Cheap and deep, is probably the best way to describe Tbilisi metro – the underground railway that snakes it’s way across the Georgian capital.
So what’s it Tbilisi metro like for a first timer to the city, here’s our quick run down:
What to expect
Made up of just two lines, Tbilisi metro is easy to negotiate, and is without a doubt the quickest way to get from area to area in the city.
Trains run regularly (within a few minutes of each other from 6am to midnight), and in general Tbilisi’s metro system isn’t too overcrowded – although at peak times (8/9am, 4/5pm) expect a bit of squeeze. That shouldn’t be too surprising considering nearly half a million people ride on them per weekday.
Like many ex-Soviet metro stations, some of the stations are very deep, and it will take a couple of minutes riding on an escalator to get anywhere near the station.
While the metro itself is over 50 years old, the train cars are much newer, although don’t expect a smooth ride – the tracks make for a rather bumpy ride.
Paying for Tbilisi metro
Riding the metro is easy and very cheap. What you need is a metromoney card which can be purchased for 2 lari (GEL) at the metro stations. There will be glass screens with workers selling, and topping up metromoney cards, at every station – simply ask for the card (using the name “metromoney”), and bare in mind that some workers will speak little or no English.
These cards are similar to London’s “oyster” card for the underground – and they are the only way to use Tbilisi metro.
The way it works, is that you “top up” the cards with a pre-defined amount of money. You can do that either in person at the station, or using a machine that will also be at the station.
One journey on the metro costs 50 tetri (0.5 lari).
However the 2 lari you spend on the metromoney card does not count towards any journeys n Tbilisi metro, so when you buy the card remember to also top up your metromoney at the same time. As soon as you top up, the money will be on instantly.
Tips for taking Tbilisi metro
- The metromoney card can also be used on other transport services in Tbilisi, such as selected buses and the cable car.
- That being the case, your one 0.5 lari trip can be used for following travel (ninety minutes of travel overall) after your metro journey – for example catching a bus at the metro station.
- Like metros around the world, there is the risk of theft – remember to keep bags zipped, and money secure.