Yellow city buses run citywide, but you’ll mainly need them only to get to the airport if you don’t want to spring for a taxi. The destination, point of origin and route number are displayed in Arabic by the back door, but routes of interest to tourists have the destination marked in Roman letters, too. Tunis Marine Bus Station is the starting point for bus 35 to the airport, which also has stops on Ave Habib Bourguiba.
Taxis are cheap by European standards and are all fitted with meters. On the day rate, a short hop costs around 1DT; a longer trip, such as to the Bardo Museum, costs 4DT, or to Sidi Bou Saïd around 12DT. The evening rate (9pm to 5am) is 50% more and there’s a 0.37DT surcharge for each piece of luggage. Other than at the airport, where some drivers are intent on negotiating a set fare, drivers usually use the meter without asking. Be warned that the occasional driver fiddles the meter to charge a higher fare; do always check it’s at the base rate when you set off. Note also that if a driver loses his way or stops to have his papers checked by the police, you’ll be expected to pay extra. Taxis are generally plentiful, but during peak hours you may need patience and luck. They can be booked by phone – ask at your hotel’s reception desk – but the meter begins ticking when the taxi sets out to collect you, which can add up to around 10DT to a fare.
A taxi to the city centre from La Goulette costs between 4DT and 6DT. A daytime taxi from Tunis to Sidi Bou Saïd costs around 12DT.
The TGM is a suburban train line connecting central Tunis with the beachside suburbs of La Goulette, Carthage, Sidi Bou Saïd and La Marsa. It’s fast, cheap and convenient, though often very crowded, even outside of rush hour. The first train leaves Tunis Marine TGM Station at 5am, and the last train at midnight. Departures range from every 12 minutes during peak hours to every 40 minutes. First-class is worth the extra cost at busy times, costing 0.65DT to La Goulette (20 minutes) and 1.1DT to Carthage (30 minutes), Sidi Bou Saïd (35 minutes) and La Marsa Plage (45 minutes). Don’t let the lack of ticket collectors at stations tempt you into fare evasion, as inspectors do frequent the trains and are not known to be merciful.
The journey from Tunis Marine to any of the six Carthage TGM stations costs 1.1/0.65DT (1st/2nd class), and takes about 30 minutes. The TGM journey from Tunis Marine to La Goulette Vieille costs 0.45DT and takes 15 minutes.
Sidi Bou Saïd is about 17km northeast of Tunis. The easiest way to travel is by TGM train from Tunis Marine (1st/2nd class 1.1/0.5DT, 35 minutes). It’s a 15-minute, steepish walk from the station to the top of the hill and the centre of the old part of the village.
The métro léger is much easier to use than the buses. It’s not an underground train, but a tram network. There are six main routes. Look for route maps in Arabic and French inside the trams; signage at stations can be easy to miss, so it’s best to have an idea of how many stations you need to travel.
Tickets are sold at the small kiosks at each station entrance. They must be bought before you travel. The basic fare costs 0.45DT.
Services using lines 3, 4 and 5 between République and place Barcelone travel south along ave de Paris and ave de Carthage and north on rue de Hollande and ave Habib Thameur.
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