Florence is a walkable city for the most part. Although since you will be walking a lot and ALL DAY LONG, sometimes it is nice to ride the public transportation to give you feet a break. Florence has a great bus system called ATAF that you can rely on when you want to sit and gaze at the scenery as it zooms past you. The newest bit of transportation is called the Tramvia. Line 1 travels from SMN train station to Scandicci. In the next few years there will be 2 other lines built to accomodate the population in the neighborhoods of il Romito and Gavinana. Knowing how the Italians talk and work, these lines won’t be done in the next few years. Keep your eyes peeled just in case, though. :)
The bus routes of Florence have been reorganized since Piazza del Duomo became pedestrian only in October 2009. Most if not all of the buses pass through Piazza San Marco as it is now paired with Piazza della Stazione as one of the busiest piazze.
Before getting on the bus, it is recommended to purchase the ticket beforehand.
Stay alert for pickpocketers.
ATAF sells tickets that need to be validated each time you ride. You can buy bus tickets at any tabaccheria(tabacchi shop), bar, cafe, or at the ATAF bus station office. As I mentioned in this post the ATAF website is very helpful when trying to find the correct bus to take to your destination in the city of Florence. *If you are transferring to another bus within the 90 min window of your valid ticket then you don’t have to stamp it again.*
There are many different types of tickets you can buy:
-1 ride for 90 minutes (un biglietto) is €1,20.
-4 ride for 90 minutes(un multi-plu) is €4,70.
-Electronic Cards– 10 rides, 90 minute rides (Carta AGILE, €10,00), 21 rides, 90 minute rides (Carta AGILE, €20,00), 35 rides, 90 minute rides (Carta AGILE € 30,00). You can venture on and off any bus in the city in the alloted 90 minutes without stamping another. **All Carta AGILE can be used on the Tramvia as well**
-24-hour ticket is €5,00 and can only be used by one person. The customer’s first name and last name must be written on the ticket at the moment of validation. You must validate only on the first ride.
-3-day ticket is €12,00 and can only be used by one person. The customer’s first name and last name must be written on the ticket at the moment of validation. You must validate only on the first ride. Valid until midnight on the 3rd day after validation.
To validate a ticket on the bus:
- Approach the ticket validation machine once you enter the bus.
- Decipher which kind of ticket you have, 1 ride or Carta AGILE.
- For 1 ride, 4 ride, etc, you will stamp the ticket at the bottom of the machine where it says: BIGLIETTO-TICKET
- For the Carta AGILE, you will touch/wave your card at the top of the machine where is says: CONTACTLESS CARD
Make sure on your 1 ride, 4 ride tickets there is a stamp with the date and time on it. On the Carta AGILE, hit the button INFO first and then touch/wave the card over the CONTACTLESS CARD again. It will show how many tickets are left, when the ticket you JUST validated lasts until. It will read in Italian and then English.
Since you are using the same tickets for the TRAMVIA, there will be a similar ticket validation machine inside each tram where you can validate your ticket. It is newer than the one pictured above.
How to ride–
- ALWAYS validate your ticket upon entering the bus.
- Enter the bus in the front and back doors(It says ENTRATA). Exit out the middle doors(It says USCITA).
- To wave the bus down to stop where you are waiting, just lift your hand up in the air like you are hailing a cab.
- To ask the bus driver to stop at your bus stop, simply push one of the red buttons in the bus. When you hear a bell and a light starts blinking on the sign above the USCITA reading FERMATA PRENOTA, you have succeeded.
- For traveling to the beach or other city outside of the city center(if not reachable by ATAF buses) use the trains.
- Do give up your seats to seniors and mothers traveling with children.
- Don’t run away from the Bus Police, they will catch you.
- Do hold on tight when riding in a crowded bus. Otherwise you might be bumping into people.
- Don’t talk loudly on your cell phone, it is annoying.
- Do ask kindly to pass through people to exit the bus by saying “Permesso“.
- Don’t buy a ticket on board if you can help it, the bus driver is on a schedule. Also be aware that the bus driver won’t be fishing for change if you give him a €5.
- Do say “Grazie” and smile at the bus driver when you board the bus to say ‘thanks for picking me up’, perhaps it might brighten his or her day. :)
- Don’t leave your purse or backpack unzipped, there are pickpockets that frequent the bus routes.