Most of cities and towns in Tunisia have some kind of local transport system. In the major and largest cities it can be a network of buses but in more remote and rural areas, it will be just a network of rural minibus shared Taxis, with set fares and routes but not rigid timetabling. This article provides a comprehensive guide on local transport in the country and how to get around cities.
If you are looking for ways to getting around Tunisia, please head out to this guide: Traveling Around Tunisia: Transportation Tips.
Local transport system usually is complemented by various taxi services such as minibus share Taxis, metered taxis. Motorbike taxis in Tunisia were introduced back in 2018 by a Startup but there is not a culture for it.
Metered Taxis in Tunisia
Metered Taxis are the most common form of transport to get around cities. They are comfortable and quite affordable option by European standards. They are widely available and are generally safe and modern cars, with helpful drivers. These metered individual Taxis are colored in yellow and they can be found in any city around the country.
All Taxis are fitted with taxi meters that must be turned on during a trip. At night (from about 9PM), an approximately 50% higher rate will be applied.
You can flag down a taxi that drives empty (unoccupied — with red light on the lower right of the car) along the street. Occupied Taxi will be marked in a green light.
Some taxi drivers may, specifically in the tourist areas, try to set higher fares by suggesting to pay a fixed fee by applying the nighttime fare in the day, or by asking for special fees (eg. extra payment for luggage).
A passenger should, therefore, always insist that the meter is being turned on and refuse fixed prices and payment for additional unjustified services.
There are surcharges for calling a taxi, for luggage, and for hailing a taxi at Tunis-Carthage Airport. It is best to agree on a price with the driver at the start of the journey. If in doubt, insist that the meter is used. They have to do this legally, however, will often try to persuade you not to.
When riding with taxis in Tunisia, it is not customary to tip the driver. Prices are set accordingly and a tip is not expected or necessary towards the driver.
Most taxi drivers out there will only speak Arabic, French and some broken English. In the tourist areas, some of them will be able to speak some German, Italian, Spanish or Russian.
Taxi Apps in Tunisia
Taxi apps make it easy for tourists to take a taxi in Tunisia. Firstly prices are linked to the app and automatically at the meter rate within cities, and a fixed price list out of town. The apps all work in English, French and Arabic, and the drivers are generally better, being rated by clients and more service orientated.
In order to stay connected with mobile internet service all the time, we recommend getting a Tunisian SIM card. One of the best and most widely used taxi apps in Tunisia is called Bolt. This app can be downloaded in the app store both inside and outside of Tunisia, offering quick and efficient taxi service while in Tunisia.
Buses in Tunisia
Most larger cities such as Tunis, Bizerte, Nabel, Sousse and Zaghouan have a local bus network. The network operates not only in the city but extends to the suburbs as well. Buses usually operate from dawn till dusk.
You can get on the bus at bus stops with a sign of the bus and bus numbers on them. Tickets are bought on board the buses or at the stations.
Fares depend on the type of the bus and for some routes can vary depending on distance and it can cost anything between 500 millimes to 2 Tunisian Dinars.
There is no automatic way to alert the driver that you want to get off, you should just ask him directly before the bus reaches your stop.
It is very important to know that Bus network inside cities in Tunisia not that developed and fairly limited if you compare it with any European country and therefor not that recommended to rely on it getting around cities.
Light Rail Systems (Metro/Tram)
Tunis is the only city in Tunisia currently served by rapid transit systems. The light rail systems also referred to as Metros, connect the whole Greater Tunis. The Metro in Tunis is an above-ground light rail system. It has 6 lines, and each of them runs between 10 and 15 kilometers (6-9 miles) out from the city center.
You can get on the Metro at the Metro stations. Tickets can be purchased at the stations as well, before you board the Metro. There is a ticket booth at every metro stop. It will be a small, white building with green trim. Go to the window and say the name of the stop you want to go to. The employee in the booth will tell you a price in French or Arabic. When you pay, they will provide you a printed, paper ticket.
The experience of taking the Metro in Tunis can be a little daunting for foreigners as it is not that much of a user-friendly especially if you do not speak English or French. There is no signage in English, and there are very few maps or visual indicators of where you are or where you should go.
Still, the Metro is a great cultural experience and a cool way to see how average Tunisians live.
Fares depend on routes as it can vary depending on distance and it can cost anything between 500 millimes to 2 TND.
Even though light rail networks in Tunisia is quite developed, it is considered as a slow, low-cost option to get around cities.
Minibus Shared Taxis in Tunisia
One of the very convinient means of transport in most of large and medium-sized cities is using the Minibus Shared Taxis. The size and shape of vehicles are usually boxy with 9 places.
Usually the minibus shared Taxis follow fixed routes and have set fares but there is no timetable as in most cases they wait until they are full enough before leaving.
In some towns, most notably in Chiang Mai, songthaews are picking up a number of people who are going in the same direction and taking each of them right to their destination.
To hail a minibus share taxi just flag it down, and to indicate that you want to get out, just ask the driver or rap hard with a coin on the metal railings.
Fares within towns usually are between 1 to 3 Tunisian Dinars, depending on distance. Fare should be paid to the driver before you get out.
Alternative to Public Transportation? Hire a Car!
A lot of things to deal with when using public transportation. The option isn’t without its challenges. You may not be able to access some out-of-the-way places you would like to visit if you don’t have a car. You may not also be familiar with how the public transportation system works over here and so on. This is why, you might want to consider renting a car in Tunisia.
Renting a car in Tunisia – at least for part of you trip – gives you the flexibility to see more and go everywhere.
- Transport in Tunisia — Getting There & Around the Country
- Ferries to Tunisia — Another Good Reason to Plan a Trip to Tunisia
- Flights to Tunisia — The Complete Guide
- Traveling to Tunisia Overland
- Traveling Around Tunisia: Transportation Tips
And if you liked this article, sign up for the monthly features newsletter. A handpicked selection of stories from Carthage Magazine, delivered to your inbox.