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You have decided to visit Sarajevo and now you are wondering how to get around? Here are few tips regarding the public transport in Sarajevo.
City of Sarajevo, with its metropolitan area (Sarajevo Canton), has a population of app. 440.000. We should include 50.000 of those residing in neighbouring cities and municipalities, who use public transport in Sarajevo every day, in and out of the city.
Sarajevo has an extensive network of trams, buses, trolleybuses and minibuses, operated by state-owned transportation company GRAS, in addition with private-owned company of Centrotrans, which operates on certain bus and minibus lines. In general trams are covering majority of the public transport in Sarajevo, including the suburbs.
Overall, it is impossible to skip extremely popular Sarajevo’s recently renovated cable car. It connects Baščaršija (generally known as the Old Town) and Mount Trebević, one of the four Olympic Mountains.
You can catch a taxi anywhere in the city and the longest ride will cost you around 15 KM (8 €).
One of the most popular myths you will hear is that Sarajevo was the first city in Europe with the public tram system. Among many myths that we don’t miss in our history this is the one most people believe in. Tour guides and ordinary people will brag with that fact. Unfortunately, we’ll have to disappoint them all. Reality is that we could rank Sarajevo in a top 30 European cities with the trams used as regular public transport.
Proved historical facts about this topic tell us that, once Bosnia and Herzegovina was occupied by the Austro-Hungarian Monarchy in 1878, extensive railway infrastructure was under construction. Austria-Hungary applied narrow-gauge railway (760 mm wide, instead 1435 mm normal-gauge) in Bosnia. On October 5th, 1882. Sarajevo was connected with the town of Brod at the northern part of the country. Since the new railway station was a bit far from the city centre, local authorities were struggling to find a way how to provide sustainable connection.
Minister of finances, Benjamin Kállay, was insisting on a horse-drawn tram and it took a bit more than four months to finalise the works. The first tram was introduced to public on January 1st, 1885. It was a big deal for Sarajevans, and it took 13 minutes from the railway station ’till the city’s main station, which is today’s Alija Izetbegović’s square in the city downtown. There was a dress code, especially for drivers and conductors, where one of the main prerequisites was decent dressing and not to “smell on rakija or garlic”. All in all, the tram had a high aesthetically value, and newspaper articles were referring to it as a “verandah on tracks”.
The tram introduced to the citizens back then could take 28 passengers. One of the many legends attached to the story says that the first station in the city was full of the shoes, since the people thought they had to take them off when stepping into the tram. Initial length of the tram tracks was 3.1 km, and according to rules, one horse could draw only two rounds back and forth, after which was replaced and left to rest. First tramtickets were printed on 3 languages: Bosnian, German and Turkish, and they were of red colour. At the present Strossmayer’s street (in front of the Roman Catholic Cathedral), a tram depot and horse barn were erected.
And now, we come to the Sarajevo’s most famous legend and the myth. It was 1895. and Sarajevo’s modernization was moving forward with a serious speed. City got its first electric central, and tram system, instead of its horse-drawn carriage was electrified. So, claiming that Monarchy used Sarajevo as a test polygons for new tram technology is simply not truth. Today, these information are easily verifiable on internet, and the only truth is that Sarajevo, within Austro-Hungarion Empire, got the electric tram 2 years before Vienna and Budapest, but before Prague and Zagreb as well. However, Sarajevo was only 4th city in the whole Empire to have such a privilege.
Taking all info into consideration, it’s important to mention that the city was no different than most of the developed European cities in terms of public transportation in Sarajevo.
In the 1960 tramline network was gauged from narrow (760 mm) to normal gauge (1435 mm), and city got its first famous so-called Washington trams. The fleet used in the network were Tatra K2 articulated trams from the Czech Republic, delivered in the 1970s and early 1980s. Later these trams were joint by more modern vehicles.
The tram route is very simple: it passes through the entire city, from Ilidža to Baščarsija and back, through several of the city’s main streets: Džemala Bijedića, Bulevar Meše Selimovića, Zmaja od Bosne, Maršala Tita, Obala Kulina Bana, and Mula Mustafe Bašeskije streets. There is only one other destination and that is the Sarajevo Railway Station.
