If you want to travel to Iran by yourself without the help of Iran tour operators, it is essential to know some Transport Information. Or how does the Transportation system work in Iran?
Upon your arrival at the airport or any bus terminal, there are several ways to get to your destination using the transportation system in Iran. Like any other country, there are two main categories, public transportations, and private ones.
Transport Information on Taxis:
Taxies in Iran could either be private or public. If you get a ride with other persons in a cab, you could only go to where the driver has to shuttle. First of all, if you know the streets of the city you’re in it will be cheaper than getting a private cab. However, if you don’t know the language and the original fee, you may put yourself in an unwanted situation.
If you want to get a private cab on the streets, yell DAR BAST to any yellow certificated taxi, but agree on a price before you hop on. A private cab transports you to wherever you want.
Transport Information on Buses:
Now Buses are widely known as public transportation. All cities of Iran have a bus transportation system, and if you decide to take a bus, it is the same routine as anywhere else. You must know which bus passes your stop and goes to the place you want to go. Buses are very cheap but slower and more crowded at rush hour. In the capital of Iran (Tehran), there are BRTs (Bus Rapid Transit) which run almost ten lines through the city. If you decide to go to small towns or villages, they may be mini-busses or small vans.
Transport Information on Metros (Underground Subway):
Most developed cities in Iran like Tehran, Shiraz, Isfahan, and Mashhad have Metro with several lines. Check the subway map first, remember which train you should take, and listen carefully to the pronunciation of the station you are in and the one you want to get off. Metros too have a rush hour (from 7:00 to 9:00 AM and 3:00 to 5:00 PM), and they get very crowded. Also, you should know that the first and last wagon of every train is for women only.
Transport Information on Persian Uber (Snapp or Tapsi):
Just like how you get an Uber in your country or how other internet taxis work, you could use the top app in Iran named Snapp or the one after that, Tapsi, to get a cab. You will know the price before your trip, who your driver is, and where exactly they will take you.
Transport Information between cities:
If you travel to Iran on your own and have not booked an Iran Tour package, most probably you need transportation between cities to visit several places.
If you decide to travel to another city and don’t want to book a domestic flight ticket, the best way is by Train or Bus. Transport Information has it that both are comfortable and have reasonable pricing. Also, there are VIP buses for long traveling that are more convenient. You could get the ticket online, but the sites are usually in Persian, and your credit card does not work with Iran’s financial system. Therefore, you could go to the Bus Terminal yourself and get a ticket.
For a train, you could walk to the nearest agency and get one for your destination. You could book an entire compartment or share one with other passengers. There are either four-person or six-person compartments.
There are trains called bus trains, where they have no compartments, just seats in rows. They go faster than regular trains, but they are not comfortable for long-distance traveling.
Transport Information Tip: Iran National Railway has recently become a UNESCO World Heritage so the railway itself could be a destination for tourists.
Transport Information Note:
1- Again, you could book train tickets online, but you will have the same problems with a bus ticket. Either way, you could ask any Iranian to get you an online bus or train ticket with your ID and pay them in cash.
2- Women are not allowed to take the first row on buses between cities, but if the driver allows it, you could sit there if you care for the view.
3- If You are a woman traveling alone or with your girlfriends, make sure you get the family compartment on a train.
4- The quality of trains, even if they are first class, varies from city to city. To reach a small village like Jolfa you could take the train, it is very cheap and old, and with all the white smoke you feel like you have gone back in time.
If you have only two to three hours to reach your destination, you could get a car, public or private, to take you there. Longer hours require more comfortable vehicles. However, if you get a private cab, you could stop anywhere you’d like.
Tip: For touristic sites around the city like Pasargadae World Heritage Site which is 150 Km away from Shiraz, Kandovan which is 60 Km from Tabriz, and other sites like these, check the online Snapp app to get a cab.
Final Transport Information Note: If you are traveling in cold seasons or hot months, make sure you have arranged your transportation to take you and bring you back; Otherwise, you will be left high and dry.