The Best Rome Public Transportation Guide in the Biz - Rome Hacks
Ash
Written by Ash

The Best Rome Public Transportation Guide in the Biz

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I’ve been taking Rome public transport all my life.

Even for a local like me the 1285 square km city can be daunting – we’re talking about one of the largest cities in Europe so it’s bound to be a challenge for tourists like you.

Luckily I’m going to give you all my knowledge so you can get around like a typical romano and leave all the stress for your commutes back home.

Sorry to remind you.

All aboard?

Rome Public Transport

Considering the amount of things to see in any top Rome itinerary you will certainly want to pack your holiday with as much sightseeing as possible. 

So stay with us and learn all you need to know for a perfect, stress free Roman holiday 🙂

And if you find any piece of information missing or you are still left with questions, we’re always ready to talk in the comments below.

The Metro

The fastest way to get around Rome is definitely by metro.

Although Rome has significantly less metro lines (only 3) than most big capitals, there are still a few things worth knowing about.

So please read our article on the Rome Metro where you’ll find all information on how to move and reach the main sights by metro.

Rome Buses: Lines, Schedule, and Hours

Owing to a lack of metro lines, Rome is covered by tons of bus lines so figuring them out may require you have a bit of experience – and more patience than I!

Finding bus stops is very easy: just look for the yellow signs which will give you all the info.

At the top of the sign you’ll normally find the name of the stop you’re at, followed by numbers of all the bus lines that you can get from here. The sign will also list all the stops along the bus lines.

There are different types of bus lines with different time tables: 

Letter U: the majority of buses running from 5:00 am to midnight.

Letter N: night buses that run from midnight to 5:00 am.

Letter X: express buses, that means that they have faster routes with less stops.

Unfortunately you won’t be able to find a complete map of the entire Rome bus network but there are websites and apps that can help you. 

For calculating routes you can use the official ATAC web site or download the apps Moovit (available for Android, iOS, and Windows) or Roma Bus (for Android and iOS).

Just enter your destination and starting point to find out the best route and suggested Rome public transport with detailed information on bus numbers and stops.

With ATAC there is an option to select a preferred type of transportation or time of the day. Obviously mind that the suggested route and transport can vary according to the time you have selected.  

On the same web page you can also find out the predicted arrival time of the bus you are waiting for and the number of stops it still needs to make before getting to you.

Finally ATAC offers real time updates on any change or service disruption.This is particularly useful in case of strikes which happen quite often in Rome (especially on Fridays) and make it very difficult to get around the city.

Remember to check in advance for potential strikes before your visit. 

Ready for the bad news now?

In Rome it’s impossible to predict bus waiting time and can easily vary between 5 to 30-40 minutes. If it seems it’s taking too long just remember… you’re having an authentic Roman experience 🙂

Tram

Rome’s trams are slower than buses but considerably more spacious.

Here are some of the main tram lines of the city:

Line 3: Connects Trastevere to Valle Giulia where you have some of Rome’s top museums like the National Etruscan Museum, GNAM, and Bioparco. It also stops at San Giovanni and Colosseum. 

Line 19: Goes from the Zona Universitaria to Piazza Risorgimento near the Vatican

Line 8: Connects Piazza Venezia to Trastevere.

Line 2: Connects Piazza del Popolo to MAXXI, Auditorium, and the Stadio Olimpico. 

To find your tram line you need to look out for the yellow sign posts.  

Information on Rome’s trams can be found on transport Apps and the ATAC website but, unlike buses, trams are not tracked.

It should be enough though knowing that they’re rather frequent especially at peak hours. 

ROME TRANSPORT TICKETS

ATAC is the company that manages public transport in Rome including metro, buses and trams.

A single ticket or pass can be used on all transportation.

Let’s take a look at the types of tickets available and at their prices. Children under the age of 10 travel for free on the Rome public transport network.

BIT €1.50

This is a single one way ticket on the metro or a timed ticket for buses.

In the second case you can take more than one bus with the same ticket, keeping in mind that it works for 100 minutes from the time of validation.

ROMA 24H €7.00

This ticket is valid for 24 hours (from the moment of validation) and allows unlimited trips on metro, buses, and trams.

If you activate it at 3:00 pm on Thursday it’ll be valid until 3:00 pm on Friday.

ROMA 48H €12.50

Same idea as above but with a 48 hour validity.

ROMA 72H €18.00

Same again but this time for 72 hours.

CIS €24.00

This is the weekly pass and works for 7 calendar days from the day of validation.

That means that it will expire at midnight on the 7th day regardless of what time you have validated it on day one. 

ROMA PASS

This is definitely a convenient option for tourists as it combines entrance to museums and archaeological sites and a pass for Rome public transport. 

Passes are valid for 48 or 72 hours and entitle you to unlimited trips on ATAC transport.

Where to Buy Tickets

You can buy tickets either at ticket offices or at the automatic machines both located inside the metro stations. Please mind that tickets cannot be purchased at bus stops nor on board.

However, you can buy them at kiosks, newsstands, and tobacco shops (Tabacchi in Italian) basically everywhere around the city. 

So remember that you always have to have a ticket or a pass with you before getting on a bus and that you have to validate it once on board.

Rome Taxis

Taxis in Rome are rather expensive and drivers are infamously known for overcharging both tourists and locals.

Here are some useful tips to avoid unpleasant surprises: 

Only go for the official white cabs with meter visible at the front of the car.

Before getting in make sure you can pay by card because that isn’t always the case.

