Public Transportation in Rome - Prepare to Become a Gladiator
Updated: May 10
Public transportation is probably the biggest problem in Rome today. Some joke public transportation system did not change much from Ancient Rome times. This is, partially, the reason Romans are late in 9 cases out of 10, so do not blame them.
If you try to find a schedule for buses or trams, do not bother. It does not exist. So, the best way to understand when your bus might come is to simply go to Google Maps and see when the bus is expected. Although this does not guarantee that your bus will arrive on time, at least it might give you some estimation.
Tickets for buses and trams
Bus and tram tickets are physically purchased from Tabacchi shops and some of those shops do not accept credit cards or NFC payments. Only cash. We recently discovered an app called MyCicero which solves lots of problems for you and allows you to buy numerous types of tickets (one-time, daily, weekly, monthly, etc.) for Rome and not only, and avoid cash-based transaction. So far this is the only alternative.
Metro is the most reliable and affordable type of transportation in Rome. Although it does not cover the entire city, as it is limited to two main lines crossing each other in Termini, and some shorter lines/branches, but it still does the job. Majority of main attractions can be reached by metro.
Short-term car rental
If you are familiar with Share Now (former Car2Go), it is available in Rome too. They charge you per minute, but in all cases it is much more affordable than taxi. The good thing about this type of rental is that fuel, parking and basic insurance are included into the fee. So, you only unlock the car with your phone and drive. If you are not registered with Share Now yet, you will have to go and physically register for the first time, showing your driving license.
There is also a local alternative to Share Now called Enjoy. It belongs to Italian oil and gas giant Eni, they mostly use cool Fiat 500 vehicles.
Caveat: most of the city is covered by these services, but not 100%. You can reach Rome from both airports (Fiumicino and Ciampino) by Share Now and Enjoy and vice versa.
Uber and alternatives
Uber certainly works in Rome and it is mostly represented by luxury Mercedes vehicles. Therefore, it is a bit more expensive than regular taxis. An alternative to Uber is Free Now (former MyTaxi), more affordable and less posh.
Regular car rental
If you want a car for a couple of days, look no further than here. This unique page will compare all possible scenarios for any vehicle that you want to rent and will give you the lowest and most convenient option.
Different types of electric scooters are available in Rome for rent. You only have to wait until the streets of Rome are available for those scooters. But jokes aside, you can rent different scooters from different brands by simply scanning the QR code or going to the website on the scooter. Please note that they might not be available in the suburbs of the city and you might have to get back to park the scooter within the designated area.
Official website for Rome's public transportation service is here