Getting from Here to There: Rome’s Public Transport

Travel Tips, What's New — By Erica Firpo on August 27, 2010 at 1:38 pm

First and most important to learn is that ATAC Rome’s public transportation means buses and trams.  Yes, there are two metro (underground) lines but more territory can be covered via tram and bus.  Sorry, New Yorkers and Londoners.  Buses crisscross the city in fleets of diesel and electric, large, XL and mini, while modern and vintage trams course the city at a relaxed gait.


Finding a bus, tram or metro stop is easy.  Look for the tall poles with yellow signs or the M for metropolitana, that will usually lead you to stairwell or tunnel.  Bus and Tram stops pepper the city with yellow signs listing bus number and all stops.  Remember:  Buses, metros and trams will only stop at designated stops and nothing else.

Payment system

The Biglietto is your ticket to ride, and tickets must be purchased in advance.  Tickets can be found at Metro and Train stations, tabaccaio (tabaccanist) and newspaper chiosks.

  • For 1 euro (prices subject to change), the standard ticket allows you to ride for to 75 minutes.
  • A Day Pass can be purchased for 4 euro, are valid for an unlimited amount of journeys and expire at midnight.
  • A 3-Day Pass is purchased for 11 euro, allows for unlimited travel and expires at midnight of Day 3.
  • A week-long pass is purchased for 16 euro, allows for unlimited travel and expires at midnight of Day 7.
  • Stamp the ticket in the yellow machine immediately upon entering bus or tram and save your ticket.  Spontaneous ticket checks are performed on public transportation and you will be fined.
  • Metro riders stamp tickets at entry gates and must retain tickets. Tickets are only valid for one journey (unless otherwise specified).

Etiquette and How to Ride

  • Public transport etiquette means leaving the “courtesy seats” located at the front of buses and near tram/metro doors open for pregnant women, parents with small children, seniors and people with disabilities.  And always give up your seat to those in need.
  • Wait for everyone to exit before entering bus, tram or metro.
  • Do not stand by the doors if it is not your stop.
  • Do not ring the stop (fermata) bells incessantly.  Know your bus stop (fermata) and be sure to press the bell well in advance.
  • Help people on and off the bus.
  • Do not put your hands on or touch anyone.
  • Maintain your space and be aware of other passengers. 
  • Keep all bags close and be aware of pickpockets.
  • Note:  Metro stations (Spagna, Termini, Colosseo) tend to be crowded and full of the best pickpockets.  Except crowds and chaos, you may have to push to get on or off but make sure to stay behind the yellow line while waiting for the metro.  For stairs and escalators, stay to the right if you are not in a rush.

Smart phone users may want to download Roma Bus which will give you waiting times in real time.

Photos by Erica Firpo, EsaurimentoCronico and Andresnomak

Tags: Rome, tips, transportation, Travel Tips


  • Arwa says:

    We were in Rome last year. The city has a convenient and affordable public transport system, more so because we purchased the Roma Pass. Thanks for sharing these tips – is a 3-day pass is better than a Roma Pass?

  • Erica Firpo says:

    The Roma Pass is a great option to choose because in addition to three days of unlimited public transportation, card holders are given free entrance to 2 museums, and then discounted entrances to all other museums for the remaining days. The cost difference is 14 euro– worth it, considering a single entrance to the Forum/Colosseum is 12 euro.


Get Trackback URL