Public transport in Stockholm plays an integral role in everyday life for most people in Stockholm. It is very extensive and reaches into the furthest corners of the region.
If you work or study in the city, a car is rarely an option. The traffic jams are all over Essingeleden and the connecting bigger roads every workday morning. Often it is actually slower to take the car than to go by public transport. So, the choice of a place to live is determined by its connections to the public transport.
Fares and tickets
The fare system is designed to favour tickets for fixed time spans. There are single tickets (enkelbiljett) and multiple ride tickets (remsa), but they are only an option if you take the bus or train occasionally. From around 30 rides a month it is not reasonable anymore.
The most popular choice is the 30-day-ticket for 690 SEK (from September 2011 it will cost 790 SEK). Tickets for longer periods are slightly cheaper in comparison. By now the use of the electronic SL-Access system is actually mandatory. The cards of this system can be reloaded with new tickets. You can register your ticket online so that you get replacement when you lose it. There are also student tickets.
There is a zone system which is applied if you use single tickets or multiple ride tickets. Depending on the length of the ride (i.e. the number of zones you pass during the ride) it costs 2 to 4 coupons. This makes longer regular rides even more costly. Since the zone system does not apply to period tickets, it makes single and multiple rides tickets even less favourable.
So, period tickets is valid for all trafic run by SL in the whole Stockholm region. This includes virtually all buses and local trains. There is one exception: The Upptåget from Upplands Väsby to Arlanda airport is run by a different operator and can only be used if you purchase a supplementary ticket additionally to your SL ticket.
Bålsta and Gnesta are served by SL's local train Pendeltåg but are outside Stockholm Province. Therefore special fares apply if you want to go there.
The subway connects most of the city center with some of the nearest suburbs. Technically it has seven lines, but as they are bundled into three groups which share large parts of the network, everybody uses the following terms:
- Green Line (gröna linjen): it is the oldest part of the system, consisting of three branches. All three lines share the norther branch, starting in Hässelby, then going through Bromma, Kungsholmen, Vasastan, Gamla Stan and Södermalm. After Gullmarsplan they split up to serve the southern suburbs Hagsätra, Skarpnäck and Farsta. Though they appear as one line in the northern branch, trains to and from Farsta have Alvik as terminus. Trains to and from Skarpnäck go only to Åkeshov. Only the trains to and from Hagsätra go all the way to Hässelby. Except for the inner city the train is going overground.
- Red Line (röda linjen): the second oldest part of the system, consisting of two branches. The branches share a common rail between Östermalmstorg in Östermalm and Liljeholmen. In the north they split into one line to Ropsten in the east of Östermalm, where there is connection to buses and the local train to Lidingö. The other branch goes on to Tekniska Högskolan (Royal Institute of Technology), where the local commuter train Roslagsbanan starts. It then proceeds to the University and the southern parts of Danderyd, terminating in Mörby Centrum. The trains to and from Ropsten go to Norsborg in Botkyrka. The other branch terminates in Fruängen. Both southern branches pass through Stockholm suburbs Hägersten-Liljeholmen and Skärholmen.
- Blue Line (blå linjen): the newest part of the system with two branches. The station are often deeper underground and the train only leaves the tunnes on a short section in Kista. Both branches start out at Kungsträdgården in the city center. They proceed through Kungsholmen to Solna. There, after station Västra Skogen, they split up. One branch goes through the northern part of Solna to Akalla and Kista, two northern suburbs of Stockholm. The other part goes on through the center of Sundbyberg and terminates in Tensta, another northern suburb of Stockholm.
The pendeltåg is a local train system which connects Stockholm to the region on the north-south axis. It runs on regular railways, so that the center of the system is the central station.
There are two major lines and one minor line:
- Bålsta - Nynäshamn: This line goes from the northwest to the southeast. Bålsta is situated in Uppsala province.
- Märsta - Södertälje: This line goes from the north to the southwest.
- Södertälje - Gnesta: This minor line connects some of the southernmost parts of the Stockholm region to the center of Södertälje, where there are connections towards Stockholm. The final stop Gnesta is outside Stockholm province in Södermanland.