Free tram rides in Zagreb

Did you know that it is cheaper to ride the dazzling efficient subway of Tokyo than to hop on a old tram in Zagreb? A single ticket in Croatia's capital costs more than a euro (8 kuna). Even if you are lucky to get onto one of the new trams, it still is a lot of money. As the tram often shares the lane with cars, in the main shopping street Ilica for example, it moves pretty slowly.
Responsible for Zagreb's public transportation is ZET. Until recently ZET distinguished itself by a complete lack of innovation. To give a few examples: the fancy displays in the new trams say that "this tram has been financed by the citizens of Zagreb" but don't show the next stop; tram and bus stops in suburbs often don't have a name; some stops are nothing more than a small sign hanging on overhead power lines; stops don't have timetables...
But now ZET made a smart move. To fight the number of cars in the center of Zagreb, ZET announced that citizens don't have to pay for the first two stops from and to the main square. In other words, from Trg bana Josipa Jelačića (fortunately also known as "trg") you can ride any tram in any direction for free with a maximum of two stops (the colored lines below). That basically covers the part of town that is of interest to visitors.

Tourists are, of course, no citizens of Croatia, but I doubt anyone will ask you to show your passport. Also, the free travel guide Zagreb in your pocket mentions the free tram rides, so I guess it's save for tourists. The number of tourists in the first quarter of 2009 is down with 8 percent, so you should be treated as a king anyway.

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