It's no secret that the city are keen to add the option to use the Urban-card on regional trains within Wrocław's city limits. It's was 1st mooted in the local press, and now Wrocław's local government have said that everything should be in place for the system to start on June the 1st. But just how will it work? And why would you want to use the trains anyway? Wrocław Uncut investigates …
How can I get an Urban-card?
You'll need to fill in application form, which can be done online or in the Urban-card office on pl.legionów. You can speed up the process by having a passport style photo handy, although it isn't necessary as the Urban-card staff can take your photo in the office. Further details on the Urban-card and how it works, can be found on the Urban-card website.
How can I use my Urban-card on the trains?
For your ticket to be valid in Wroclaw's trains within the city limits, you'll need to have a long term ticket encoded on your card. For standard ticket bearers, a 30 day ticket costs 90zl, a 60 day ticket 180zl, and a 90 day ticket 240zl. Students pay half price. With these tickets you have unlimited use of all the buses and trams, as well as the regional trains within Wroclaw (should they be introduced as planned). Once you have your card encoded, you can simply jump on one of the regional trains like a bus or a tram.
Where can I get on and off these trains in Wroclaw?
A network of where the regional trains run can be found in the map below. To see in greater detail, simply click here or on the picture itself. Should you be traveling to the outskirts of the city, using one of the trains could save you a bit of time. In the north of the city, there are stops in Osobowice, Nadodrze and Psie Pole. To the west you can travel to Nowy Dwór, Wrocław stadion and Leśnica, while you can also venture south to Brochów and Zachodni.
How much time can I actually Save?
Really it depends on the timetable of the train you need, plus how far out you actually travel. A journey from Wroclaw Glowny to Psie Pole on a regional train will save you 5 minutes compared to the express bus N – not exactly anything worth waxing lyrical about. The frequency is also important however, and in this case it's not too bad – there are trains roughly every 30-45 minutes during the daytime.
Greater time savings can be made on other routes, with Leśnica a prime example. A journey from Wroclaw Glowny to Leśnica using the bus or tram takes more than 35 minutes (not including any traffic mishaps), while the train takes just 16/17 minutes. The frequency on this route isn't bad either, with trains running every 30-45 minutes during working hours.
As you can see then, time savings can in theory be made on specific routes. But can we do the same if we need to swap trains? We did a search for a journey from Psie Pole to Leśnica, using both the regional trains and MPK's buses & trams. The average journey time using only the train (including stops) was just over 1 hour, with some journeys coming in at 53 mins, and others around the 90 minute mark. The same trip using MPK's service takes just over an hour too, meaning there's little advantage in taking the train for this route. On other searches, we tended to find that the tram or bus was faster due to the waiting time involved in changing trains.
How can I find the fastest route for my journey?
To find the quickest way to your destination of choice, you can use Jakdojade.pl, which now includes regional trains in its search engine. If you want to specifically search for train timetables, use the Polish rail website.
Is there any point in the system?
Make no mistake, this move hasn't revolutionized Wroclaw's Public transport – this is a world apart from the likes of Berlin's S-Bahn network. Nevertheless, it does add another much needed option for Wroclaw's residents, one that will be particularly appreciated by those living in the suburbs. The trains are already running and in some cases they are much faster than other means of transport, so why not employ this system? It seems to make perfect sense. So next time you need to make a trip from one end of the city to another, why not have a look and see if the train is faster?