There are different types of tickets. All tickets are available in discounted prices for students, the elderly and others.
They can be classified into 3 groups:
One ride- Tickets that are valid for one journey up to 120 minutes on the vehicle they were validated on(paper). They now allow also use of all the system for 75 or 90 minutes.
Time based- Tickets that are valid for a time period and allow you to board on any public transportation vehicle and service during that period(paper).
Long Term- tickets that allow you access to the system for a day, month or 3 months. the monthly and 3-monthly tickets are available only on the Warsaw City Card which you may apply for if you live in Warsaw(electronic).
Weekend group ticket- A group ticket valid for groups up to 5 people from 7 PM on Friday until 8 AM on Monday
20 minute ticket (source: dlastudenta.pl)
Weekend Group Ticket
Where to buy?
You can buy tickets in digital machines or in kiosks and stores.
Example of a Warsovian Ticket Machine for Public Transport
The ticket machines accept cash and credit cards. They have also an English interface and support for charging the City Card.
You can also find some ticket machines on buses and trams, but most accept credit cards only.
It is necessary to validate any ticket the first time you use it in the machines on buses, trams and in metro stations. You don't need to validate it again if you're switching lines/vehicles during the ticket's time period or throughout the long term period (day, month, etc.
Example of City Card
The Warsaw City Card is provided free of charge for Warsaw residents. You can apply even if you are not a Polish citizen.
How do you apply?
You can apply online, or at Passenger Service Centers operated by the Warsaw Transport Authority.
A list of Passenger Service Centers can be found here.
You need a 3.5x4.5cm current photo of yourself (sort of like a passport or ID card photo), which can be uploaded digitally (99x128 pixels)
The current City Cards are personalized, meaning that you can design them yourself in the online application or choose from some pre-made designs.
You have to pick it up in person at a Passenger Service Center of your choice with documentation such as a passport and residence permits.
You can apply online here.
How to use?
After you receive the card, you can charge it at any ticket machine or at some stores and kiosks and stores which usually have a sign with an image of the city card on it.
It is only possible to charge it with a monthly or 3-monthly ticket.
You can also charge it with credit for the parking meters around the city.
On the bus, tram or metro, you just need to tap the card on the validator for it to beep and validate your card. On the screen you''ll see the date of expiry. After you validate once, you don''t need to validate on buses and trams but you need to tap it to get into the metro.