If you plan to visit Italy and stay there for a while, it is possible that, sooner or later, you’ll have to rely on Italian buses to move from one town to another.
So, knowing some sentences you can use when taking Italian buses can be very useful and can allow you to travel without any stress.
Italian buses don’t always work properly. Buses can be on time, early or late. You’ll never know. It’s a matter of luck.
Now that you know that a good dose of patience might be requested to use Italian buses, let’s start our Italian lesson.
THE BUS STOP
First things first. To take a bus you’ll first need to find a bus stop. The Italian word for bus stop is fermata dell’autobus/bus/pullman. Autobus, bus and pullman all mean the same thing, that’s to say bus.
If you don’t know where the nearest bus stop is you can ask:
Mi scusi, mi sa dire dov’è la fermata dell’autobus più vicina?
Excuse me, can you tell me where the nearest bus stop is?
However, remember that in Italy you generally have to buy your biglietto, ticket, before getting on a bus.
BUYING YOUR TICKET
To buy your bus ticket, you usually have to find a ticket office. In Italian ticket offices are called biglietterie.
If you don’t know where you can buy a bus ticket you can ask:
Mi scusi, sa dove posso comprare un biglietto?
Excuse me, can you tell me where I can buy a ticket?
Mi scusi, mi sa dire dov’è la biglietteria?
Excuse me, can you tell me where the ticket office is?
Once you get to the ticket office, you’ll ask for a ticket to your destination:
Un biglietto (dell’autobus) per Roma, per favore
A (bus) ticket for Rome, please
Good. Now you have your ticket and you know where the bus station is, so all you have to do is patiently wait for the bus.
ASKING QUESTIONS ABOUT THE BUS
If you’re not sure at what time the bus should pass, you can always ask:
Mi scusi, sa quando passa l’autobus per Roma
Excuse me, can you tell me at what time does the bus to Rome arrive?
Mi scusi, sa a che ora passa il 40?
Excuse me, can you tell me at what time does the bus number 40 arrive?
Once the bus arrives, remember that Italians don’t stand in line to get on it. They just move as fast as they can to try to get a seat. In the majority of the cases they won’t care if you arrived at the bus station before of them or if you’re an old lady, etc. Their target is getting a seat.
ON THE BUS
Well, you’re now on the bus – and maybe you’ve also managed to get a seat – the next thing you’ve to do is searching for the machine where you can stamp your ticket ans stamp it.
This passage is very very important because i controllori, ticket inspectors/controllers, can get on the bus whenever they feel like and ask to see your ticket. If you don’t have one, you’ll get a fine and, usually, need to get off the bus.
Now, the last thing you’ve to do is to be sure where you’ve to get off. To do so, you can ask one of the locals:
Mi scusi, mi può dire quando arriviamo al Colosseo?
Can you tell me when we get to the Colosseum?
Quante fermate mancano al Colosseo?
Can you tell me how many stops to the Colosseum?
One last thing. If the bus is particularly crowded and you happen to find yourself next to one of the bus doors, you might hear someone asking you “Scende? Or Deve scendere?” meaning “Are you getting off?”
This is just a routine question that people that have to get off the bus usually ask to be sure that people who are next the bus doors move away, so that they can actually get off the bus.
So, the answer required for such a question is either yes or no.
Have you ever taken Italian buses? Was it a good or a bad experience? Do you have any suggestion for future tourists?
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