Looking to get the best value out of your public transport tickets in Rome? We’ll talk you through the different passes available, looking at price, validity, and how to use them to help you find the right ticket for your trip.
Types of Rome Transport Passes
ATAC Weekly Pass
If you want unlimited use of the Eternal City’s public transport system – including the metro, buses, trams, and some urban trains – for a full week, this ATAC pass will give you exactly what you’re looking for.
Once validated, you can use the pass for a full seven days (until midnight on the final day). With this pass, you can use the metro and buses without having to worry about purchasing multiple tickets or rushing to buy one before you depart.
Please bear in mind that you would need to use public transport quite a bit for it to become a good value. With this single ticket and much of Rome’s historic centre very walkable, it’s unusual that the week-long pass earns its cost.
Rome’s best-value tourist pass has unlimited public transport use wrapped up in its ticket price. While you’re only able to choose between a two or three-day pass, you could pack a lot into those days. If you’re only in Rome for a weekend, it’s the perfect amount of time.
If you’re planning on visiting the attractions listed on the Roma Pass anyway, it’s really a no-brainer. You can purchase the pass online, but it’s easiest to pick one up from a tourist office in the city.
If the week pass is too long, but you still want the ease of unlimited use, a MetroBus pass may offer the perfect solution.
Like the week pass, unless you’re using public transport a lot – if you’re staying out of the centre, for instance – these are often not good value for money.
A single-use, BIT ticket is enough to cover most journeys in Rome, as it lasts for 100 minutes after validation (and very few trips across the city will take longer than that). You can even swap bus lines with the same ticket as long as you stay within the 100-minute time frame.
If the journey required it, you could get the metro and then a bus – though it’s important to remember once you leave the metro system altogether, you can’t get back in through the gate, even if you’re still within the validity period.
The BIT ticket is great value for money. You can use it on buses, trams, the metro, and some urban trains. As the main tourist sites are very walkable, many visitors will find that they use the transport system only once or twice a day at most; for these people, the BIT ticket is easily the best value.
It is, however, slightly more inconvenient than having a multi-day pass, as you will have to purchase multiple tickets, which may mean going out of your way to finding a Tabacchi shop – inconvenient if you’re rushing to catch a bus!
Where to Purchase?
As mentioned, metro stations, larger bus stops, and Tabacchi shops are good places to purchase tickets. Tabacchi shops are essentially newsagents marked with a ‘T’ sign. At metro stations, you can use a ticket machine or, if there’s one available, go to the ticket counter.
It’s important to remember that you can’t buy tickets onboard.
For the Roma Pass, look for any tourist information point. You can purchase a ticket online, but it makes getting your physical ticket a little more complicated.
What Means of Transport are Included?
Buses, trams, the metro, and some urban lines are included as part of the public transport network. Check the Atac website to confirm if you’re travelling outside the centre.
Can I ‘Tap and Go’ or Get Tickets On My Phone?
Contactless payments are increasingly common in major cities. Unfortunately, this trend hasn’t quite made it fully into Rome – it is an ancient city, after all! While you don’t have to pay in gold aureus, you can’t purchase tickets on buses and trams by tapping your card. It is an option on the metro, however; just don’t forget to tap out again on the gate as you leave.
E-tickets are another option, as you can buy tickets and passes through a B+ app like myCicero. This saves you the worry of having to rush to buy a ticket, and is easier to keep track of than a paper version!
How to Use
It’s not as simple as just tapping a card on the way in and out for most visitors in Rome – where there is ticket validity, there is room for confusion.
How to Activate and Validate Your Ticket?
We’ll focus first on the most commonly used ticket, BIT. Once validated, you can travel on public transport for 100 minutes.
It’s easiest on the metro, where simply passing through one of the turnstiles will validate your ticket. On buses and trams, look for a small yellow machine onboard; insert your ticket, and it will be stamped with a time, which means your ticket is now validated. If you have an e-ticket, a single ticket for the bus should be validated by reading a QR Code.
For other multi-day passes, you will still need to stamp them (or put them through a metro gate) to activate the pass. Once a pass is validated, you don’t need to validate it again each time you get on; just keep the pass with you, ready to show any inspectors if they get on.
The Roma Pass is valid from its first use (this can be the first attraction if it happened before you used public transport) and should be kept with you at all times, like the multi-day passes.
Tips for Using Rome Transport Passes
Here are a few tips on how to get the best out of the ticket you choose:
- Don’t overestimate the amount you will use it. Much of Rome is walkable, especially if you plan on staying in the historic centre. Don’t assume the week pass will be the best value if you only plan on seeing the major sights; you may use it a lot less than you expect!
- Always remember to validate. Your ticket won’t be checked on every journey, but inspections happen regularly. Just having a ticket isn’t enough to avoid a hefty fine – you have to validate it as well.
- Keep your pass somewhere safe. It may sound obvious, but it’s easy to let a small paper ticket fall out of your bag or accidentally leave it at your hotel if you’re using a pass over multiple days! A small cross-body bag is always a good idea, as it’s safer from pickpockets.
- Buy multiple single tickets at once. If you’re only planning on using BIT tickets (which is the best value option for most visitors), buy a few at once. Having a few tickets ready to go will save you from searching for a Tabacchi shop if you’re rushing to the bus.
- Roma Pass for new visitors. If you’ve never been to Rome before and plan on visiting the major sites, consider the Roma Pass. It may not be worthwhile for some seasoned visitors but is great value if you’re planning on going to the attractions anyway.