One of the many wonderful aspects of life in Barcelona is the public transport network.
The quantity and quality of passenger information, in Spanish, Catalan and English (and some French) is very good.
If visiting from the United States or the UK you’ll be pleasantly surprised by how clean, comfortable, convenient and reliable the local transport network is.
The best way to get around the city is to use public transport.
One of the first things to do after arriving in the city, if travelling solo, is to buy a T-Casual integrated transport ticket — it will save you a ton of money and a lot of hassle.
IMPORTANT: IF visiting as a group you will need to buy a T-Casual for every member of your group, OR buy a T-Familiar [SEE below]— you cannot share a T-Casual.
T-Casual ticket Terms & Conditions:
The T-Casual costs 11,35€.
The T-Casual is unipersonal — and can only be used by one person.
The T-Casual is good for 10 rides using a combination of up to 3 modes of transport.
Be aware that you CANNOT use the T-Casual for a metro ride to or from the Airport, however, you can use the T-Casual to get to the Airport RENFE/Rodalies rail station — from where it's five/ten minute stroll to Terminal 2, from where you can take a FREE shuttle bus to Terminal 1.
The T-Familiar, costs 10€, is multi-personal and valid for 8 rides within a 30 day period.
So, for couples, families and small groups of friends, the T-Familiar is probably the way to go.
How to use the T-Casual on the Metro (subway), local trains (RENFE Rodalies/Cercanias and FGC) and Funiculars:
I use a T-Casual at least twice, sometimes five or six times every day during the working week. It really is quite simple, however, I can understand how visitors from an area without an integrated transport system could feel a little daunted by the process.
So, here's your guide to buying and using the T-Casual.
First, buy your ticket.
There are not any staffed ticket offices at stations where you can buy a ticket, and if you haven't already purchased your T-Casual at a tobacconists, newsagent or street news kiosk (some bakeries and other shops also sell T-Casuals) you will have to use a machine in a Metro station or at a Tram stop. These machines will be marked with the TMB logo (as in the photos below).
You can also buy a T-Casual at ticket machines at RENFE (Spanish national rail service) rail stations (these machines are coloured grey) and at FGC (Catalan national rail service) rail stations these machines are coloured orange.
You can also buy your T-Casual ticket online. However, to do so you'll first have to register with JoTMBé, a loyalty scheme which offers points and prizes for purchasing tickets online via the TMB app. If interested you can read more detail HERE and HERE.
There are also a few ticket machines near bus stops on Avinguda Diagonal, however, these machines only accept credit/debit cards, and are so few and far between, and so often out of service, that they are not worth your time looking for.
How to use a ticket machine
These three images illustrate the above:
Apologies for the quality of the images — will try and replace them at some point in the future.
BUY WITH CASH
Insert coins in the vertical slot above the screen, or insert a note (bill) up to the value of 20€ in the horizontal slot to the right of the screen, or if buying more than two T-Casual tickets, multiple notes/bills. (Please note: As at writing many machines do not accept 50€ notes/bills).
The most frequent cause of first-time users' frustration is incorrectly inserting notes/bills.
When inserting notes/bills be careful to place the note the correct way up as shown in the graphic above the slot. PLEASE NOTE: The 50€ note shown above and below is NOT crossed through with a red X — so it will accept 50€ bills.
The machine will issue change and deposit your ticket in the tray below the screen. You’re good to go.
BUY WITH CREDIT/DEBIT CARD
IMPORTANT: Remember to remove your card. The machine does not emit any audible warning, as do ATMs, if you leave the card in the slot. If you do inadvertently leave your card in the machine then after 30 seconds or so the machine will swallow your card. If this happens the only way to retrieve your card is to go to the TMB customer services office in Diagonal metro station the following day. Station staff do not have any way of opening the machines they can only be opened by cash collection staff.
Ok, so you've got your ticket — now, how to use it.
There are 3 types of ticket barriers:
You’re on your way — now go find your platform/track.
How to use the T-Casual on the bus network:
Remember the T-Casual is a unipersonal ticket. So, if you have no rides left on your T-Casual you will NOT be able to borrow a ride from someone else's ticket unless they have a T-Familiar — you will be obliged to buy a single/senzill/one-way ticket for 2,40€.
Here’s a photo of a ticket machine on a bus:
How to use the T-Casual on a tram:
Transfers and duration of travel:
You can use your T-Casual to switch between three modes of transport on your route for up to 1 hour and 15 minutes in Zone 1 and it counts as a single journey/ride.
For example, you could take a barrio bus (local public mini-bus) to connect with a regular bus to connect with the metro, or take a tram which connects with a local train which connects with a funicular. If you do all that in one hour and fifteen minutes from the start of your journey it only debits your ticket by one journey. However, note that once you leave the metro system you will have to use another ride when re-entering the metro.
IMPORTANT: Keep your ticket flat. If the ticket gets bent or torn then it will likely not work. You can take your damaged ticket to a TMB Customer Services office (in Diagonal, La Sagrera and Universitat metro stations) and they will issue you with another ticket. You could also ask at an office in a metro station, or on a bus. If you’re patient and polite the staff can, although they are not obliged to, issue you with a new ticket credited with the correct number of journeys.
LINKS (in English):