zone A will cost you two tickets, Zone B will cost you three, and Zone C will cost you four.

Really, if you’re just staying in the city all you need to worry about is Zone A and the two ticket price. These tickets are only valid for an hour after you use them. If you plan on using public transportation more than four times during your stay in Stockholm, consider a pre-paid strip of tickets or a day pass.

The prepaid strip of tickets is 16 single tickets for the price of 180 SEK. This gives you eight trips within the city and ends up being about half the price of the standard one-trip tickets. You’ll get a stamp which, unfortunately, is only good for an hour after stamping. But remember, you’ve got seven more trips before you need to think about paying for transportation again.

Day passes

There are also day passes. The 24-hour pass costs 100 SEK, the 72- hour pass is 200 SEK, and the seven-day card is 260 SEK. Day passes are valid at any time and can be used as many times as you wish. Depending on your length of stay, day passes are a great way to save money and still get everywhere you want to go.

The Stockholm Card

Finally, there is Stockholmskortet, The Stockholm Card. The Stockholm Card ranges from 375 SEK for 24 hours to 595 SEK for 72 hours. It allows you free entrance to over 70 museums in Stockholm and gives you free access to public transportation.

Buy your ticket before boarding the bus

Note that you cannot buy tickets on the bus. Bus drivers stopped carrying money a couple of years ago in hopes of speeding up service and keeping everyone safer. There are plenty of places where you can buy tickets though, including SL service centers, most subway and train stations, Pressbyrån (a Swedish convenience store), and, if you happen to have a Swedish cell phone provider, with your cell phone.

About the author

Marcus Cederstrom
About the author: Marcus Cederström was born in Sweden and moved to the US just before his sixth birthday. After 17 years in the US, Marcus moved back to Sweden. His daily adventures and musings are chronicled in his blog, A Swedish American in Sweden.
Posted in: Stockholm
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Cheapo Comments

7 Responses to “Stockholm Public Transportation: Bus and Metro explained”
  • Hey, really useful gen there Marcus. Perhaps worth pointing out that the SL ticket system with those three zones A, B, C also allows you to use not just the métro (called Tunnelbana in Swedish) but also the regular SJ trains too. There are eight local train routes (Lokalbanor) that are entirely within Zones A, B and C (all easily identified as they have the route prefix L), Then there are three longer distance routes that head on out beyond the boundaries of Zone C, but where SL tickets are valid out as far as the outer edge of Zone C. These three routes have the prefix J. That outer edge of Zone C is quite some way out from the city: as far as Nynashamn in the southeast and Bro in the northwest.

  • Very good addition! SL does great work in extending those zones out quite a ways. Plus, as you travel through more zones they give you more time on your ticket as well, which is quite helpful considering the distance you might end up traveling.

  • Nomadic Matt says:

    watch out too! They are real tough there on people trying to jump on without paying! I saw people checking all the time!

  • The buses are the worst, and getting caught not paying is an expensive lesson.

  • sa says:

    Plus those controllers are dressed in plain clothes waiting for people to jump the turn styles. Quite sneaky they are.

  • Coach Hire says:

    I have to both agree and disagree to some comments, there are still coach companies, minibus hire companies and limo hire companies with better transportation service, I often travel down from London to Stockhom to meet my mother and I use BM Coach Hire, and I must say, they are having worlds most finest coach hire, minibus hire and limo hire service, which costs me almost nothing during I am traveling across Europe.

    You might give it a try too and then tell everyone, not all coach companies are bad!

    Thanks

    Lucy

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