Metro and Buses in Rome

May 15th, 2017, 10:20 AM
Original Poster
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Metro and Buses in Rome

First trip to Italy next month. We're spending a few days in Rome and I am hoping to gain some insights into the Metro and bus services.

Are there multi-day passes we can purchase?

From what I've read, they can be very crowded - am I better off taking a taxi?

Any insights and/or suggestions are greatly appreciated.

Miki2621 is offline  
May 15th, 2017, 11:19 AM
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Better off as to what? Taxis will be less crowded than Roman buses and metro lines. The will also be vastly more expensive.
BigRuss is offline  
May 15th, 2017, 11:21 AM
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Rome has a very inexpensive public transport system compared to other major cities. A single ticket for 100 minutes of almost unlimited travel costs €1.50. It's good for buses, trams, metro, urban trains and regional trains within the city limits. Just as an example, the other day, we took a regional train from an outer neighborhood into central Rome. Then we took a another train to a different station in Rome, in order to get to a more convenient metro line. Finally, we used the same ticket to enter the metro system. (The reason we made such a complicated trip was that there was a strike and the buses were packed to the gills.)

You can get a 24-hour pass for €7 and a 48-hour pass for €12.50. These passes would pay off only if you were to make more than 4 separate €1.50. I never make enough trips to make the passes worth the cost. The center of Rome is very compact, and often you can get somewhere a lot faster by walking than by using public transportation.

There is also a 72-hour pass (3 days) for €18, which would break even at exactly 4 trips, on average, each day.

For people who will be in Rome for a week (or even for five days or more) the weekly pass at €24 pays off at 16 trips, which would be on average less than three trips a day. This is the only one based on calendar days rather than hours. If you start using it late in the day, your first day is over at midnight.

I recommend Google Maps for helping you figure out the bus system. If you put in your starting address and your destination address, and click the bus icon, it will tell you which buses (or metros or trains) will get you there, where to catch the bus, and how to get to the bus stop on foot. It's important to specify the day of the week and time of day you'll be traveling, because it recommends different buses on weekends and evenings than it does on a weekday. It even considers rush hour slowdowns.
bvlenci is online now  
May 15th, 2017, 11:22 AM
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I don't often use taxis in Rome. Maybe on arrival, when I have a suitcase and don't know exactly where I'm going.
bvlenci is online now  
May 15th, 2017, 01:22 PM
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We used the Metro and buses frequently in Rome. The only day the Metro was particularly crowded was the morning we rode to the Vatican from San Giovanni in Laterano. The Termini stop was particularly bad (picture angry people screaming and banging on the windows of our car because they couldn't get on), but within a stop or two most of the people got off the train and it was fine after that.

Lee Ann
ElendilPickle is offline  
May 15th, 2017, 02:07 PM
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The only problem I ever had on a Roman bus was on a very crowded bus when I was stuck by the door when a Roman matron wished to get off. Despite the fact that it must have been obvious to her that I wasn't blocking her way deliberately she still berated me at some length.

Despite this I got off the bus so that she could alight, and almost failed to get back on again quickly enough, which just goes to prove the old saying that no good turn goes unpunished.

Generally though they have proved to be problem free and a great way of getting around.
annhig is offline  
May 15th, 2017, 02:49 PM
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Aha, Annhig, that was part of a pickpocket routine. The big basher distracts you while the little old lady next to you does the dip. You probably had nothing loose to lose that time.
AJPeabody is online now  
May 15th, 2017, 04:30 PM
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It's not easy to take taxis in Rome. You can't hail them off the street. There are taxi ranks, although not necessarily a lot, nor are they in obvious places. Romans call taxis by phone. They use the same company, over and over. If you don't speak Italian -- or especially if you are not good with it on the telephone -- it's not simple.

I find the buses, trams and metro of Rome really zippy. One of the best investments I every made touring Rome was a 1 euro bus map. It was easy to figure out the bus routes, and I got to see a LOT of Rome I might otherwise skipped to do sore feet.

