Public bus transport is well organised and offers good possibilities for transport within cities as well as over longer distances. The long-distance bus schedules are very good: there are, for example, more than 50 buses from Tallinn to Tartu every day. However, travelling long distances by train is generally cheaper.
Public transport in cities mostly offers the possibility of using 10-, 30- and 90- day public transport cards as well as single-fare bus tickets. If you have an ID card, you can also buy tickets using a mobile phone, internet banking or a fixed-line phone in Tallinn and Tartu.
Public transport in Estonia is free of charge for children who do not attend school yet (that is until a child becomes 7); for children with disabilities; and for grown-ups with severe disabilities. Tallinn and Tartu offer additional benefits in local public transport.
From January 2013, Tallinn offers free transportation to all its residents, school students and passengers aged 65 years and over. In order to travel free of charge, residents of Tallinn and school students need to purchase a Public Transport Card and personalise it at the point of sale or for free on the Internet. Public Transport Card is not required for children of pre-school age, passengers travelling with children under the age of 3, and some other groups.
Non-residents of Tallinn have to enter the public transport vehicle using the front door to purchase one end ticket from the bus driver. This ticket grants you the right for one ride. Passengers that are not residents of Tallinn can also purchase a Public Transport Card and load money on it, or buy an e-ticket. It can be done at a point of sale, via mobile phone, or on the Internet. Some groups, e.g. university students, are entitled the right of discounted travel. Personalised Public Transport Card is mandatory in that case.
Tartu offers free transport only for its registered citizens who are older than 65; for families with four or more children under the age of 18; and to people accompanying disabled children or grown-ups with severe disabilities. Tartu offers discount 10-, 30- and 90- day public transport cards for pupils, students, and retired people. To use the discounts or the right to travel free of charge, the presentation of a document certifying the discount eligibility is necessary. This can be a student card, pension certificate or a certificate received from local social welfare department (i.e for families with many children).
The tickets based on the ID-card (only Estonian ID cards are eligible!) are cheaper and can be bought using either direct debiting via an Internet bank or using a landline, or mobile phone. ID-tickets can be bought at R-kiosks, Tartu Information Centre and at all the post offices in Tartu.