Italian Transportation: What You Need to Know


Italian transportation is efficient, cheap, and quite easy to figure out ! However, there are a few tricky rules Italians have when taking transportation.  Here are just a few that you must know before you head off to catch your ride!


Taxi Locations:

Taxis are located near city centers or squares. They do not patrol the streets waiting to be flagged down.  You must walk to the nearest taxi station and wait in line to catch a cab.  Make sure you leave plenty of time to catch the cab.  Chances are, you won’t be the only one who needs a cab!
Always Validate Your Ticket:

On public busses in Italy, it is crucial for you to validate your ticket.  When you step on the bus, there is a small punching machine.  This machine will stamp the date and time that the ticket was validated.  The validation will be good for a certain amount of time, depending on which ticket you purchased.  If you do not validate your ticket, you can be charged by the local Police.  They will catch you!

When taking the train, keep an eye out for validation machines as well.  Before setting foot on the train, you must validate your ticket to show it was purchased for that ride.  On the train, the conductors come around and check for the validation.  If you do not have your ticket validated, you will be charged more money than you could ever expect!  So, validate that ticket!
Pay Attention to Assignments:

Italian trains are notorious for changing the tracks last minute.  You might check the departure screen, noting that your train is leaving from track 8.  You head on over to just find there is no train there.  With just a few minutes to spare you must run back to find the correct track.  Always pay attention to the track changes, and never assume your train is set on a specific track until it actually comes into the station!


Pay attention to the type of ticket you purchased:

Train tickets are strictly first class, or second class, depending on the purchase.  The side of the train cars will be labeled first and second class.  Pay attention to which car you get on before the conductors catch you in the wrong car!


Always Purchase a Ticket:

Police are notorious for patrolling the public busses.  When you get off at a local bus stop, don’t be surprised if you see a police standing at the local bus station.  They are waiting for the next drop off.  When the bus arrives, the officer checks every individual leaving the bus to ensure they have a valid ticket handy.  If they do not, you will be written up for a fine right then and there.  The fine costs more than all the tickets you can purchase for a month! So, make sure you get that ticket, and keep it handy!

Shannon Murphy is Senior at the University of Kentucky majoring in Political Science.  Shannon spent the Fall 2015 Semester in Florence Italy.