Definiely heed all the pickpocket advice.
frencharmoire is offline  
May 15th, 2017, 06:22 PM
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Here are the pros and cons of each mode of transportation in Rome.

Bus - Most ubiquitous and goes to many places. But the routes can be confusing to understand. You need to get hold of a route map. In addition, ask your hotel which bus numbers go to the places you want to go as well as which buses you can take to your next destination. The stop locations can be confusing. At busy places, there so many buses serving that general area and there are multiple stops for different buses. Corso is definitely one of them.

Tram - This is most likely the next one you might use depending on where you are heading. Needing to run on tracks, the routes are easier to understand and stop locations are easier to find. But, unlike buses, they do not serve inside the core of the city. The stations are spaced further apart, but where you get off is more obvious than the buses.

Metro - Whether this is useful or not depends on where you are staying and where you are going. Because the route is around the city core, it is not useful for making most of the connections between attraction.

Taxi - You need to find a taxi queue or call one. If you want to get a taxi not from a major attractions where you usually find taxi queues, you need to call one or find someone to call a taxi for you. You can wait a long time if you do this at the last minutes. During the taxi, a taxi can get stuck in a traffic (also bus, but not tram or metro). Also depending on where you are going, you may have to get off a taxi far from the destination due to car traffic regulation. Also, so as not to be scammed, ask your hotel how much each ride should have cost. Honest taxi drivers would tell you an approximate fare (approximate because they should be using a meter) that is within around 10% of what the hotel would tell you impacted by the traffic. If the taxi driver mumbles or gives an estimate way off the expected figure, find another driver or another taxi queue.

Walk - In the very core of the city, this is the most likely way to travel from one place to another.

Per ride ticket vs. multi-day pass. From strictly financial point of view, you decide by the number of times you use them per day. However, if you are not used to taking public transit at home, for a per ride/100 min ticket, you have to VALIDATE a new ticket once you exceed the 100 min limit. You face stiff fines and an unpleasant experiences confronted by fare inspector if you are caught without a validated ticket. Another issue is that you cannot buy bus tickets on board. You must buy them at places like Tabacchi stores. Multiple-day passes avoids this by needing to validate only once to start multiple day validity and keep it in a safe place with you all the time. You don't have to remember to validate tickets and when confronted by fare inspectors. You should have a valid pass with you. If you need to ride a bus in a place not near Tabacchi when you don't have a ticket or other places that sell ticket, you would be glad if you are traveling on a multiple-day pass.
greg is offline  
May 16th, 2017, 12:42 AM
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just to clarify the taxi situation, since so many of you seem to believe you have to call one which is difficult if you don't speak italian: there are now two apps one can use, in many languages incl english. Ittaxi and MyTaxi. for various reasons (mainly because they came over a year later and seem to always find taxis too far away from me) i do not like mytaxi, i have been using ittaxi for some years now. the app is free, you can set it up to pay with your paypal account or credit card, and later you can rate the driver and the car itself. It is a lot like uber, except you are not sharing the ride, it is an official licenced taxi and you are paying normal prices. Since i have been using the app my "not so nice" encounters with taxis have gone down to almost zero - they are now accountable (as it is in the books when and from where to where you are going and what route was taken) and yhey know they are being rated (and yes it works - i have a couple of times rated very low and banned the taxis from ever picking me up again and was always contacted by the hq asking about what happened).
vinoroma is offline  
May 16th, 2017, 01:36 AM
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For the reasons greg gave, we purchased a 72hr pass in Rome.
I am not sure if we could not have saved 2 or 3 euros by buying individual tickets, but for us it was more the convenience of not having to think about tickets for 3 days.

We didn't find the buses that much crowded. But the metro line A was super-crowded during the morning rush hour.

For navigating the transit system, we mostly used Google maps.
It does not only give the driving or walking directions but also public transport connections. It was also helpful in finding the nearest bus stop.

