If you are traveling to Iran by yourself without the help of a tour operator, you might need to know about the transportation system of the country. To arrive in Iran you can choose air, rail, or bus system depending on where are you coming from. Once you are inside the country the public transportation in big cities are available in a low price for everyone.
Taxis are widely available in big and small cities. You can either hail a private or a shuttle taxi. Shuttle taxis travel between the main streets and squares of the city so you need to know the name of the street or the square. Sometimes to arrive at your destination you might need to hop on more than one shuttle taxi or you can hail for a private ride which will be more expensive. To hail a private taxi you can say ‘Dar Bast’ to the driver and he will take you to your destination at any location in the city. It is the best to agree on a price before you get in the car.
For a shuttle or a shared taxi, you can find the taxi stations on almost all the squares and most of the main streets of the city. You will see a lot of yellow or green taxis waiting on their stations to be filled and take off toward their destination. Taxis wait on lines with the name of their destinations written on a sign next to each line. If you do not see a taxi station step on the road and shout the name of your destination for the taxis going on your way and the one that is going to your destination will stop.
There are also agency taxis or telephone taxis that every hotel and household knows one and has the number of their local agency taxis and they can call and ask for a car to your destination. The agency taxi is more expensive than the shuttle and it can stick around with you all day or you can hire it for your entire stay.
Alos there is a special taxi for ladies only, in the big cities. All the drivers are women and they will accept lady customers only. You can reserve a taxi by calling them at 1814 and they are starting their online services on their website http://taxibanovan.com/.
If you are going to use Tehran’s subway and bus services pretty often during your stay, purchase an electronic ticket from a bus or metro station. Using the electronic ticket for the metro will cost you less than purchasing a regular ticket for every trip, but it has the same price for the bus trips. The e-tickets are easy to use since you charge it any amount you wish and do not need to stay in the line of purchasing a ticket for every trip you want to take.
There is bus transportation in all cities of Iran, and in big cities like Tehran, it is the best way to escape the traffic and crowded streets of city centers. Tehran has BRT (bus rapid transit) system which runs 24/7 in ten different lines throughout the city. You can check out the map here. The fee for every trip is 5000 Rials for the bus with or without the e-ticket.
Minibusses in Tehran are almost extinct since the bus system has improved in the recent years, except in some less developed areas of the city.
Metro (underground subway)
Tehran’s subway has four lines running in different directions plus one extra line that goes to Karaj. Subway gives you the fastest reach to almost any location in Tehran, you just need to find out which line is the best for your destination and if you need to change your train figure out on which station you must move to another line. Plus on the boards in the trains the name of the stations are in Farsi only but in the stations and on this map the English name is available. Keep in mind that the subway during the rush hours 7-9am, 4-7pm is very crowded. The fee for a trip with the e-ticket starts from 2000 Rials and it goes up depending on the time you were using the metro. If you do not use the e-ticket and purchase a ticket, the one-way ticket is 6000 Rial and a two-way ticket is 10,000 Rials.
On the Road
Travel between the cities is the best by train and bus. Both are very comfortable and have fair pricing. There are VIP buses for longer trips that are very comfortable with a service box of juice and cookies. You can purchase the bus tickets at the terminal since the websites are in Farsi only also visa or master cards do not work in Iran yet, due to banking sanctions.
For transportation between cities you can choose railway as well and if you are traveling in a group you can purchase the ticket for a four to six seated wagons that the seats turn into a bed for a comfortable night sleep as well. Some railways systems, such as Tehran-Mashhad, have different quality levels, from more luxuries to ordinary classifications. For the railways, you need to purchase the tickets at the terminal.
There are private cars as well to transport you between the cities which will take four passengers to the destination and might be at the same price as the bus fare but it is less comfortable compared to the bus or train specially for longer journeys.