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Photo by: Rasmus Jurkatam

Photo by: Rasmus Jurkatam

Photo by: Rasmus Jurkatam

How to use public transport in Tallinn

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By Noora Karppi  •  09.05.2018

Using the public transport in Tallinn is easy, once you get the hang of it. There are four types of tickets and four types of vehicles. We will teach you how to use them.

Central Tallinn is easy to explore on foot, but some of the popular attractions are outside the city centre. Visiting Tallinn TV Tower or Estonian Open Air Museum will require you to use public transport.

Public transport network

The Tallinn public transport network consists of buses, trolleys and trams. The train network is operated by public transport company ELRON.

Bus routes that are part of Tallinn public transport network are numbered from 1 to 73. Almost all the buses cross through central Tallinn. The bus stops with most routes are Viru Keskus, Kaubamaja, Estonia and Vabaduse Väljak (Freedom Square).

Tallinn has four tram lines. All of them meet at the Hobujaama stop in central Tallinn, by Viru Keskus. Tram number 4 operates between the city centre and Tallinn airport.

Four trolley routes take passengers from Balti Jaam railway station and the centre of Tallinn to the western suburbs of the city.

The public transport network operates from 6:00 to 23:00, though some popular routes start earlier (around 5:00) and finish at midnight.

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To use the public transport network, you will need a validated ticket. If you don’t have a valid ticket, you may get a fine of €40.

Local residents, children under 7 and passengers travelling with children below the age of 3 have the right of free travel.

Types of tickets and where to get them

The ticket types, introduced below, are valid for Tallinn public transport (buses, trolleys and trams). If you are taking the train, you need to buy a ticket from the train conductor. Please note that in most trains only cash is accepted. Read more about the train tickets from ELRON webpage.

Tallinn Card entitles you to free public transport in the buses, trolleys and trams of Tallinn. You are allowed to unlimited free transport for the period your Tallinn Card is active (24h, 36h or 72h). Validate your Tallinn Card each time you board a vehicle.

The price a Tallinn Card depends on the duration and type of the Tallinn Card you choose. The easiest way to buy a Tallinn Card is online. Tallinn Cards are also available at Tallinn Tourist Information Centre and several other sales points.

Read more about Tallinn Card.

Paper Ticket valid for a single ride, in the vehicle where you purchased it. One single-ride paper ticket costs €2. You can buy a paper ticket with cash from the driver when entering the vehicle. This is the only ticket you don’t need to validate. Keep the ticket at hand until the end of the ride.

Smartcard is a green card, onto which you can load credit or e-tickets. You can buy a Smartcard at any R-Kiosk, post office or Service Bureau of Tallinn City Office.

When buying a Smartcard you’ll pay the deposit (€2) and the price of the e-ticket or the amount of credit you wish to load on the card. You must validate the card each time when entering the vehicle.

You can later add credit or buy a new e-ticket to your Smartcard. If you don’t need the card anymore, you can return it (within six months from purchasing) to Service Bureau of Tallinn City, R-Kiosk at the airport, railway station or port or to the information desk at the bus station.

Smartcard fares:
  • 1-hour ticket - €1.10 For this type, one Smartcard can be used for a group of up to six riders.
  • 1-day ticket (24h) - €3
  • 3-day ticket (72h) - €5
  • 5-day ticket (120h) - €6
  • 30-day ticket - €23

The day tickets are valid for 1, 3, 5 or 30 days from the first use. The system tracks your use and automatically charges your Smartcard according to the cheapest ticket you're entitled to.

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QR tickets are available at website and mobile application. After purchase, you should use the ticket within one year. One QR ticket is €1. When the ticket is purchased through the mobile application, a service charge (€0.32) will be added to the price. You can buy up to 10 QR tickets at a time, and use them separately or share with your travel companions.

Enter the vehicle from the front door and present the code of the QR ticket to the scanner on the validator. Validated QR ticket is valid for a single ride.

Read more about different ticket types.

Validating your ticket

All tickets (except paper tickets, which don’t require validating) are validated inside the vehicle. Orange validators are located by every door in all vehicles.

  1. To buy a paper ticket from the driver or validate a QR ticket, you must enter the vehicle through the front door.
  2. To validate your ticket, place your Tallinn Card, Smartcard or QR ticket against the validator. 
  • Green light and the validator beeps once - you have successfully validated your ticket.
  • Red light and two beeps - you are out of credit, or something went wrong, your ticket is not validated. Make sure other cards don’t interfere the validator and try again. If you don’t succeed, ask for help.
  • Yellow light – please wait, the enquiry is being made
If you have run out of credit or your ticket is no longer valid, buy a paper ticket from the driver.

Validating tickets for several passengers is easy. 
  1. Place your smartcard or QR ticket against the validator
  2. Use the arrow keys to select the number of passengers
  3. Hit ‘OK’
With QR tickets, you can validate up to 10 tickets and with Smartcards up to 6 tickets at a time.