Iran has a long paved road system linking most of its towns and all of its cities. Dozens of cities have airports that serve passenger and cargo planes. Iran Air, the national airline, was founded in 1962 and operates domestic and international flights. All large cities have mass transit systems using buses, and several private companies provide bus service between cities. Tehran, Mashhad, Shiraz, Tabriz, Ahwaz and Esfahan have underground mass transit rail lines, in different stages of operation and construction.
Iran handles about 50 million passengers annually (2016). Iran’s airports are improving their international connections. In May 2007 international flights into the capital, Tehran, were moved to the Imam Khomeini International Airport (IKIA).
Imam Khomeini International Airport (IATA: IKA, ICAO: OIIE), is the primary international airport of Tehran, the capital city of Iran, located 30 kilometers southwest of Tehran. All International flights in Tehran are currently served by this airport and all domestic flights are served by Mehr-Abad Airport. the airport has served about 8 million international passengers.
Public transportation from Imam Khomeini Airport
Metro train station with the same name is open. Also taxi is other available option. Grabbing a taxi is nothing complicated. You’ll be ambushed by drivers offering you a ride as soon as you step out of the airport. In most airports there are taxi stands in the arrival hall where you can hire a taxi. Just make sure you and the driver agree on a price before you get in.
Mehr-Abad International Airport Until 2007 Mehr-Abad Airport (IATA: THR, ICAO: OIII) was the primary airport of Tehran in both international and domestic passenger traffic but has been replaced by the new Tehran Imam Khomeini International Airport for all of its scheduled international traffic and now it is primary airport of Tehran in domestic flights.
Airlines in Iran
Domestic prices are set by the government, so it doesn’t matter which airline you fly, the price will be the same. Iran Air is the largest among a growing roster of domestic airlines and boasts an extensive network of flights, covering most provincial capitals. For tickets it’s best to use one of the many travel agencies, where you’ll get all the options, rather than an airline office. The main domestic airlines in Iran include: ATA, Atrak, Caspian Airlines, Iran Air, Iran Airtours, Iran Aseman, Kish Air, Meraj Airlines, Mahan Air, Qeshm Air, Taban Air.
When making a booking, check the aircraft type and get to the airport at least an hour ahead of domestic departures.
Known as a “Ghatar” in Persian; trains are probably the cheapest, safest, most reliable and easiest way to travel around the country. Trains are frequently delayed so leave plenty of time between destinations. Tehran is the main hub and most services begin or end in the capital. The rail network comprises three main trunk lines. The first stretches east to west across the north of the country linking the Turkish and Turkmenistan borders via Tabriz, Tehran and Mashhad. The second and third extend south of Tehran but split at Qom. One line connects to the Persian Gulf via Ahvaz and Arak, while the other traverses the country’s center linking Kashan, Yazd and Kerman.
Classes & Costs
The majority of trains have two classes, though a significant minority have only one. There are 1st and 2nd -classes. A seat in 2nd class costs a bit less than a normal bus, and a 1st class seat is a bit less than a VIP bus. On overnight trains (usually to/from Tehran), the 1st class carriages have sleeper couchettes (ghazal) with four or six bunks. Solo women should strongly consider requesting a single-sex sleeper. On most 1st class services, meals are served in your compartment. Long-distance trains also travel with a restaurant car.
Train ticketing is on an integrated system and tickets can be booked at railway stations up to a month in advance. Especially for trains leaving on Thursday, Friday and public holidays, it’s recommended you book ahead through one of the train stations around the country.
The main Rail Corporations in Iran includes:
- Raja Rail Transportation Co
- Safir Rail Asia Trains
- Noor Al-Reza Trains
- Joupar Trains
The Iranian domestic bus network (Between Cities) is extensive and very cheap. The only major difference between the various bus companies is the frequency and availability of their VIP services. Major companies operating out of big cities usually provide more VIP services than Normal ones, and the biggest companies don’t offer Normal tickets in major cities at all. You can buy tickets online, from the bus terminals, or ticket offices up to a week in advance, but you shouldn’t have a problem finding a seat if you turn up to the terminal an hour or so before your intended departure time, although you might not be able to find a ticket this way in major cities such as Tehran, especially on holidays or other travel-prone times. It is best to book tickets online, where you can choose your seat. More than 20 bus companies offer Bus Companies & Types
Most bus companies are cooperatives and were formerly known as Cooperative Bus Company No X (Sherkat-e Ta’avoni Shomare X). They have more varied names, but in the terminal they might still direct you to, for example, ‘ta’avoni yek’ (cooperative number 1).
