A Guide to Public Transportation in Rome
Having lived in Italy now for five months it’s safe to say that I have had a decent taste of la dolce vita. The food, the drink, the liveliness, the passion, and the history are just some of the finer things that this country offers in abundance. But, with all things, there are ups and there are downs, and generally speaking while the ups may be sparkly and fantastical, the downs tend to be a little rougher around the edges and not so enticing. And the downside quite clearly manifests’ itself in public transportation in Italy. Sometimes you need to take the bad in with the good. Without further adieu I present my compilation of tips and tricks for navigating the pitfalls of public transportation in Italy:
DO be sure to check every single ticket purchased for error. When buying multiple tickets carefully check all tickets and not only the first one. Failure to spot an error transfers the accountability to oneself. Or so they told me.
DON’T assume that persons working for a transportation company know anything about aspects of said company including how to buy tickets/where stops are/why your ticket is dated yesterday/why you were sold two tickets for a compartment that does not exist.
DO put aside any and all preconceived notions about public transportation schedules. Bring a book. Or two.
DO try to find the amusement in watching two identical buses taking the exact same route drive one behind the other while you wait an hour for your own.
DO assume that all trips using public transportation traversing 10kms will take approximately one hour and allow yourself to be pleasantly surprised by any result under that threshold.
DO try not to weep if said trip exceeds one hour…these things happen.
DO raise your hand as your bus approaches or sadly watch the elusive bus pass you by. However…
DO accept that the bus driver is very busy and important and may not have time to stop and pick you up.
DON’T be selfish. A driver’s got to eat. So, wait patiently in the bus while he goes to the bar to buy a sandwich.
DO remember that strikes happen. Usually every second or third Friday.
DO try to accept the fact that there is no rhyme or reasons to some things in life. For example, there is no rhyme or reason to why you'll wait a maximum of 5 minutes for a train on Lines A and B and all others lines could vary up to one hour for a simple inner city train station. There's also no rhyme or reason as to why the door of the bus may remain open while in motion and close when the bus stops, and nobody thinks to advise the driver...some things in life are just meant to be marvelled at.
DON’T pull that lever. On an overnight train where 95% of the buttons do not function/no longer function, it is safe to assume that a hand rest has not been implemented into the design of the train to assist you in raising and lowering yourself from your bunk bed. As such, it is best not to use the emergency lever to lower yourself from your bed in the middle of the night. HINT: If you begin to pull the lever, it will make a slight hissing sound. At this point it’s best to find another way to exit the bunk bed.
DO try not to cry. Turn that frustration into hysterical laughter; at the very least, you’ll burn more calories.
It's a little difficult at times to adjust ones expectation, but try your best and you just might enjoy the ride.