Do you want to travel through Bakı using public transport? Then you’ll can’t get around the BakıKart, a rechargeable plastic card that you can use on buses, the metro and the Airport Express bus oscillating between the city center and the airport. It can be received from vending machines primarily at the airport and in metro stations. There you can also add money to your card; afterwards you only need to put it on entrance gates in the metro or readers in buses.
Public transport at Bakı is pretty easy, even though the metro map is quite confusing: the network consists of four lines, but the red and the green line are running most time in parallel. Central hub is the 28 May station (referring to the independence day of Azerbaijan) next to the main railway station, here the red and the green line split up: the red line goes to the old city center and the final stop İçәri Şәhәr (meaning ‘inner city’) is important for tourists. The green line goes up north and meets the short purple line which is currently under construction. Additionally there is a very short ‘disconnected green line’ going from 28 May (the extra station is named Jafar Jabbarly after the Azeri writer) to Shah Ismail Khatai.
Don’t be confused: All stations have two writings for their names: Jafar Jabbarly is also Cəfər Cabbarlı, Shah Ismail Khatai is also Xətai. What irritated me a little bit is that all bags are x-rayed or at least checked for metal when entering the metro. Opening my travel bag for inspection at a metro station is nothing I’m used to – but everybody adheres to this rule and it seems to be really normal for Azeris. The bus network is a very good addition and pretty dense. Just find out the right bus on Google Maps and spot the bus station, the rest is easy afterwards. Only drawback is that the heavy traffic in morning and evening hours might get the buses out of schedule. And please remember: taking pictures on the metro is strictly forbidden.