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Buses in Rome

The bus lines cover the entire city. They can be crowded and can get stuck in traffic, but it still beats driving and looking for parking.

The vast majority of buses don't run on a schedule, so you never really know when they are showing up. In the historic center, you don't usually have to wait too long, unless you're tired and it's raining. There are a few buses, called Linea Esatta that run on a predetermined schedule. They usually only run during the week.

Getting On and Off

You get on the bus by the front or back doors and you get off by the middle doors. You'll see many people breaking this rule. Sometimes the front or back are so crowded, the only choice is to try the middle. Unless you have a pass, you'll need to stamp your ticket immediately.

Ring the buzzer to signal the driver to stop at the next bus stop for you to get off. And at times, while waiting at the bus stop, you will need to flag down a passing bus to get them to stop. Some stops are optional and they will only stop if you wave at them. This usually only applies to stops out of the center and when there aren't any other people at the bus stop.

If, as sometimes happens, the bus driver forgets to stop, even though you rang the buzzer, just call out "non si ferma?" or "c' la fermata". They also sometimes forget to open the doors for you to get off. In this case call out "pu aprire?" If you are at the back (or front) doors and need to get off but can't get to the central doors, call out "pu aprire dietro?" (or davanti?). They may or may not open these doors.

If the bus is crowded and you are trying to get to the doors, say "permesso" to get by. There are some stops where virtually everyone gets off, such as near metro stations. In this case a line (crowd) forms in front of the door. To make sure the person in front of you is getting off, say "Scende alla prossima?"

There are seats near the front of the bus that are reserved for the elderly, handicapped persons and pregnant women. It is also customary to offer your seat to the elderly or anyone who looks like they need to sit down.

Types of Buses

There are several types of buses in Rome.

Linea Urbana - The majority of Rome's buses fall into this category. They are orange and there are the old style and the new. The newer models have air conditioning, which can make a ride in the summer a little more pleasant. There is a saying that the windows that won't close during the winter (variation: when it is raining) are the same ones that won't open in the summer.

The newer ones also have more seats, though you will still be lucky to get one. Having more seats sometimes makes it harder to get to the doors to get off as there isn't much standing space.

Linea express - These are the express buses. They are the very long green buses and they don't stop at all bus stops. You'll have to ask which is the stop closest to where you are going, otherwise you might have to backtrack a bit. They run a little less frequently than the other buses. They have even numbers (20,40,60,80,90) and (usually) say Express.

There are also a few small electric buses that quietly zip around the small streets of the historic center.

Archeobus - this is the mini bus that takes you along the Appia Antica. The buses depart from Termini from 9:45am to 4:45pm. This requires a special ticket for the day and can get on and off as you like. The cost is 7.75 euro.

110 and 110 Open - these double decker buses takes you on a tour of Rome and you can get on and off at designated stops. In the Open version, you can soak up some sun as you see the sights. There are hostesses on board as well as audio-guides in 6 languages. The buses depart from the main train station from 9am to 11:30pm and take you to the Colosseum, Bocca della Verit, Piazza Venezia, Piazza Navona, the Vatican, the Trevi Fountain and via Veneto. This bus also require a special ticket. The cost is 13 euro and is valid for the entire day.

Bus Stops

Bus stops have yellow (sometimes white) signs with each bus line in a column on the sign. Each column will show all the stops for that line, with the current stop in a red rectangle. The type of bus will also be noted at the top: Express (stops infrequently), Urbano (normal), Notturno (night). Metro stops and train stations will also be noted.

At the bottom of each column, you'll find the hours for that bus line.

Sometimes bus stops need to be moved temporarily for various reasons. In that case, you'll find a round sign stating " la fermata stata spostata " (the stop has been moved). It will usually be ahead on the route and sometimes the sign will say how far. At the temporary stop, there will be a sign that usually just says fermata and sometimes the bus lines are written in by hand.

Some signs you might see at the bus stop

"The stop has been moved ahead."

You'll have to walk down the street to find the temporary stop.

"After 8pm, this stop moves to Corso Vittorio Emanuele."

This is a route change after a certain hour.

"After 8pm, this becomes the stop for buses 116T and 116 on Sundays."
This is a temporary bus stop. They can be difficult to spot.
One of the rare bus schedules. You'll see these for the Linea Esatta which runs on a schedule as well as the Notturno (night buses) that run after midnight.

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