Travelling around Rome
It is very easy to get into the Italian capital city of Rome with numerous direct flights connecting it to most of the major cities not only in Europe but all around the world. Once you are in the city, the comprehensive system of public transport in Rome will make it pretty simple for you to get around the city.
Rome is served by a fantastic underground railway system that will help you reach most of the major tourist destinations around the city. Designed in the shape of an X, the Rome Metro system in the city has two lines, A and B, with a new branch line B1 being developed as an extension. The lines intersect at the Roma Termini which is the central station in the city. There is also an important bus terminus in front of this station so that you can travel to other places if you wish to.
The extensive network of buses and trams in Rome also comes in handy for commuting around the city. Being a city that is spread over a vast area, touring Rome and all of its major tourist attractions is not a feasible option. If you wish to travel to other cities around Italy, train services can be found at the Termini station.
Public transport in Rome, describing the lot: Let us now take a look at the comprehensive list of public transportation in the city and what it offers to the tourists and commuters alike.
At present, the underground metro service in Rome features only two lines, A and B, which intersect at the Termini station. This is also the hub for public transport in the city. A new line is under construction but the inordinate delay that has extended over a decade has only compounded the public transit scenario in the city. You will notice that the metro service misses most of the city center of Rome and even after the new line subsequently makes an appearance, coverage across the city won’t improve a great deal. Travelling on this mode of transport is not as pleasant as in other European cities such as Paris Metro or London Underground (Tube) . While most of the stations are unkempt, the system overall is faced with a crippling overcrowding situation. Graffiti is another issue the system has to deal with some of the trains being so hard hit that it becomes seemingly impossible to see through the windows.
Speed happens to be the only saving grace of the metro network. If you destination is covered by the system, then travelling from A to B is best done on this mode of transport. Moreover, some of the major tourist attractions around the city are also well served by the metro network. So if you intend to visit the Spanish Steps or the Colosseum, there are metro stations for these places. Also, places such as St. Peter’s Square and Vatican Museum are a mere five minutes walking distance from the closest stations. As the system struggles to keep up with public demand, overcrowding is something you should expect on your travels even during non-peak hours. If you happen to get a seat, consider it to be nothing more than an unexpected bonus.
The public bus system in Rome runs an extremely frequent and comprehensive service starting from the early hours and running late into the night. A night service further complements this system with services being run on the core routes of the city. The major bus terminus is in front of the Termini station, the hub of accommodation and transportation in the capital. The public buses mostly serve the purpose of feeder services to train and subway station while also making trips on very short routes. However, if you plan to travel to the ancient centers of the city that are not served by the Metro or other railway networks, then the bus is the only form of transport. In order to make the narrow alleyways in this part of the city further accessible while also not giving scope to pollution, the transport agency in Rome has started operating electric buses to better serve commuters while preserving the historical heritage of the region.
Commuter Rail and tram services in Rome
The overground rail transport in Rome comprises the urban and suburban lines in and around the city, and the tramway network. There is also an express service that runs to the Fiumicino Airport. The present tram service in the city is a pale shadow of what was once the largest tram network in the country. The present fragmented structure is not strong enough to serve as the backbone of public transport in Rome. Porta Maggiore serves as the key node of the network serving as the terminal for as many as four of the six tram routes in the city. While you won’t be able to cover much of the tourist attractions in Rome, travelling on one of the six tram routes (2, 3, 5, 8, 14 and 19 remain active) will let you enjoy a piece of the city’s preserved and vaunted heritage.
Taxi Service in Rome
Taxi drivers in Rome are as good or as bad as that of any other city around the world. While some will try and wring out every last penny from your pocket, others will go easy considering the fact that you are a tourist. In order to minimise the negative possibility, ensure that you board a licensed taxi. These are the ones colored in yellow or white with the front door being labelled with the letters SPQR. Also ensure that you travel on the metered price and not by some prearranged rate. You are likely to fail if you try to hail a taxi in the city. You either need to telephone for one or wait at a taxi rank which can be found at numerous locations all across the central districts of the city. Please note that if you call for a taxi, the meter is immediately switched on and you are required to pay for the time from which the driver has received your call.
Conclusion: As has been mentioned already, Rome is too big a city to cover on foot while cycling is not much of an option. The city center features a maze of cobbled streets and steep-sloping roads which are not conducive for cycling. Additionally, the traffic scenario is nothing short of being a nightmare. Sundays are seemingly better for going on a ride through this area on your cycle as the place gets closed to traffic. Keep a map handy if you wish to pedal around the city as it shows the exact cycling paths around Rome. Else, it is always advisable that you travel on the public transport system for getting around the city and visiting its many places of attraction.