Transportation in Riga is very efficient as most buses and trams are very modern. After the collapse of the Soviet Union and especially after the integration into the European Union, large parts of the public transportation system got renewed. Nowadays, buses and trams are modern and mostly accessible. Taxis are metered and offer fair prices even for longer trips.
In the last years of existence of the Soviet Union, Riga was supposed to get a subway system with three lines. Construction works were supposed to start in 1990, but never happened after the collapse. With declining population, not enough financial means and doubts about efficiency, the production never came up again.
Instead, there is a system of different regional trains and suburban trains that connect Riga with its suburbs. There are also some international train connections at Riga Central Station. Major routes lead to Tallinn in Estonia, Vilnius in Lithuania and Saint Petersburg in Russia.
Riga’s tram system is more than 130 years old, but got renewed several times. Nowadays, it consists of approximately 100 rail kilometers which are used by nine different lines. As there is no metro system, the tram lines operate quite frequently. With most operating cars were built before 1990, there are just a few accessible cars.
With the delivery of the latest cars, the city of Riga announced that all rides on line 6 are operated by modern cars. Moreover, line 11 is mainly operated by accessible trams. All tram lines meet in the city center, where efficient and fast connections are guaranteed. There are also dozens of connections with bus lines which are using the same ticketing system.
Tram lines in Riga:
As important as the tram lines are the buses and trolleybuses operating in Riga. In total, there are 19 currently operating trolleybus lines and 53 regular bus lines. The former are mainly operating close to the city center where the infrastructure is existent. Regular bus lines are operating in the city center as well as in the suburbs.
Most buses in Riga are either modern accessible buses or older refurbished buses which are partly accessible, too. There are only a few non-accessible buses left. The ticketing system “E-Talons” is used for all three mentioned means of transport. You may either buy single tickets or tickets including more rides. The latter are getting pricier as you choose more rides.
Be aware that the taxi market in Riga is not regulated, meaning that there are different companies operating with different fares. Known companies include Baltic Taxi, Eco Taxi, Lady Taxi and Smile Taxi. Usually, the base fare is around 2 Euro (~ 2.25 US-Dollar) with further kilometers charged 0.65 Euro (~ 0.75 US-Dollar).
Hiring a taxi at Riga Airport usually comes with an extra charge. If you are taking a ride from the airport to the city center or the other way round, the prices should be between 12 and 16 Euro (~ 13.50 to 18 US-Dollar). Taking a taxi in Riga is usually very comfortable and faster than taking a bus or a tram. However, traffic may vary from time to time.
As in many cities in Eastern Europe, there are also so-called minibuses which operate on a non-regular schedule with varying destinations. These are mainly used by locals. Moreover, there are modern means of transport like city bikes available in the city center. These services don’t exist for a long time and are getting more and more popular lately.