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Living without metro: mobility in Lithuania simplified

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As a country, Lithuania is very compact. Here, it’s easy to get from A to B using the smooth-running public transit system. In addition to buses and trolleybuses, the relatively short distances within and between cities are easily traversable by trains, bicycles, and electric scooters. 

Given its compactness, it’s no surprise that the country is increasingly adopting the humans-over-cars approach to mobility. This includes wide, renovated sidewalks, numerous bicycle lanes, bike and scooter rental services, and more.

Public transportation in Lithuania is not only robust and convenient, but also green, affordable, and inclusive. The 1,000 page-long Sustainable Urban Mobility Plan, developed by 16 organisations, aims to further improve the quality of public transport, curb negative environmental impacts, and reduce urban car traffic by 2030.

Rest assured, you’ll have no trouble getting from place to place quickly in Lithuania if you don’t own a car, and you won’t have to navigate a complex metro system.

With that out of the way, let’s break it all down step by step.

Buses and trolleybuses

Buses and trolleybuses are the backbone of the Lithuanian public transit system. The country has a modern fleet of buses and trolleybuses with low floors for easy access to people with physical disabilities. Some also allow people to bring their bicycles onboard, provided it doesn’t inconvenience other passengers. Scooters, unicycles, skateboards, and similar micro-mobility devices are allowed in all cases.

There are four types of buses: regular, express, night, and intercity. Express buses skip a number of stops to get passengers to some of the key areas in the city as quickly as possible. Whether you travel by trolleybus or bus, you can easily get pretty much anywhere in the city within 30-40 minutes. Many bus and trolleybus stops also have free wi-fi, so finding your way around the city should be a total breeze!

Getting into the city from the airport is very easy and convenient, as there are several buses making regular trips from there to the city centre. If you end up staying up late, you can hop on a night bus that makes rounds across the entire city, including the airport.

Trains

Travelling by train is just as convenient. That’s due to regular schedules, a modern fleet of rolling stock, and trains to most of the biggest Lithuanian cities that stop at smaller towns and villages along the way. With the length of railway tracks in Lithuania totalling at almost 1,869 km, trains can easily bring you to where you need to be. 

You can also bring your bicycle and your pet onboard all trains, and enjoy free wi-fi during the entirety of the trip.

Bicycles and other micro-mobility devices

The popularity of cycling in Lithuania has been surging in recent years, with cyclists enjoying the country’s rich landscapes, relatively flat surface, and numerous bike paths. Lithuanian cities also have an extensive network of bicycle lanes, stretching from residential neighbourhoods to city centres and the cobbled streets of old towns. 

If you don’t have your own bicycle, there are several rental services and apps, such as CityBee, Scoot 911, CycloCity, and Bolt. In addition to bicycles, you can rent electric scooters and unicycles, skateboards, longboards, and whatever else you desire!

Other options 

Besides travelling on wheels, simply walking is also an option in Lithuania. The country’s towns and cities, including the major ones, are very compact and easy to navigate. In the near future, this is bound to improve even further. For instance, Vilnius City Municipality aims to have at least 29% of all trips in the city be done on foot by 2030. Moreover, most public infrastructure, such as sidewalks, crossings and special parking places, has been adapted for disabled people.

If you need to get somewhere as quickly as possible, you can always get an Uber or Bolt. There are also other, local ridesharing apps and regular taxis. Nearly all of them have a fleet of modern vehicles (with some, you can specifically choose an electric one) and allow users to pay for the ride in advance via smartphone.

If you absolutely can’t do without a car, yet don’t own one yourself, there’s always short-term rentals. The two best known ones are CityBee, which offers regular cars and vans, and Spark, which rents electric vehicles. As a bonus, Spark allows you to park anywhere in the city for free, including in parking lots that normally charge a fee!

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