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Reykjavík City Buses – How Do They Work?

Reykjavík City Buses

Reykjavík’s public transportation system offers a quick and inexpensive way to get around town. Since there are no trains or metro systems in Iceland, you only have to figure out how the city buses work. City buses are run by company Strætó and are easy to spot with their yellow colour. In this article, we will tell you everything you need to know about taking the bus in Reykjavík.

Reykjavik City Buses
Reykjavík City Buses

How to get bus tickets

If you want to make use of the bus, you need to have a valid admission. There are four ways to get admission to the bus: by paying the bus fare cash in the bus, by buying bus tickets beforehand and handing one in, by purchasing a ticket through the Strætó app, or by using a bus card. If you are planning to transfer to another bus and are not using the app, you have to ask the driver for a transfer ticket which is valid for 75 minutes. In city buses you cannot pay with credit card or debit card.

1) Paying cash: the price of a single fare is 490 ISK at the time of writing. Children 11 years of age or younger get free access. An important thing to know is that bus drivers in the capital area do not carry any change. You have to pay the exact amount.

2) Buy bus tickets beforehand: Bus tickets are sold in Strætó’s online store or at selected other vendors like shopping malls, bus stations, 10/11 convenience stores, and the What’s On tourist information centre at Laugavegur 5. The tickets are sold in 20 ticket packs. If you purchase tickets in the online store, you can either choose to pick them up yourself or have them delivered to an address.

3) Purchasing through the app: The Strætó app is a very handy app with which you cannot only purchase tickets, but also look up timetables and locate buses in real time. Just connect a credit card to the app and you’re ready to go. There’s Wi-Fi on city buses, so you don’t have to worry about your connectivity.

4) Using a bus card: There are a few different bus cards available, mostly targeted to people who use the bus often during the year. But you can also buy a one-day bus card for 1,930 ISK and a three-day bus card for 4,500 ISK, both valid in the capital area.

Tips for going with the bus

Have your tickets or exact amount of cash ready. Signal the driver when you see the bus coming, so they know they have to stop. Food consumption is not allowed on board the bus, but you can bring drinks in closed containers. Bikes are permitted on board, as long as there is room on the bus, baby carriages and wheelchairs have priority over bikes. Use the back doors of the bus when leaving.

Strætó’s logo

Where to find bus timetables

You can find bus timetables at bus stations and bus shelters, in the app, and on Strætó’s website.

How to get around town at night

Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, night buses have stopped running in Reykjavík and there are no plans to start them up again in the near future. If you need to get from A to B at night, taking a taxi is your best (and only) option. If you’re downtown, there are queues for taxis at Ingólfstorg and Lækjartorg squares. You can also stop them in the street if you see one with their lights on. Outside the city centre, it’s best to call a car. Taxis in Iceland are well regulated and clearly marked (with lights on top).

Buses that go out of town
A glacier bus, something else than a city bus.

Buses that go out of town

Strætó has routes outside of the city, with destinations such as Akureyri, Hveragerði, Vík, and Jökulsárlón lagoon. Prices differ, depending on where you’re going, and buses going out of the city accept credit cards next to bus tickets and cash. It is generally not possible to reserve a seat, except for route 83 and 84. A Wi-Fi network and electrical sockets are available in buses driving in the countryside.

The Reykjavík City Card

Unlimited bus travel in the capital area is included in the Reykjavík City Card

If you’re in Reykjavík and can’t wait to explore this amazing city, the first thing you should do is get yourself a Reykjavík City Card. The Reykjavík City Card offers free entry to some of the best museums and galleries in the city. Additionally, it includes access to Reykjavík’s thermal pools. The Reykjavík City Card also gives you free access to all city buses in Reykjavík. Purchase your Reykjavik City card online or at the What’s On tourist information office. The card is available for 24, 48, or 72 hours.