If you are uncomfortable heading into a Tabacchi shop and trying to purchase a bus ticket, there is another option. All over Rome, ATAC ticket kiosks are being placed. You’ll always see these in EVERY metro station… but now they are being installed at many of the larger bus stops. These new kiosks replace the older, far less reliable units – which always seemed to TAKE your money and NOT give you a ticket. If the kiosk is functioning – power on – then you will get a ticket! Here is a step-by-step introduction to buying a bus or metro ticket… and avoiding having to head to that Tabacchi shop!
Above is an example of an ATAC ticket kiosk. Tickets from this machine are good on the bus, metro, trams, Regionale trains inside the Rome metro area, and the Met.Ro train lines. For more info on those tickets and where you can use them, see our posting on Tickets for the Bus, Metro, Trams, & Met.Ro Trains. The kiosk pictured above is located in a metro station but you will also find these in the streets of Rome. There are “English” directions posted on the kiosk – note “ticket machine” labeled on the top of the machine!
Close-up of the layout of the ticketing kiosk.
Selecting an Alternative Language
The above photo is a close-up of the “monitor” screen on the machine. On the bottom left of this screen you see a British flag, followed by the French, German, and Spanish flags… These are the language selection options. To select a different language, push the button on the machine to the left of these flags. If you do not select a language at this point in the purchase process, the remainder of your transactions would be completed in Italian.
Now you have a choice of the language you want… If it’s English, push the top button, to the right of the English arrow!
Selecting the Type of Ticket To Purchase
If you selected English your entire transaction will be in English. After you have selected the language, this screen pops up. Here you have the four different types of tickets you can purchase at this kiosk.They are the BIT, BIG, CIS, and the BTI.
The BIT is the Biglietto Integrato a Tempo ticket.The BIT costs €1.50 and is good for 100 minutes from the initial validation (effective May 25, 2012). The BIT tickets can be used on public transport within Rome which includes buses, trams, trolley buses, Cotral coaches, on the metro lines A and B, on Met.Ro regional trains: Rome–Lido, Rome–Viterbo, Rome–Pantano, and on Trenitalia Regional Trains (only in the Municipality of Rome and for one journey only, in one direction only, traveling second class).
The BIG is the Biglietto Integrato Giornaliero ticket. The BIG cost is €6 (effective May 25, 2012) and is good for unlimited travel until midnight of the day you validated the ticket. The BIG tickets can be used on public transport within Rome the same way as the BIT
The CIS is the Carta Integrata Settimanale ticket. The CIS cost is €24 (effective May 25, 2012) and is good for SEVEN DAYS of unlimited travel until midnight of the seventh day from when you validated the ticket. The CIS tickets can be used in the same way as the BIG and BTI tickets.
The BTI is the Biglietto Turistico Integratoanale. The BTI cost is €16.50 (effective May 25, 2012) and is good for THREE DAYS of unlimited travel until midnight of the third day from when you validated the ticket. The BTI tickets can be used in the same way as the BIG, BTI, and CIS tickets. Again, for more info on the types of tickets available, see Tickets for the Bus, Metro, Trams, & Met.Ro Trains.
Now you would select the type of ticket you want by pushing the button the the right of your ticket choice.
Selecting the Number of Tickets to Purchase
If you choose the BIT button, which costs a Euro, this is the screen you would see. (Note – the price for the BIT changes to €1.50 effective May 25, 2012). If you wanted MORE THAN ONE BIT ticket, just push the button to the right of the + 1 Ticket Arrow (bottom right) and it will ADD another ticket…. keep pushing until you have the quantity you need!
Paying For Your Tickets
NOW VERY IMPORTANT... On the top of the screen you can see a message that says, “Maximum Change 4.00 €.” Do not put a €20 bill in this machine for a €1.50 ticket – you will only get back €4 in change. So it always helps to have smaller bills (or even coin) when you are going to one of these machines.
As you insert money, the amount you have put into the machine will be listed. Above, I am buying a €1 BIT ticket and I have inserted a €2 coin into the machine. You can see the €2 next to the AMOUNT INSERTED line. This way you will always know if you’ve put enough money into the kiosk.
If you select a BIG (Biglietto Integrato Giornaliero) ticket, the per unit price – as shown above – would be €4 – (Again, prices will change effective May 25, 2012)
If you select a CIS (Carta Integrata Settimanale) ticket, the per unit price – as shown above – would be €16. (Again, prices will change effective May 25, 2012)
Once you have finished selecting the type and number of tickets you would like it’s time to pay for them. Looking at the picture of the machine above, you can deposit coins in the RED circled slot. You can enter bills in the BLUE circled slot.
Coins and bills can be entered in any combination – and remember, as you are entering them the amount WILL be displayed on the screen (as shown in my €2 example above). So you will always know what the machine has accepted and how much more to put in. If your bank note is wrinkled or torn – or the machine just does not like it – it will be kicked back to you in the GREEN slot.
You can put the bills in either way and either side facing up or down. These machines will greedily snatch your bill. So far I have NEVER lost money in one of these kiosks – a far cry from the units a couple of years ago. DO REMEMBER, you can only get back €4 in change!
Retrieving Your Tickets
Once you have met all the “financial requirements” the machine will start printing tickets. The tickets will be printed individually so if you buy 4 the message above might say, “Printing 1 of 4.” When all your tickets are printed and dropped into the BIGLIETTO RESTO bin (see above picture, just to the left of the GREEN circle) then your change (in coin) will also fall into this bin. MAKE SURE to get ALL your tickets and ALL your change before leaving. In many areas, “folks” will swoop in, under the premise of using the kiosk, to grab your change and/or remaining tickets. DO NOT leave without checking the bin!
And that’s it – very simple! Once you buy your tickets you DO NOT have to use them immediately. In fact, the tickets are good until your first validation. So you can hang on to these for a few days… leave town… and come back and use them then. When you go into the metro, these tickets will be validated as you go through the turnstiles.
Here’s a brief 30 second video from the folks at Romeforvisitors.com showing a purchase at one of the kiosks. Note how you insert the coins and slide the “lever” up.
For many folks, you will buy these tickets in a metro station, just before you run to hop on the metro trains. In fact, you may see lines of folks at these kiosks in many of the busier metro stations. On the bus or tram, you will have to manually validate your tickets in one of the yellow boxes. For more info on that, check out Bus Riding in Rome! Now that you’ve got your tickets , you’re ready to go use the transportation system in Rome – Good Luck!
Header: ATAC kiosk machines – Photo by Wikimedia Commons
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