I am writing to inform you of a serious ambiguity in the ATAC and Trenitalia monthly pass literature as it relates to airport travel. Currently, the usage restrictions for the monthly pass read:
Where can I use it?
Within the territory of Rome:
– on buses, trams and trolleybuses;
– on Cotral buses (urban route);
– on Metro Lines;
– on Regional Trains: Trenitalia (2nd class only), Roma-Lido, Termini-Centocelle and Roma-Viterbo (urban route).
This ticket may not be used for the following bus/train connections:
– Cotral line Roma Tiburtina/Termini – Fiumicino Airport;
– Trenitalia non-stop connection Roma Termini – Fiumicino Airport.
Already, ‘the territory of Rome’ is unclear:
- “Territory” is confusing, especially for people not from Rome, because while some areas, like the airports, are within the Città Metropolitana di Roma, they are outside Roma Capitale. These are just two possible interpretations of many.
- Many lines go significantly farther than others they parallel within the fare zone, meaning there is no single administrative boundary which acts as the fare zone.
- No map showing the territory area is linked from the usage page.
- The only official map I can find shows the text of the last stop within the Rome territory as red on each line. This is useless when printed in black and white, and much harder to quickly understand than the international standards: different shades of grey or different colored backgrounds for each zone
The Rome map with confusing fare zone notation:
The London Underground map with shades of grey notation:
The Swiss Rail map with colored zone notation:
Additionally, the list of lines the pass may not be used on provides a false sense that using the pass on any other transit is acceptable. If the Roma-Viterbo line has the note “(urban route),” why doesn’t Trenitalia have it as well, since it also exits the same fare zone? If the non-stop connection between Termini and Fiumicino is mentioned, why not mention the FR1 train connecting similar points, trains doing the same to Ciampino, and other buses and trains exiting the territory of Rome fare zone? Again this should have a link to a less ambiguous map of the fare zone.
Finally, when arriving at Fiumicino airport passengers are greeted by faregates ensuring virtually 100% correct fare payment, so there is no reason to fine confused riders who cannot exit the faregates anyway. Fare enforcement fines must be higher than the normal fare to compensate for potential trips where passengers do not see fare inspectors and therefore could evade the fare. In the case of Fiumicino, there is virtually no possibility of fare evasion because of the fare gates, so confused riders should have to pay only the normal fare to exit.
This is especially important because arriving at the airport could be the last interaction passengers have with Trenitalia and ATAC, so unnecessary fines might sour those passengers’ feelings about the service. I received a fine for this confusion on September 12, 2019 and would have felt this way as well if I wasn’t planning to enter the public transit profession in the future, especially because I had researched whether the pass would work for multiple hours the night before.
Below is a potentially improved version of the usage restrictions, with links (shown as underlines) to improved territory maps on each line which discusses fare zones:
Where can I use it?
Within the territory of Rome fare zone:
– on buses, trams and trolleybuses
– on Cotral buses (within the Rome fare zone)
– on Metro Lines
– on Regional Trains: Trenitalia (2nd class only; within the Rome fare zone), Roma-Lido (entire line), Termini-Centocelle (entire line) and Roma-Viterbo (within the Rome fare zone)
This ticket may not be used for trains and buses leaving the territory of Rome fare zone, including all trains and buses to both Fiumicino and Ciampino airports.
Thank you for your attention. I would be open to discussing this via email. Feel free to contact me or forward this message to anyone who might find it useful.
Additionally, I wonder if the fine I received could be waived for the reasons outlined above.
Penn State University; Community and Economic Development