Trams in Sarajevo have six different lines, but the only difference is in the starting and ending points, while they all pass the same tram railway and, if you plan correctly, most of them can get you to some of the most prominent destinations located in the city.
Tickets for the trams are easy to purchase. Every newsstand located close to the tram railway sells tickets and they cost BAM 1.60. You can also buy a ticket from the driver and then they will cost BAM 1.80. It is possible to buy tickets for two, five and 10 rides as well. The tickets need to be validated at the green electronic device that is located in the tram near the first door of the vehicle. It is important to note that, once it is validated, the ticked is valid for one hour in the tram.
The essential tram route in Sarajevo is the line number 3. This is the one that covers the entire route from Ilidža to Baščaršija. This route operates as the most frequent one as well, and the ride takes between 30 and 45 minutes, depending on the part of the day.
The lines number 1 and 4 lead directly to the Sarajevo Railway station. The number 1 goes from Baščaršija to the Railway Station, while trams number 4 travel from Ilidža to the Railway Station.
The two least frequent routes operate mostly during the morning and afternoon rush hours, catering to the many students and workers who study and work in the center of the city. Number 2 goes from Baščarsija to Cengic Vila, covering essentially the older parts of Sarajevo. Number 5 operates from Baščarsija to Nedzarici, ending a couple of stations before Ilidža.
20 meters far from Baščaršija tram station, whose cental part is the famous Pigeon Square, Sarajevo Funky Tours office is located. Trams operate from 05:10 AM until around midnight.
The trolley bus system was introduced to the city in 1984, with the purpose to offer more to both residents and tourists. Winter Olympics were held in the city during that year, so Sarajevo took important place on a tourist map of the world.
Even though some trolleybus’ infrastructure, as most of the city during the war, was severely affected and ruined, it was of the crucial significance after the war. Namely, it was the auxilliary system, facilitating a lot of the tram infrastructure. The trolleybus transport is also an essential part of Sarajevo public transport, covering and connecting the new parts of Sarajevo, especially Dobrinja district and Otoka with the center of the city.
Much like trams, trolleybuses also have one main route. However, when they arrive in the center they split into two directions so it is important to note what the final station is. The sale of tickets for trolleybuses does not differ from the sale of tram tickets. Tickets bought at newsstands cost BAM 1.60, while the ones bought from the trolleybus driver cost BAM 1.80. The tickets can be stamped on the metal stampers that are located on the handles close to the trolleybus’ doors. Every ticket that is stamped is valid in the vehicle in which it was stamped.
Trolleybus lines start from Dobrinja district and they end at either the Austrian Square (“Trg Austrije“), leading into the city centre and following the Miljacka River, or they turn left at Skenderija and go up to the Jezero Maternity Hospital, but essentially reaching the Koševo Stadium. Another important trolleybus station is Otoka, located mid-way on the route.
The lines 101, 102 and 108 start at Otoka. 101 goes from Otoka to the Austrian Square, while 102 starts at Otoka and goes to the Jezero Hospital. The line 108 starts at Otoka and goes to Dobrinja.
The two longer routes, covering the entirety of Dobrinja and leading straight into the city center are lines 103 and 107. Line 103 starts at Dobrinja and ends at Austrian Square, while the line 107 also starts at Dobrinja and ends at the Jezero station.
The lines starting from Otoka mostly operate during the rush hours, when the majority of workers and students travel. The lines covering the entire route operate regularly during the entire day. It is important to note that the trolleybus lines can have a longer delay between the individual trolleybuses due to traffic congestions and other factors, while the trams operate on a more regular basis meaning that delays last no more than several minutes.
Trolleybuses operate from 05:45 AM until 11 PM.
Line 1: Bascarsija-Train/Bus Station
Line 2: Bascarsija-Cengic villa
Line 3: Bascarsija-Ilidza
Line 4: Ilidza-Train/Bus Station
Line 5: Nedzarici-Bascarsija
Line 6: Ilidza-Skenderija
Line 101: Otoka-Drvenija-Trg Austrije
Line 102: Otoka-Jezero
Line 103: Dobrinja-Drvenija-Trg Austrije
Line 104: Mojmilo-Drvenija-Trg Austrije
Here you can find timetables for 43 buses, 32 minibuses, 6 trolley buses and 6 tram lines operated by KJKP GRAS vehicles.