Metro and other public transportation in Marseille
Marseille: public transportation

Metro and other public transportation in Marseille

Marseille, the capital of Provence, is second only to Paris in terms of territory and population. And although Marseille sights are located quite compactly, the size and relief of the city will not allow every tourist to cover all of them on foot in one day. The most convenient way to get around Marseille is by public transportation.

Don’t even think about renting a car in Marseille. It makes sense to rent a car only if you plan to actively explore Marseille’s surroundings and make frequent trips out of the city. In all other cases, it is easier, quieter and cheaper for a tourist to travel by public transportation.

  1. Marseille public transportation is well developed, has a good route network and is represented by surface, underground and even water means of transportation. Pass options are convenient for tourists and inexpensive.
  2. The city’s hilly terrain, tangled and narrow old streets are localized hell for a motorist who was not born and raised in Marseille. A navigator helps, but not always.
  3. Even Parisians visiting Marseille leave their cars in country parking lots. The southern temperament of local drivers and their «emotional» driving style will drive anyone into stress. Add to this frequent rush hour traffic jams, parking problems and it becomes obvious that renting a car in Marseille is not the best option.

Types of public transportation in Marseille

Municipal public transportation in Marseille includes:

  1. Two subway lines
  2. Three streetcar lines
  3. 80 bus routes
  4. Sea streetcars running from April through September.

All this is managed by the transportation company RTM — Régie des Transports de Marseille. prices, fares, plans on the map, schedule changes. You can even use it to plot your desired transportation route around Marseille.

Marseille Metro

Marseille’s subway has stopped at 28 stations and is not growing any further: the city’s mountainous terrain prevents it. But despite the small network, the metro is the fastest form of public ground transportation in Marseille. It is not possible to get to all points of the city by it, but it is problematic to get lost in two branches.

Marseille metro map
Marseille metro map

The red line runs north-south, parallel to the coastal strip, while the blue line, which looks like the letter «C», is oriented towards the eastern part of the city. The lines intersect at two stations, Saint-Charles and Castellane.

Working hours of Marseille metro: 5:00—0:30. The busiest station is Saint-Charles. Here people transfer not only from metro line to metro line, but also to the TEP railway line.

The ticket is valid for one hour and for all modes of land transportation in the RTM network.

Fare: 1,70 €
Website with detailed information on prices and fares in the Marseille Metro

Buses in Marseille

They are the ones that carry the bulk of passengers within the city. The bus network in Marseille is extensive and can seem quite confusing. The route diagrams on the RTM website will help you understand.

Marseille bus
Marseille bus

Buses almost never stand in traffic jams: on the most popular routes, special lanes have been set aside for them, on which private vehicles are not allowed to travel.

Some bus stops have screens showing the waiting time for the next bus. And all of them have a city map with routes and timetables.

During rush hour, Marseille buses are best avoided: stuffy, cramped and lots of pickpockets.

The city buses will operate from 5:00 — 21:00, then on a night schedule. Read more about the night schedule here.

Marseille streetcars

The streetcar service in Marseille is represented by three routes — yellow, orange and green on the RTM plan. Their total length is 16 kilometers. The green and yellow lines are most oriented towards the old port, the waterfront and the main tourist attractions.

Marseille streetcar route diagram
Marseille streetcar route diagram

The streetcars in Marseille are comfortable and modern. Each one has a round luminous element in the front above the route indication in the appropriate color, lit green, yellow or orange.

The design of the streetcar cars for Marseille supports the theme of the port city: the cars are created to look like ships.

All 32 streetcar stops have screens that show the arrival time of the next streetcar. All stops have ticket vending machines, city maps and route information.

  • The opening hours of streetcars in Marseille are like the subway: from 5:00 to 0:30.
  • A single ticket is valid for one hour and allows you to change and return along the route. You can use a single ticket to go to a store, do some quick shopping and then take the streetcar back with the same ticket.
Streetcar and streetcar stop in Marseille
Streetcar and streetcar stop in Marseille
Streetcar and streetcar stop in Marseille
Streetcar and streetcar stop in Marseille

Sea streetcars

Navette maritime streetcars or navettes. They depart from the Old Port wharf in two directions: to Pointe Rouge and to L’Estaque. And from Pointe Rouge there are also boats to Les Goudes. These comfortable boats are very convenient to avoid traffic jams and are a nice ride in the heat of the day to get to the 16th quarter or to L’Estaque bay.

The Navetti ticket is valid for 90 minutes and after the boat ride you can also use it to take a city bus, subway or streetcar.

Maritime streetcar in Marseille
Maritime streetcar in Marseille
Maritime streetcar in Marseille
Maritime streetcar in Marseille

Municipal transportation tickets

  1. You can buy tickets for any of Marseille’s public transportation services at metro stations, bus drivers and RTM outlets. A single ticket from a bus driver will cost €2 instead of €1.5.
  2. Tickets and travel cards of RTM network are universal — suitable for all types of ground transportation — streetcars, subway, buses.
  3. The travel card is attached to the scanner at the entrance to the bus or streetcar, before each trip.

There are several types of travel cards and tickets — to suit different situations and needs:

  • Solo card for 1 trip — 1,70 €
  • Card for 2 trips — 3,40 €.
  • If you are going to spend more than one day in Marseille, it is more advantageous to buy a card for 10 trips — 14 €.
  • If you plan to travel extensively around the city, the Pass XL card for 24 and 72 hours, with no limit on the number of trips, may be useful. It costs €5.20 and €10.80 respectively.

Useful links on public transportation in Marseille