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Trip Report Rome Tourism drops the ball on Roma Pass and rips off thousands

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I have been a pretty strong supporter of the Roma Pass, until now. Due to the recent snow and subsequent shutting down of all attractions and essentially all mass transportation for a period of 2.5 days, anyone who had the Roma Pass and had activated it just prior to the snow and shutdown got screwed.

Before anyone jumps on the "bash the messenger bandwagon", you need to realize that what I am reporting here is a problem that did not need to happen and has probably cost tourists in Rome many thousands of dollars over the past few days, with no recourse. Yes, I am one of those. Here is what happened...

The Roma Pass is a 3 day pass that combines unlimited use of the mass transit system with free access to 2 sites and discounts on all other listed sites. It can be a good deal if used properly. In the past, when you bought the Pass, it came with 2 cards, one for site access, one for travel. The 3 day clock did not start on either of these until you actually used one and each was independent of the other.

The present pass is one card, using a chip. You are supposed to write down the date on the card when you intend to use it. The transport side and site access sides are not separate anymore, so if you take a bus then the site access also starts the countdown.

This seems ok on the face, until something like this past weekend happens. On Friday by noon the snow had started and things begin being shut down. On Saturday and Sunday everything, except a very few bus routes, were down, including ALL sites and metro and trains.

So, we had purchased the Roma Pass on Thursday afternoon intending to use it for access Saturday and/or Sunday (depending on the weather). Original forecast was for heavy rain and possible snow on Friday. Friday we took a bus in the morning, but did not go to any sites due to rain and cold. Friday afternoon everything went to hell in
Rome weather-wise and stayed that way until Monday morning.

Granted, nobody could guess that the entire city would be shut down, but the thousands of tourists in the city (even at this time of year) certainly were not at fault. Where the Rome Tourism office could have easily extended any Roma Pass that was activated (but not used in its entirety) to make up for the complete city shutdown. Instead, Rome Tourism Office simply said "too bad, send us an email". I went to the Tourist Info office, explained the situation that we and thousands of others were facing and I was told I was "harassing them".

The tourists were not in control of closing all sites and transit on Friday afternoon and both Saturday and Sunday. Even today, on Monday, most outside sites are still closed and of course Museums are closed because it is Monday. Tourists were not in control of essentially shutting down all mass transit. But if you purchased the Roma Pass and either wrote in the date or actually activated it, then you got to watch you fee just vaporize, without the ABILITY to use it in any way.

So, I will NEVER recommend purchasing the Roma Pass again and consider the actions by the Rome Tourism Office to be bordering on criminal. Yes, the snow was a natural and rare event, but then what else can shut things down? Why should a purchaser of the pass be financially harmed and ignored, when it could have easily been fixed. The Pass is computer controlled, by simply changing some info in the primary database to extend all Passes, this could have been a non-issue. Instead, anyone that asks "what happened to my money" is "harrasing".

dave

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