City Transport, Rome

City Transport, Rome

It is very easy to get around Rome. It has an excellent public transportation system—efficient, and more importantly, safe. While there are pick pockets, one can avoid being victimized by them simply by staying alert and keeping valuables in a money belt or a secure bag.

The easiest system for tourists to use is the Metro, or Rome’s subway system. The tickets can be acquired through many ways—vending machines, bars, tabacchis, even bus stops. One can get a standard ticket (which is good for one subway ride or 70 minutes on the bus), tourist tickets, weekly tickets, or daily tickets that allow unlimited travel within a certain area. To use the tickets, one only has to validate them upon boarding.

The trains run every 10 minutes, from as early as 5:30 am until 11:30. This is very convenient for tourists. The only source of frustration is that there are no terminals near the historical center—mainly because the city wants to preserve the mosaic pavements and brick walls (many dating back over 2000 years) that lie underneath the ground.

Buses, on the other hand, run from 5:30 am to midnight, and have the added advantage of being equipped with handicapped facilities and wheelchair access. It is also easier to access Rome’s historic center. Aside from traditional buses, Rome also has electric buses that are ideal for exploring the smaller alleys and side streets. There are also night buses (identified by the owl on top of the bus stops).

It is also possible to get taxis. However, Rome’s taxi meter system is notoriously difficult to comprehend, and it is next to impossible to get a taxi by randomly hailing them on the street. One has to line up at the taxi stands, but even this can be a gamble at peak hours or at night. It is better to ask the hotel for a number of a taxi company and then arrange to be picked up at a particular place and time.

As for the metering system, the fee changes according to the day and time. For example, the cost starts at €2.33 from 7am-10pm Mon-Sat (excluding holidays); €4.91 from 10pm-7am every day; €3.36 from 7am-10pm Sundays and holidays. “Scatti” (clicks of the meter) in the city are €0.11 per 19.2 seconds. The only good news is that tipping the driver is not necessary if service is not excellent.

City Transport, Rome