I love the public transport system. It’s incredibly cheap and well-connected, you just have to make sure to give yourself plenty of travel time.
The price of a single fare that is valid for 100 minutes, on any form of public transport within Rome is €1.50. However a monthly pass for unlimited travel within Rome, 24 hours a day, for Metro, Tram and bus is €35. Even though this is incredibly cheap, it gets even better. A yearly ticket of unlimited travel for Metro, Tram and bus is €250.
Depending on your ISEE it’s possible to get this further reduced to €160 for an annual ticket. Coming from a country where transport is ludicrously expensive (€1500 a year for bus alone!) the prices in Rome are incredible. The buses run 24 hours a day, there are 3 metro lines, and several tram lines ultimately connecting all of Rome.
The metro during the week (Sunday to Thursday) runs from 5am until 11:30pm, while on Friday and Saturday night continues on until 01:30am. The trams also run quite late averaging at around 12:30am daily.
There are however three downsides to public transport in Rome that I have to be honest about. The buses are always late. Always. You will get lucky sometimes, but it’s probably the bus that was scheduled beforehand that is showing up at that time. I’m not joking, buses are very unreliable, but in a metropolitan city like Rome, after you experience the nightmare of traffic you will understand why.
There is a monthly transportation strike, in which metros will not operate during other than peak hours, and maybe 1 out of 10 buses are running. The greatest mystery of my life in Rome is “What is ATAC striking for?” (ATAC Is the transportation service in Rome). I have asked every Italian I have ever met on my journey, and no one knows why they are striking. Higher pay? Fewer Hours? Union rights? Who knows.
Rome is one of the most touristic cities in the world, welcoming over 4.2 million visitors a year. This in addition to an already incredible 3.5 Million population means that any form of transport during tourist season or peak hours is packed. I am not exaggerating when I say you have to push yourself on to a bus or metro to have a chance of getting on. It’s busy. Really, really, really busy.
All in all though, I believe the price that you pay for the monthly and yearly tickets is a bargain. Sure the buses are late and packed, but you can travel 24 hours a day from any part of Rome to another guaranteed, for essentially just over 20 euro a month.
To be able to get a monthly or yearly ticket you need to go to an ATAC office (I would recommend the one in Termini as it’s the most central one). After taking a number and talking to a member of staff you can submit an application form along with your picture and payment to receive a personalised travel-pass, allowing you to zip around the city at free will.