Tehran has an expansive but confusing bus network. Tickets (IR 10000) can be bought from booths beside the bus stops. Since bus numbers, route descriptions and other information is in Persian, your best bet is to look confused at a bus terminal; a local will surely stop to help. Each bus line has a certain and almost invariable path but only people know exactly which bus stations exist for a certain road. You shouldn’t expect a map or guides even in Persian showing the bus network or bus stations. Even asking the bus driver wouldn’t be a great help for you to find your way either. If you get in a bus and looking for a certain station to alight, ask one to help you – you will find many people wish to help you to find your way, most of the time!
BRT (Bus Rapid Transportation)
The BRT buses are colored in red. BRTs has special lines and travels very quickly from Azadi square (west of Tehran) directly to the East (Terminal-e-Shargh) and Imam Khomeini square (South of Tehran) directly to the North (Tajrish square) . Tickets (IR 10000) can be bought from booths beside the bus stops. In high-traffic hours (7AM to 9AM & 4PM to 8PM) it is the best to travel West-East-West part of your way. BRT has too many stations near main streets. Although you may not find an empty seat on the bus because of the crowds, people give their place to you if they know you are a tourist! The women and men sits and queues are separate.
Tehran’s new metro system is comprised of three lines that will whisk you quickly from one end of the city to the other without having to deal with the noise, pollution and chaos of Tehrani traffic.
There are currently four lines (numbered strangely 1, 2, 4 and 5) but the two most useful are lines 1 (north to south) and 2 (east to west) which connect at the central Imam Khomeini station. All stations have signs in both Farsi and English. Trains run every ten minutes (25 minutes on holidays) from around 6:30AM until 10PM every day.
Tickets (IR 10000) are valid for two trips (including change of lines) and can be bought from ticket booths at every station. The Tehran metro is segregated, with two women-only carriages at one end of the train. Despite this, some women choose to travel in the men’s part of the train, usually accompanied by a man.
As with the rest of the country private and shared taxis are abound in Tehran, although you may find flagging down a shared taxi more difficult amid the traffic and chaos, while private taxis are more expensive than in the smaller cities. See the Get Around information on Iran for details on flagging a taxi. If you want to get around by shared taxi, your best bet is to hop from square to square, as drivers will be reluctant to pick you up if your shouted destination deviates too far from their route. In each square you will find certain places where the private taxis are lined up in a queue and drivers call for passengers to a destination. (mostly happening during the times when the number of waiting taxis exceeds the number of passengers). In this case, they would wait until the car gets full of passengers (mostly one people at front and 3 people at back, excluding the driver). Otherwise the people have to line up in a queue waiting for the taxis to come. This is the case during rush hours (approximately 7AM to 8AM and 5PM to 8PM). All these depend upon finding their regular station in the square. You can also ask them to alight sooner than your destination wherever you like but you have to pay their total fee up to destination. The cost of such a ride from Azadi square to Vanak Square is around 50,000 Rls (5000 Tomans) for each person. Most drivers are very poor at English though.
Motorcycle taxis are a Tehran specialty and offer a way to weave quickly through the city’s traffic-clogged streets. You’ll see plenty of these drivers standing at the side of the road calling “motor” at all who pass by. Keep in mind motor taxi operators can seem even more suicidal than the average Tehran driver when driving. Agree on a price before you take off and expect to pay slightly less than chartering a private taxi.