Tuesday, October 27

Traveling to Rome - Bus Tickets

The longer I live here, the more I am stunned that it is the British who brought us Agatha Christie, James Bond, Sherlock Holmes and a whole panoply of other super sleuths, and not the Italians. I mean, the Brits give you careful instructions at every turn: 'Look Left', Mind the Gap, This Way To...It's no wonder they never found the Holy Grail - it wasn't spelled out for them. Life in Italy is nothing but a search for that Holy Grail inside the Labyrinth of King Minos. Just try to find the most simplest of info (like bus ticket prices) on any Italian website, and you'll see what I mean.
Stranded at Ciampino Airport (more on that another day), I came across a huge sign that indicated all of the tickets that one could purchase around town. It was the first I'd ever heard of it -- so, I immediately thought it was some joker who sold fake tickets to innocent victims (I'm joking, I'm joking).

So, to make things easier:

75 min. ticket = €1
(it's actually €1.20 to get out of Ciampino by bus, but that's only to inconvenience all the poor travelers who have no change and who are then forced to buy something at the bar or newsstand there in order to then get their ticket - on board, though).
Called BIT - Biglietto Integrato a Tempo - once again, an 'A' for marketing.

1 Day Ticket (good til midnight) = €4
Called BIG - Biglietto Integrato Giornaliero - getting better

3 Day Ticket (who knew?) = €11
Called BTI - Biglietto Turistico Integrato - just to confuse everyone.

7 Day Ticket = €16

Called CIS - Carta Integrata Settimanale - Lord only knows where you need to purchase them, and how many buses you must take to find them

I went online to verify the above amounts. True to form, on the official 'biglietti' page, it lists the 7 day ticket as valid for 3 days, due to the cut&paste job from the entry above...

But, this explanation was by far the richest:

Tickets are not sold on buses. In rare occasions, you'll find a machine at some bus stops. If it works, it surprises anyone with how complex a ticket sale can be with its encrypted initials and four languages. A better solution is to buy tickets at tobacco stores, cafès, and newspaper stands. Even so, not everyone sells them, so you might want to ask around. When you find them, they may carry the old tickets, or the new ones. Some metros and buses take the first type, others take the second one. They are planning to switch completely to the second type [this has been done, ndr]. The new high tech ticket crashes some validation machines, which might no longer react or may indicate that the memory is full... Some buses have both machines, which don't always work.
Fortunately, Romans did not organize the switch from national currencies to Euros.

I rest my case.

Tourist notes: Once you purchase a ticket, and some buses have little machines which spit them out, but, they're not always there or working, you must then go over to another machine and punch them in. I have known tourists who have used their first ticket for days on end, which in this case, would signify, 7 day pass = €1 !!!


Dave514 said...

What a wonderful adventure!

Now you too are adding to our experience of your blog by demanding a "word verification" before a comment can be submitted.

You need a trip back to the States.


Irreverent Italy said...

I hate that word verification, but I have a few Japanese spammers who are leaving hundreds of msgs on my past posts...Sorry.