the green trams that trundle through the streets of Tunis are a cheap way to get around town, and perhaps the easiest way to get to places that are slightly further flung, like the Bardo Museum (which, as i discovered today, is closed on Mondays
during non-peak months).
anyways, it was a bit hard to find out how you actually work the system, so here goes; hopefully this will help someone:
1) map out where you want to go. i’ve found that this Wikipedia page is a good resource, even though the map looks out of date (i have a feeling not much has changed). note that the metro lines make a loop through downtown, so Habib Thameur is only for stops going away from the center of town, and Ibn Rachiq is only for stops going towards the center. [UPDATE: it appears that the Ibn Rachiq stop is no longer in use; get off at La Republique, AKA Le Passage on some maps if you’re headed somewhere around there.]
2) buy your ticket at the manned booths; just tell the agent where you’re going. each ride costs less than 50 millimes (about 25 US cents), but you can only buy a ticket right before each trip, since the ticket seller will validate the ticket before he gives it to you. note that there may be weekly or monthly passes, but i don’t know how those work and they are likely overkill for visitors to Tunis. you don’t need to do anything with the ticket except keep it in case the fare police make an appearance. just walk through any turnstiles that you see to the boarding platform.
3) make sure you wait at the right platform. there will be signs that indicate which direction the train is going (e.g., to Tunis).
4) the metro suffers from overcrowding and bunching (where many trains will arrive in quick succession with a long gap between the bunches), especially during rush hour. you may wish to just let trains pass by (like many locals) until you think you can get at least some semblance of a comfortable spot on board. more than likely you will be standing, even during non-rush hour.
5) there are no announcements or maps on the trains [UPDATE: there are maps over some doors, although they aren’t much use if you don’t know what station you’re at], at least on the older ones that i was on today, so either be sure to have a map with you and follow along, or use Google Maps to track your progress. the signs at each stop are hard to see, especially from inside a crowded tram car. just (very) politely shove your way to an exit when you reach your stop.
two interesting things i saw at the Bardo stop:
remember to keep your personal belongings and valuables under guard, as it really does get quite crowded. think Japanese rush hour levels of sardine-ness!