Madrid’s comprehensive public transport system includes over 150 city bus routes, a modern, extensive subway system and local trains to neighboring towns and villages. The transportation hub is the Puerta del Sol.
The subway system of the Consorcio Transportes de Madrid (Tel: (902) 44 44 03. Internet: www.metromadrid.es or www.ctm-madrid.es) is clean, inexpensive and efficient. However, the trains running every three to five minutes between 6 a.m. and 1.30 a.m. are crowded at peak times. Each of the 12 subway lines differs in color and number (in subway stations and on timetables).
Madrid’s buses are managed by EMT (Tel: (91) 406 88 10. Internet: www.emtmadrid.es/). The also asBuhos (owls) known night buses run from 00:00 to 06:00 between the Plaza de Cibeles and the suburbs and cost just as much as a normal day ticket.
Single tickets for the subway and city buses are also available from the driver. Metrobús tickets (tickets for ten) are available in the subway stations (8 a.m. – 8 p.m.), at the Estancos (tobacco shops) and at the EMT information stands at Plaza de Callao and Puerta del Sol.
The local rail network is managed by Renfe Cercanías (Tel: (902) 44 44 03. Internet. Www.renfe.es/cercanias) comprises 11 lines in the Madrid area and has a fast connection between Charmartín and Atocha stations as well Places like Toledo and El Escorial.
With the abono transportes-Card you can use the public transport – subways, buses and trains – within a zone for a certain time (either a month or a year). A passport photo is required.
In Madrid, taxis are subject to the Oficina Municipal del Taxi (Tel: (91) 588 96 32). City taxis (white with a red diagonal stripe and a green light on the roof) are available at taxi ranks or can be waved on on the street.
A mileage price is added to the basic price, which is more expensive at night. When getting on a taxi, make sure that the taximeter is not already switched on, because this way passengers are cheated every now and then.
A surcharge applies for additional passengers, luggage, telephone orders and a trip from the airport. One should not go into taxi brokers. When tipping it is common to round up to the nearest euro.
The larger private taxi companies include
Tele Taxi (Tel: (91) 371 21 31),
Radio Taxi Independiente (Tel: (91) 405 12 13) for long journeys and
Radio Taxi (Tel: (91) 447 32 32), which is also geared towards disabled passengers .
Driving in the city
Madrid has an environmental zone that can only be entered with the Distintivo Ambiental environmental badge or with the permitted badge classes 0, B, C and ECO. The Distintivo Ambietal environmental badge can not be purchased by foreigners. Foreign drivers who need the environmental badge should therefore park their car outside the environmental zone in a park and ride parking lot.
As there are many traffic jams and aggressive drivers in Madrid and parking is extremely difficult, driving in Madrid cannot be recommended.
If you still dare to travel by car, you should use the centrally located parking lots (including Plaza Santa Ana, Plaza Mayor and Plaza de Oriente) or the ORA (Operación Regulación Aparcamiento) parking ticket system – the parking tickets are valid for a maximum of two hours and are valid at the estancos (Tobacco merchants) available.
Incorrectly parked cars will be towed and should be picked up as soon as possible as the penalty increases every hour (Tel: (91) 345 06 66).
Upon presentation of an ID and a valid driver’s license (issued at least one year ago), people of at least 21 years of age can rent a car. A valid international insurance is also necessary and you should take out comprehensive insurance.
Among other things The following rental car companies are represented in Madrid:
Avis (Tel: (90) 213 55 31. Internet: www.avis.es),
Europcar (Tel: (91) 530 01 94. Internet: www.europcar.es),
Hertz (Tel: (902) 40 24 05 Internet: www.hertz.es).
Bicycles are best suited for bike tours outside the city. Karacol Sport (Tel: (91) 539 96 33. Internet: www.karacol.com), rents out mountain bikes (a deposit is required) and organizes bike tours in the area.
The best way to dash through Madrid on a moped is to avoid the parking problems that motorists have to deal with. Motoalquiler has a good selection of vehicles (Tel: (91) 542 06 57).