If you need a taxi to pick you up, there are several taxi dispatchers you can call, the biggest one being Radiotaxi (phone number: +39 06 3570). 

Keep in mind though that this kind of service is ONLY IN ITALIAN.

If you aren’t quite ready yet for a phone call in Italian, you can download MyTaxi. 

It is an app available for Android and iPhone that allows you to order a taxi easily and straight to your location. The bonus? You’ll get €5.00 off your first trip.

Prices are the same as regular taxis ordered by phone but it gives you an estimated cost of the ride and, once on board, it tracks the route your driver is taking (so you can be sure he not taking the long way).

HOW TO BOOK WITH FREE NOW

To book a taxi in Rome via Free Now just follow the instructions below:

  • Download the app using the links above.
  • Indicate your personal details and payment methods: this way you won’t have to fool around with giving cash to the driver and there’s no chance they won’t know where it is since it’s connected to the GPS.
  • Under the “promo code” portion of the app insert the discount code “ashley.pil” to have a €5.00 discount on your first trip.
  • You’ll then need to insert your pickup and drop off points (just like Uber) and you’ll be quoted an estimate on the price.
  • Get in and enjoy the ride! You’ll be able to follow the journey progress on your phone.
  • You’ll be debited the price at the ride’s conclusion.

You can choose to pay with credit card, Paypal, or cash when you reach your destination.

Remember when you book a taxi by phone or MyTaxi the meter starts from the point the taxi was sent from! 

So the cheapest option would be to take a taxi from one of the many taxi ranks in the city. Some of the main places for finding taxis are:  Piazza Venezia, Largo Argentina, Piazza di Spagna, Vatican Museum (just in front of the museum),  Piazza del Popolo and obviously outside railway stations like Termini.

Taxi Rates

  • Minimum fare on weekdays from 6:00 am – 10:00 pm: €3.00
  • Minimum fare from 6:00 am – 10:00 pm: €4.50
  • Minimum fare at night time: €6.50
  • Rate per kilometre (Tariff 1): €1.10
  • Rate per kilometre (Tariff 2): €1.30
  • Rate per kilometre (Tariff 3): €1.60

Also keep in mind that if you have more than one piece of luggage per person, you will be charged 1 extra euro for each additional bag.

Just to give you an idea, a ride from Termini to the city center can cost you from €10.00 to €15.00, while if you are going to the Vatican you will pay around 25 euros.

Taxis to and from Rome Airport

The price for taxis between airports and city centre is set and not negotiable.

The journey to/ from Fiumicino costs €48.00 and Ciampino will run you €30.00 for up to four passengers and their suitcases.

You should never pay more than that!

Driving Around Rome

Getting around by private car is to some extent convenient and can make your life easier but there are a few things you need to consider before choosing to explore Rome by car.  

First of all you need to be aware that traffic at peak hours is going to slow you down and try your patience quite a bit. 

Besides that many main roads are closed to traffic during the day (between 8:00 am and 6:00 pm) and some nightlife areas like Trastevere and San Lorenzo are closed to traffic at night. 

The main restricted driving zones (ZTL in Italian) are near Termini (via Nazionale), Fori Imperiali, Piazza del Popolo, Via Veneto and Teatro Marcello. 

Parking

If you’re driving you’ll also have to think about parking.

Parking space is usually tricky to find and the majority of parking spaces in the city will cost you €1.20 per hour. Paid parking spaces are easily recognizable because they are marked out in blue while free ones are white.

You can pay for parking at the machines which are located on the street, normally not too far from the parking space. For that you may need to use coins as not all the machines accept cards.

Once you’ve paid leave the receipt on display on the dashboard of your car.

You can also download the app MyCicero which allows you to pay for parking with no receipt to display, just by inserting your license plate number and parking location.

Parking areas near the city centre can be found at Bocca della Verità and Circo Massimo. Flaminio is also good for parking because it’s not far from the Villa Borghese indoor parking.

At Verano there is a parking area which is free but sometimes very busy. It’s not exactly a central area but easily connected to the centre with a quick bus or tram ride. Also, here you can see Rome’s oldest university and Campo Verano . the biggest monumental cemetery in Italy.

Rental Cars and Car Sharing

If you are considering car rental in Rome then RentalCars is a good place to look. 

If you still like the idea of driving but want to avoid the hassle of traffic and parking then car sharing is your best bet. There are two car sharing companies in Rome: Enjoy and Car2Go.

For both of them you simply need to download the app and enter your driving licence and card details. Just mind thought that processing your licence can take a while so you may want to register a few days in advance. 

You will be charged by the minute (between 19 and 34 cents depending on the vehicle) and prices include free parking (also on paid parking spaces) and free access to restricted driving zones. 

With Enjoy you can also chose a 24 hour option for 50 euros

One last piece of advice: streets in Rome can be extremely narrow, so be careful while driving!

Renting a Scooter and Scooter Sharing

Riding a scooter in Rome is definitely a good idea and many locals do so because it simply makes life easier than a car and it would obviously make you Roman holiday adorably stereotypical 🙂  

If you want to rent a scooter for the whole stay you look at scooter sharing giants Cooltra. Here too you can get a discount by entering the code: ROMEHACKS.

All Aboard in the Comments for Custom Advice

My Rome transport guide may be thorough but perhaps I missed something?

If you’ve got any questions about visiting Rome please get at me in the comments below.

And don’t be afraid to join the Rome holiday discussion by first giving me a like on Facebook and then joining my group I’m Off to Rome – here you can ask any questions, air out grievances, and chat with fellow travellers.

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