Escape from Stockholm — getting to Arlanda with night bus 592 or 5932 min read

Rule number one: trust Google Maps. Rule number two: do not believe the locals’ knowledge of their own transportation system.
Stockholm is this big city that prides itself on having a great public transportation system. It sounds great. Until you find out at 1AM that everything shuts down at night. So here you are, in central station, with SL employees telling you “It’s closed, sorry. Get to the airport tomorrow”. That obviously won’t work with a flight that leaves at 6.
Let me restate my disbelief here: a city with four friggin’ airports has no 24/7 public transportation to get to its biggest airport. Except it does, but nobody knows about it, or they don’t believe it works. Bus 592 and 593 take you from some parts of downtown to Stockholm-Arlanda airport.
The reason I’m bothering to write a blog post about this is that I want to put this information out there; it was impossible for me (with a fair amount of googling skills) to be absolutely certain of the fare/pricing/payment system for bus 593 and bus 592. The SL’s website doesn’t tell you, Google doesn’t tell you, wikipedia and wikitravel don’t tell you, and all the locals I asked were convinced that it is impossible to travel to Arlanda with normal tickets. They will tell you to try to take the train instead.
I am living proof that it is possible, and I’m putting this blog post out there to let the rest of the world know when they search the Internet for two very simple questions:

  • “Can you go to Arlanda with one ticket on a blue SL card?”: Yes. The night buses are really local buses, and since you’re boarding them in the (central) zone A, a normal ticket is enough. I had a blue RFID transportation card with only two tickets left; I used one for the subway, realized the transportation offering was rubbish, ran in ten directions asking various locals along the way, ran to the 593 bus stop I initially planned to go to, and confirmed there that it works fine with one normal ticket. So this turns out to be the cheapest way (also arguably the simplest) to get to the arlanda airport, although it takes a bit longer due to the many bus stops.
  • “Can you pay with a credit card on the bus?”: No, I don’t think so. I did not see any cash or credit card machines on the bus, only SL “access” card machines.

Of course, the answer to the first question only applies to getting out of Stockholm towards the airport. Due to the zone system, I suspect that the other way around doesn’t work. And during daytime, buses 592/593 don’t exist.