Most bus terminals are located at the edge of town and are easily reached by shuttle or private taxi. Some cities have more than one bus terminal; if in doubt, ask at your hotel or charter a taxi to the relevant terminal. Bus terminals are filled with the offices of individual bus companies, though timetables are rarely in
English. Just ask ‘Shiraz?’, ‘Esfahan?’ or wherever and you’ll be directed to the right desk. The main Bus Terminals in Iran include:
- Tehran West (Gharb) Terminal
- Tehran East (Sharq) Terminal
- Tehran Jonoub (South) Terminal
- Tehran Beihaqqi (Argentine) Terminal
- Shiraz Kar-Andish Termninal
- Isfahan’s Kaveh Terminal
- Isfahan’s Soffeh Terminal
- Yazd Al-Ghadir Terminal
- Mashahd Imam Reza Terminal
- Tabriz Passenger Terminal
thousands of services on buses that are cheap, comfortable and frequent.
When getting around Tehran, nothing beats the city’s clean and chill metro system. It’s easy to use, costs almost nothing and saves you from the horrid traffic. One way tickets are 1000 Tomans (almost 25 cents). Your other option would be a metro card that can be topped up to any price you wish. The same card can also be used for buses and even recently for official taxis outside metro stations. If you’re staying in the city a few days, then charge it with something around 5000-10,000 Tomans.
City buses cover a great part of the city. Keep in mind that in these buses women sit in the back and men in the front. Women can pay when getting off by going to the drivers’ section. Normal buses come in many colors such as blue, yellow, pink or white.
BRT buses in Tehran are express buses with their own special route. They are red, don’t get stuck in traffic and go through the main avenues of the city. The most practical route is the one connecting the railway station to Tajrish square. It goes through Tehran’s longest street “Vali-e Asr” and makes stops in some of the city’s main squares. Payment is normally done at the entrance of the station by metro card. If not, you’re required to pay the driver in person. In these buses women are seated in the front and men in the back.
Getting a Taxi
To get a taxi in Iran you can either go to the closest taxi station or just stand in the street and hail for one. You just need to look interested and you’ll have cars stopping at your feet without blinking an eye. But the tricky part is to know what kind of Taxi to look for.
Darbast means ‘closed door’. In the Persian transportation dictionary, it means hiring a private taxi. You could be standing anywhere in the city and getting a Darbast. To hire a Darbast just stand along the street and wait for an empty taxi to stop. Then tell him Darbast and if he’s interested let him know of your destination. Make sure you negotiate a price before getting in.
- Shared/Shuttle taxi
Shared taxi is a common way of getting around in Iran. Many actually prefer it to buses. They have their own designated routes. So you’re supposed to get on if only you’re intended destination is within their route. They have fixed prices which is usually written on a sticker on their front window and they carry up to 4 people.
- Online Taxi
After the successful presence of systems such as UBER in the world, similar samples in Iran, such as Snapp and Tap30, began to emerge, with Internet and mobilization of most people to smartphones, many people applied for the apps in order to commute inside the city. Snapp, Tap30 and Carpino are most famous online taxi service providers in Iran. To request a taxi through these Apps, travelers are requested to specify the route, travel options, service type, and after viewing the travel cost, this app will automatically connect passengers with the nearest driver and sends the passenger’s position to the driver. The driver would confirms it if he wishes. Passengers can also locate their driver’s position and you can pay both cash and non-cash. Average cost of these online taxies depending on distance is 2 to 12 US$ (8,000-50,000 Tomans – from city center to other destinations in Tehran)