Moving around Bologna

Moving around Bologna

Tuesday, December 19th, 2017

I’ve never had a car or motorino (scooter) in Bologna but I did have a bicycle for awhile. It was just too much trouble to lock it up and unlock it plus it was hard on my butt so I sold it. But there are lots of ways to get around. I use buses a lot and taxis rarely. I always take taxis to and from the airport since with 2 suitcases it would be a real pain to take the bus. Also taxi prices are not that bad. There’s a number that I can send a text to with the address where I’m at and a taxi will usually show up within 5 or 6 minutes. Of course upon arriving at the airport there are always taxis. You can’t really flag down a taxi, you need to go to one of the taxi stands sprinkled around the city.

I take buses everywhere. Since I go for an extended period I usually have a monthly bus pass which costs 36 euros and gives you unlimited rides for a month.  There is an additional advantage of being able to just pass it in front of the little machine (macchinetta) on the bus. It uses RFID like a lot of such passes – the subway, trams and buses in the San Francisco area use the same system. I keep it inside my wallet and that inside my borsello (man bag) and just pass the bag in front of the machine. An alternative for shorter stays is a Citypass. It gives 10 rides for 12 euros. You validate for the bus rid when you dip it into the same little machine (it prints info about the ride on the back). For more than 1 person you can just dip it once for each person which can be really convenient. Both types of passes can be bought at almost any tabaccheria (they don’t just sell tobacco products). Woe be unto you if you fail to have a ticket when the controllers (controllori) get on the bus and ask to see everyone’s ticket. Once I was on a bus when a family of Germans (husband, wife and to teenage sons) were busted by the controllori. The wife was explaining in English to one controllore (whose English was minimal) that they didn’t know what to do. The fine is pretty stiff, something like 50 or 60 euros. I hope that he had mercy on them and only fined them for one ride rather than 4. Google maps can be very helpful in determining which bus to catch where and at what time and also transfers if needed. I have an app on my phone that tells me in real time when a bus is estimated to arrive at my stop.

Standard Bologna Bus

Articulated Bologna Bus – one I take often. The #13

Macchinette – White for cards, red to buy a one ride ticket.

Monthly bus pass

Bicycles are extremely popular in Bologna. It’s relatively flat and, being an old city, relatively small. People of all ages ride bicycles. Like any city theft is a common occurrence so a good lock is important. Waiting at a bus stop I saw some interesting riding but almost never had my phone ready. Once there was a guy with two kids, one on the front and the other behind. Yet another a young guy (he may not live to be old) riding with no hands down a main street while texting. By the way I never see any bicycle helmets except on people (almost always guys) and racing type of bikes on the weekends that are going for some serious cycling in the nearby hills.

A bunch of bicycles in the center

Part of a family in transit

Lots of “mature” people on bikes as well.

Of course the cell phone while riding

Motor-scooters are also quite popular. Traffic for private cars in the center is quite limited but motor-scooters and motorcycles are permitted along with bicycles. So you see a lot of them. It’s especially interesting to see someone (men and women both ride scooters a lot) with a cell phone stuck up on one side of the helmet so that they can ride and talk at the same time.

Motorscooters (motorini) are popular obviously

There are also the tourist buses. One kind is pretty common all over but another is, I think, pretty unique to Bologna. The latter one used to only go to San Luca but now they have another one almost identical that seems to make a tour of the city like the big red bus.

Tourist bus – empty on a rainy day

A stupid little tourist “train”

Well that’s all folks. Leave a comment if you’d like (I love comments) and subscribe if you’d like – I love that too.





2 Responses to “Moving around Bologna”

  1. Joy O'Neal Says:

    Thank you for another year of delightful stories. I always look forward to them! Have a sweet 2018, Joe!

  2. Joe Says:

    There’s yet another season after this one for stories. Stay tuned.

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