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Wherever one chooses to live in the city, getting around in Stockholm is rather simple and painless. The Swedish capital's public transport network is extensive and consists of the metro, bus, tram, regional rail, light rail and archipelago boats.
Tickets bought from Storstockholms Lokaltrafik (SL), which runs all land-based public transit in the city, can be used on all modes of public transport – except the archipelago boats which usually need separate tickets.
Public transport in Stockholm
Public transport plays a big role in the lives of the city's residents. Around 800,000 commuters make use of public transportation in Stockholm every day, which is impressive given the city's estimated population of 950,000 people.
While expats living in Stockholm are blessed with such an extensive public transport system, unfortunately, this convenience comes at a cost, as Stockholm has some of the most expensive public transport in the world.
A few ticketing options are available. Expats could buy an SL travel card that is valid for a specified amount of time, from 24 hours up to a year, depending on the card.
Alternatively, passengers can purchase single-trip zone tickets, which are valid for an hour from when they first start their journey. There is also the option of purchasing a strip ticket, which works like a zone ticket but allows more than one person to use it at the same time.
There are a number of bus lines running through Stockholm and passengers can hop on and off any bus using an SL card. The special inner-city buses are blue, while regular buses servicing the rest of Stockholm are red.
The city's bus routes include the blue inner-city and suburban lines as well as service bus lines. The Flygbussarna bus line is available for transport from Arlanda Airport into Stockholm.
Stockholm’s Tunnelbana is an extensive metro system which runs both above and below ground, and serves the city centre and surrounds. There are three main lines (green, red and blue) which run to 100 stations, many of which connect to the local bus system.
While Stockholm’s metro is a convenient mode of transport, it does get busy during morning and evening rush hours.
Suburban rail services
Expats living outside the city and commuting to work on a daily basis will be able to make use of Stockholm’s suburban rail services. There are a number of suburban rail systems in Stockholm that service the city's outskirts, including Saltsjöbanan and Roslagsbanan.
Light rail and tram
In addition to the Djurgården line, the city's heritage tram, Stockholm has other light rail services including the Nockebybanan, Lidingöbanan and Tvärbanan.
There are several archipelago boat lines in Stockholm, run by Waxholmsbolaget. Some of these operate year round. One boat line, Djurgårdsfärjan, operates in central Stockholm between Slussen and Djurgården. While SL travel cards are usually valid on this line, single trip tickets and strip tickets are not accepted.
Taxis in Stockholm
Taxis are also readily available in the Swedish capital. One can hail these on the street, grab one at a rank or call ahead and book one for a certain time. We'd recommend making use of the main reputable companies, and avoiding smaller independent firms. Prices aren't regulated in Sweden, and we'd advise that expats check the price beforehand, usually found on the yellow and white label displayed on the rear window. The good news is that even taxi companies are toeing the line when it comes to the environment and a few of the bigger cab firms have started to make use of mainly eco vehicles, with a new rota system rewarding taxis with low emission levels.
For those averse to using regular taxis, there are several convenient ride-hailing apps to use in Stockholm, including the likes of Uber and Bolt. These allow for more convenient navigating, payment and avoids any language barriers. Expats simply download the app, link their credit card, and start riding.
Walking and cycling in Stockholm
Stockholm is well-equipped to accommodate both pedestrians and cyclists with its brilliant network of cycle paths, green parks and safe walkways. Many locals choose to walk or cycle to work.
Cycling has become highly popular in Sweden as locals have embraced the benefits of this simple, fast, inexpensive and environmentally friendly mode of transport, no matter the weather. Stockholm city authorities have made the city's cycling infrastructure a priority and are constantly working on improving accessibility for cyclists.
Expats don’t even need to spend on their own bicycle in Stockholm, as the city has made hundreds of bicycles available for people to rent. All that's needed is a bike card from Stockholm City Bikes. Commuters can either purchase a season or three-day card.
Driving in Stockholm
While having a car is not essential in Stockholm, it is easy to drive in the city as the roads are well signposted and, in comparison to other European cities, Stockholm is far less congested.
A congestion charging scheme to reduce traffic in Stockholm has been in place since 2006. If someone lives in the city their car is automatically connected to their bank account, while those who live in the suburbs need to pay before they enter the congestion charging zone.
Most locals and expats prefer to take advantage of Stockholm’s convenient public transport network instead of driving as parking fees in the city are expensive and finding a good parking spot can be difficult. For these reasons, expats rarely need to rent or purchase a car unless they are travelling outside the city.
Are you an expat living in Stockholm?
Expat Arrivals is looking for locals to contribute to this guide, and answer forum questions from others planning their move to Stockholm. Please contact us if you'd like to contribute.
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