Everything Sweden

Public Transport in Stockholm

March 31, 2016

Public Transport in Stockholm can seem complicated at first if you’re not familiar with the transportation system. At which station should I get off? When and where does the train arrive? How much does the fare cost? What is that nice Swedish lady saying over the speakers? These were all questions that came to my mind during my first weeks in Stockholm, and I have attempted to answer them for you down below.

Public Transport in Stockholm

Subway (Tunnelbanan)

In my personal experience, I find Stockholm’s subway system to be very efficient, clean, and spacious. You hardly ever find yourself in an overly crowded wagon, and sometimes the views in some parts of the city can be breathtaking. However, upon arriving in Stockholm, I found myself rather confused when people would ask me to meet them at Kungsträdgården, Karlberg, Gröndal, or any station that had an Å, Ä, or Ö in its name. I wasn’t sure whether to take the subway, streetcar, or the commuter train. And also, let’s not forget that in most cases the person giving you directions will use terms such as Tunnelbanan (subway), Tvärbanan (streetcar/tram), or Pendeltåg (commuter train).

Even though a subway map is found on every wagon (carriage), I recommend that you download the Linjekartor app that allows you to easily search through all the stations as sometimes there are people leaning against the maps or the map may be blocked by a group of musicians singing away while you struggle to find your next destination. I also recommend that you download the ResiStockholm app that lets you efficiently plan your trips around the city. These two apps have helped me navigate through the entire city effortlessly. Also, be aware that during the week the subway and most public transport in Stockholm stops running at around 12:30 am (with the exception of the night busses), so plan your trips wisely as you might find yourself in a desolated spot waiting for a night bus. During Fridays and Saturdays the trains run all night, but after around 1:30 am they will not run as frequently. This can be quite inconvenient when your bladder is full with pints of whatever beer you have been downing all night. And since we are on the subject, be careful during weekend nights, as most people have been out drinking excessively and it is very common to find spilt beers, food, or bodily fluids on seats and floors.

Warning: If you find 4 available seats in a crowded train during a weekend night, I advise you to stay away from them!

Besides Central Station (T-Centralen), Gullmarsplan, Fridhemsplan, and Liljeholmen are a few other hub stations that will connect you to streetcars, buses, and other subway lines. When arriving at a connection hub, the connecting lines are always announced over the speakers, but unless your Swedish is somewhat advanced you might miss the announcement. So make sure to stay alert and keep an eye on the subway map!

Tvärbanan (streetcar/tram)

Stockholm’s street cars are a very convenient way of getting around the city. There is no need to scan your transport card anywhere before entering it, you just simply get on and a ticket inspector will come around to make sure that your card has credit. In some cases, the inspector never comes around, but I recommend to not take the risk and always pay for your fare as you want to avoid the embarrassment of being kicked out or fined. Unlike on the subway, you must make sure to press the stop button when you want to exit the streetcar otherwise it will not stop, especially at night when you might be the only person getting off at a stop.

Pendeltåg (commuter train)

Stockholm’s commuter train is a great way to get around the city and its surrounding suburbs. However, it is not the most reliable way to get to work on time, or anywhere else on time for that matter! The commuter train is very likely to be delayed by snow, rain, accumulated leaves, or just about any other thing you can think of. Nonetheless, it is nicely equipped with outlets to charge your mobile devices and, when running efficiently, you might be better off taking the commuter train when heading over to some parts of the city, as it does not make as many stops as the subway.

Unlike on the subway, you’re allowed to take your bike on the commuter train as long as you show awareness and respect for those around you. Also, the doors don’t open automatically, so make sure to press the flashing green button**found**at its doors if you want them to open up. Public transport in Stockholm is not very bike friendly so take this into consideration when taking your bike into the city.

Prices and Rates

The price of public transport in Stockholm is about 790 SEK per month if you get an SL travel-card, and this is the best option to get if you are planning to be in Stockholm for the long term.

If you are in Stockholm for a short time a 24-hour pass or a 72-hour pass might be a better choice for you. Your transportation card (SL card) will allow you to ride the subway, commuter train, buses, street train, and even boats in the summer! Don’t be surprised however if every now and then you see someone get close to you as you’re about to enter the subway platform, as there are many people who sneak behind others to avoid paying their fare. This seems to be a common practice in Stockholm, and it can sometimes feel a bit invasive. You also have the option to get your tickets through a text message (SMS), but please make sure that your phone is fully charged when going for this option.

Useful abbreviations and phrases

Slutstation: Final Stop/Last Station.

Torget: The Square

Gullmars (Gullmash): Gullmarsplan

Medborgarplatsen: Medis

“Tänk på avståndet mellan vagn och plattform när du stiger av”: Mind the gap. Observe the space between the platform and the wagon when getting off.

I hope this article helps you navigate public transport in Stockholm more easily, and feel free to share any tips that you may have for others in the comment section!

Photo Credits: Simon Paulin/imagebank.sweden.se