But we also used our own feet a LOT to get from A to B.
Walking is never boring in the historic city center, IMO.
Cowboy1968 is online now  
May 16th, 2017, 01:53 AM
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I am finally making my 1st trip to Rome and had similar questions but this discussion board has been very useful and answered all of them! Thank you everyone for detailing all of this information so well including the costs of different transit cards.
AnnOfGreen is offline  
May 16th, 2017, 02:52 AM
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>>>Are there multi-day passes we can purchase?
From what I've read, they can be very crowded - am I better off taking a taxi?<<<

Depending on where your hotel is located, you might be able to easily walk to most things. With only a few days in Rome, I can't imagine getting the value of a pass if you are just going to the main tourist attractions (Vatican/Colosseum).

For 3 days, the 72 hour Roma Pass (38.50€) might be a better value than just a 72 hour transport pass (18€). It includes entry to 2 sites, but it would depend on what you plan to visit.

ATAC is the transport website. Maps for the buses/trams/metro:
kybourbon is online now  
May 16th, 2017, 03:10 AM
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A lot of good information here... to add on, depending upon where you are staying, you may be able to easily walk everywhere, so might not need to take transportation very often.

We were there for 8 days in March, stayed near Campo de Fiori, and took the bus 3 times, the metro once, and took a taxi once. Admittedly, we walked a lot and could've taken a bus a few more times, but we took a bus only when we were too tired to walk or going further afield.

We met a couple who had stayed for a month and found that buying point to point tickets worked well for them.
progol is offline  
May 16th, 2017, 05:34 AM
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Aha, Annhig, that was part of a pickpocket routine. The big basher distracts you while the little old lady next to you does the dip. You probably had nothing loose to lose that time.>>

you may well be right, AJP, and I hadn't thought of that, except it was the little old lady who was doing the distracting and if she was a decoy, she had missed her vocation as she should have been on the stage!

As for being dipped, I always use a money belt in Rome [with the business part of it hidden beneath my waistband] so I would not have been an obvious target.
annhig is offline  
May 16th, 2017, 05:42 AM
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If you have a smart phone the buses should be easy. The maps app on my Android phone shows me where to find the correct bus stop, tells me which bus to take, when it will arrive, how much it will cost, and lets me follow the route so I know when to get off. It is also good with trains and metros, although it doesn't understand ferries.
thursdaysd is offline  
May 16th, 2017, 07:46 AM
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I was able to figure out the buses with just a map I bought at Termini station. The system is really easy if you have a map.

I had been to Rome many times before using any buses or trams, and once I did, I was really sorry I hadn't invested 5 minutes previously to look at a bus map. It enabled me to see a lot more of Rome.

Romans riding the bus with you are typically very kind about alerting you to when to get off at your stop you aren't sure. Just show them on a map which stop you want. They'll help you.

It's true that are great many of the main attractions of Rome are "walkable." Rome is not London. But it's also true that most people will not find using a bus map confusing, and it can be a comfortable way to get back to your hotel or somewhere else if it is hot or raining or you are tired.
frencharmoire is offline  
May 16th, 2017, 10:21 AM
Original Poster
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Thank you! I appreciate all of the information. I feel a little more confident about giving public transportation a try.

We are staying the Boscolo Exedra Roma (near the Roma Termini) station. So I know a number of sites are within a 40 - 50 minute walking distance. It really is just if we get tired or the weather is bad we would need transportation.
Miki2621 is offline  
May 16th, 2017, 10:55 AM
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Helpful information, thanks!
Saraho is offline  
May 16th, 2017, 11:04 AM
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FWIW, we get an hotel close to the things we want to see and walk a lot, but take a taxi to and from the airport. We did venture into Rome in our rental car last time--because my spouse refused to drive with me to the airport to return the car. Got into a ZTL and received a ticket in due course.

Rome is pretty compact and it's easy to walk most everywhere. Except stay off the tufa paving because it can be hell on your feet.
dwdvagamundo is offline  

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