Skopska public transport card sale office

How to Get the Skopje Public Transport Card

This article will explain how tourists can get the Skopska card in Skopje, the capital of North Macedonia.

Taxis in Skopje, the capital of North Macedonia, used to be quite cheap. While still affordable, the cab prices appear to have doubled in the post-pandemic era compared to 2019. It used to cost me 3-4 euros to get to the city from my favorite hotel, the Skopje’s DoubleTree by Hilton in the Aerodrom neighbourhood. Now the same ride costs 7 euros.

If you want to save on costs and travel like a local on the scenic London-style double-decker buses without fear of the control catching you and imposing a 1000 Denari fine (around 17 euros or 18 USD), here’s your guide hot to get the Skopska card.

Here’s a short video of what the bus experience in Skopje is like. Did you know that they mostly employ London-style doube-deckers?!

Can’t you just buy a ticket from the bus driver?

No. The capital’s public transportation system has moved almost completely digital. You either need to have the plastic top-up card, or pay with an SMS. However, the SMS-based ticket system works only with North Macedonian numbers.

It appeared, that there were a few buses where the driver was ready to sell a ticket for 120 denari (2 euros or 2.5 USD), which is 4 times the regular ticket price of 30 denari (50 euro cents, 60 dollar cents), they always required precise amounts that few tourists have. Hence, back to how to get the public transport card.

Skopje public transport bus stop with a tableau of bus schedules
Skopje bus stops are equipped with a tableau showing time of approaching buses to various destinations. It was not 100% reliant, as some buses appeared without info on the tableaus

Can’t I just buy the Skopska card in a newsstand or kiosk?

No. You can top up the card in many many locations around the city. Even at very late hours & and many locations you can pay by card. However, you can only buy the plastic card at the few JSP offices in the capital. JSP stands for ‘Јавно Сообраќајно Претпријатие Скопје’, the public transport authority.

Where can I find the JSP office?

JSP office in Skopje

One of the JSP offices is located at the central train and bus terminal. However, you need to know what you are looking for. There are a number of other JSP office locations (information only in Macedonian, but you can understand the addresses to insert in Google Maps), but this is the easiest to access for most tourists.

I wasn’t able to locate it myself, and had to ask the ticket office ladies at the main bus terminal. Turns out, the JSP office is located in, hear this, a yellow bus in a parking lot outside the terminal. You have to walk for around 300 yards / meters to reach it, and actually leave the bus terminal. No idea why the office is not in the terminal.

Ticket purchasing procedure

JSP office from a distance
JSP office from a distance

Once you’ve found the JSP office, the hardest thing is behind you.

You just enter the back door of the bus. Even if it appears deserted and closed, there’s someone in there from early morning to quite late in the evening.

The lady that served me didn’t speak English, but we managed to communicate in sign language, the bit of Serbo – Croatian I’ve picked up during my travels in the Western Balkans region and some residual Russian words.

The Skopska card costs 150 Macedonian Denari (which is about EUR 2.43 or USD 2.60). It comes with 2 pre-loaded tickets.

A freshly obtained Skopje public transport card at the JSP office
A freshly obtained Skopje public transport card at the JSP office

Useful tip – use the chance while you are at the office and ask the staff managing the JSP office to top-up the card with additional tickets proportionally to your stay in the city. The tickets are quite cheap – 30 denari – and will save you a lot of money compared to taxi rides even if you don’t use all of them.

Good to know – the JSP offices accept Visa and MasterCard payments when you both buy the Skopska card, and top it up.

Pay attention to the various tickets on offer. There are day passes, week passes, monthly passes. There is also a combo where you get a ticket to ascend to the Millenium Cross in the mountains above Skopje. These might help you to save even more.

Have a question or a tip to improve this article for other visitors of North Macedonia? Leave a comment below!

How much does the Skopska card cost

The Skopska card costs 150 MKD / 2.43 EUR / 2.60 USD). It comes with 2 pre-loaded tickets.

How much does a public transport ticket cost in Skopje?

A public transport ticket in Skopje costs 30 MKD or around 0.5 EUR / 0.6 USD for one ride. There are more expensive tickets for 60 MKD (1 EUR / 1.20 USD) that allow you to use public transport for 1.5 hours and hop from one bus to another. Day and weekly passes are also available at JSP offices.

How much is the fine for travelling without a ticket in Skopje

The fine is 1000 MKD or around 17 euros / 18 US dollars. I was not able to check this in official sources, the figure was mentioned by people I asked on the street. I’d suggest that it’s not worth going without a ticket in Skopje, as the tickets cost only 50 euro cents / 60 US cents.

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