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Rome City Buses

How to get around Rome by ATAC public bus.

Rome city bus

ABOVE: A tourist snaps a photo of a No. 170 to Termini Station. INSET BELOW: An electric minibus near the Spanish Steps.

Buses are the mainstay of Rome's public transit network, with scores of routes crisscrossing the city and extending into outlying districts such as Lido di Ostia.  For route maps in PDF format, see the ATAC public-transit agency's map links.

Rome electric minibusCity bus stops are clearly marked, and city buses are easy to recognize: They're usually light grey or orange, with an ATAC logo on the side and large electronic destinations signs on the front. In additon to standard buses, ATAC has several "electric-powered routes" in the city center that use minibuses like the one in the small photo.

How to buy tickets

You must buy a ticket or tourist card (such as the Roma Pass) before you board a bus. For more information, see our Metrebus Tickets and Fares article.

How to ride buses

Riding an ATAC bus is simple. Get on at any door, then do one of the following:

  • If you're traveling with an unused Metrebus ticket, stamp it immediately in one of the machines near the doors. (Insert the ticket with the front facing you and the arrow pointing down.) Wait for the machine to stamp the ticket, then keep the ticket with you throughout the journey.

  • If you're traveling with a Roma Pass or another RFID (radio frequency identification) ticket, hold it against the electronic card reader's round yellow sensor and wait for the green light to flash.

Rome buses are often crowded (especially during morning and afternoon rush hours), so don't be surprised if you need to stand.

  • A standard BIT single-journey ticket is valid for 100 minutes of bus or tram travel after the ticket is stamped, with any number of bus changes.

  • If you're caught traveling with an unstamped or outdated ticket, you'll be subject to a fine of 50 plus the price of a ticket.

  • Some suburban lines, such as COTRAL and ATRAL routes, have their own tickets and pricing schemes. (The advice in this article is for ATAC municipal bus routes only.)

  • Watch out for pickpockets, especially on Line 64 (which connects Termini Station to the Vatican) and other bus routes that attract large numbers of tourists.

Related articles:
Metrebus Tickets and Fares
Rome Metro
Rome Trams

About the author:

Durant Imboden photo.Durant Imboden is a professional travel writer, book author, and editor who focuses on European cities and transportation.

After 4-1/2 years of covering European travel topics for, Durant and Cheryl Imboden co-founded Europe for Visitors (including Rome for Visitors) in 2001. The site has earned "Best of the Web" honors from Forbes and The Washington Post.

For more information, see About Europe for Visitors, press clippings, and reader testimonials.