Tuesday, 14 May 2013

More on Rome busses

In this post, I complained a bit about Rome's busses being somewhat unpredictable. Today's experience was even worse. In total, we spent 1 hour and 20 minutes in a 4 hour outing waiting for busses, including:

  • waiting 10 min for any one of 4 busses from our neigbourhood to Piazza Venezia (they all run 4 times an hour);
  • waiting 10 min at Piazza Venezia for any one of 4 busses heading our way. One drove past the clearly marked bus stop without stopping (he was not full), and waved, causing us to walk to the next stop where...
  • we waited 10 minutes, finally catching a bus that didn't go the route my 3 maps tell me it does (necessitating a 10 minute walk back to where we wanted to go);
  • waiting 25 minutes for another bus that ran every 15 minutes;
  • waiting 15 minutes for a bus that runs every 15 minutes, 5 minutes after watching the previous bus go by;
  • waiting 10 minutes for any one of 4 busses that run every 15 minutes to come.
If you're planning on being a tourist in Rome, don't plan on using busses. Buy all the maps and apps you want and the busses will go where they go, when they want, in unpredictable ways. the ATAC site's info in English sucks (perhaps the Italian stuff is good; hard to tell since the site adds cookies that make the Italian version inaccessible once you select English as the language). ATAC's trip planner is not reliable (despite numerous books and websites that tell you otherwise).

Plan on using busses and you will waste a lot of your precious time in Rome standing at bus stops (generally with nice views, but bus stops nonetheless). I saw backpackers today wait for 20 min for a bus to Termini, then abandon the wait and choose another route involving trams.

The trams run reliably and frequently. The metro runs reliably and frequently, though tends not to go where you want to go. Some busses run reliably and frequently too, but which ones are a mystery (based on today, the #3's pretty frequent. No idea where it goes, but 8 passed my bus stop in 25 minutes. The little electric 116 ran past me every 5 minutes the other day).

But generally, busses in Rome are a bad idea for a tourist. I wonder how they are for the natives.

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