As long as you know in which station and at what hour you should wait,
which train to take and if necessary when and where to get off that train to take a different line,
to take a different train, you shall be accepted as a smart traveler!
Mehmet Murat ildan
Tbilisi Metro History
The metro is one of the most popular modes of transport in major cities, used by millions of people around the world today. Its history began in London in 1864 and quickly spread across the globe.
In the mid-1900s, initial plans were drafted to build a metro in Tbilisi, Georgia. Yet due to a lack of funds and the city’s modest population of 600,000 people, which fell fall short of the minimum 1 million residents required to warrant such an investment, the Soviet government dismissed the idea. However, Kandid Charkviani, secretary of the Communist Party of Georgia, managed to wrangle direct approval from Stalin himself for the project. Although work began in 1953, the Tbilisi Metro did not open until January 1966. It was the fourth Soviet city to have a metro system, trailing only Moscow, Saint Petersburg and Kiev.
Initially, Georgia’s metro consisted of only five stations, but over time the number of stops was increased. In 1979, a second line was opened which connected Station Square with Saburtalo District. The most recent station, State University, was added to the Saburtalo Line in 2015.
Tbilisi Metro Today
More than half a century after its grand opening, the Tbilisi Metro remains the main transport for city residents, especially during rush hour. Currently it has 23 spacious, Soviet-style stations and two lines which connect at Tbilisi Metro’s Station Square. There are 16 stations on the Akhmeteli-Varketili Line and 7 stations on Saburtalo Line.
Every day the Tbilisi Metro opens at 06:00 am and runs until midnight. The train often arrives in 5 minutes or less, and even during slow hours all trains are slated to arrive in under 15 minutes. To enter the metro, passengers must use a prepaid MetroMoney Card which can be purchased at any metro station and may also be used on Tbilisi buses, minibuses and cable cars. As of 2020, the card cost 2 GEL (0.61 USD), and the price of the ticket, regardless of the distance you travel, was 0.50 Georgian Tetri (0.15 USD).
Massive renovations began on the metro in 2005, and gradually the old Soviet cars were replaced with newer models. Restoration work continues, with plans underway to purchase 10 new European trains and to add a third line, Rustaveli - Vazisubani, which will service Vake District and eventually include 14 stations.
Helpful Info for Tourists
There is no metro station at Shota Rustaveli International Airport. To reach both the Varketili and Samgori Lines, visitors can take Bus 37 or the train from the airport to Station Square and hop on either metro line. Another option is to take Bus 37 from the airport and get off earlier at Samgori Station on the Akhmeteli–Varketili Line. To visit Old Tbilisi, passengers can ride the metro to either Avlabari or Freedom Square Stations.
Surveillance cameras and police monitor every station to ensure the safety of passengers, so provided one takes basic precautions, the Tbilisi Metro is generally a safe option for transport in the city.