Friday, March 21, 2014


Public transport, as Modicans would be the first to admit, does not work well in this town and I have often lamented the fact that, whilst I can get a bus from Modica Bassa to Catania and arrive with no trouble in less than two hours, it sometimes takes almost as long to get from the Sorda district of Modica where I live to Modica Bassa in the first place.

Therefore, whenever I go to Catania, I feel as if I'm in paradise as soon as I see a city bus. It feels normal! But oh, dear, what is going on? It seems that the Catania bus company is not doing well, the reason being that over 60% of its passengers do not bother to purchase tickets and a further 30% of those who are fined for this omission do not pay that, either.  The problem, it is reported, is widespread in southern Italy but less so in the north, where only 30% of passengers habitually travel without tickets. This, we are told, is not because northern Italians are more honest, but is due to a basic mistrust of bus services among southerners, dating back to a time when the service offered was, indeed, poor, even in large cities like Catania.

In order to combat the problem, more ticket inspections are promised in Catania from April but I would like to suggest another solution: make the system for buying tickets easier! Granted, it is mostly local people who use the city's buses but a stranger or a tourist is likely to be very perplexed at the lack of information about where to buy tickets and it is not obvious to someone from another country that you can buy them in most bars and tobacconists.

Once I found myself stranded on the outskirts of Catania and needed to get into the city at a time of day when everything was closed. I boarded a hopeful-looking bus but, being British, became so terrified of an imminent ticket inspection [despite the driver's assurances that the inspectors don't work between 1 and 4 pm] that I got off three miles from my destination and walked.

Make the ticket-purchasing points more obvious, Catania - and it would help enormously if they were actually open as well!

The Hollies - Bus Stop


Jenny Woolf said...

I am often amazed at how badly organised public transport is, not just in the matter of buying tickets but in connections Sigh.

Liz Hinds said...

In Rome we struggled with buses, not so much buying tickets - we'd been told where we had to buy them - but wondering what to do with them when you got on!

Welshcakes Limoncello said...

Hi, Jenny. Yes, and not only in Italy! Hi, Liz. Yesd, it is not clear if you're not used to the system!

Anne in Oxfordshire said...

I know how to use buses in France and the trains :-) but one thing I do know is VALIDATE your tickets for trains before you get on .

I know in Paris you can use one of your Carnet tickets and put it in a machine on the bus, you can use them for the metro too.

Betty said...

Just had to tell you...yesterday I googled my old Catania address and pulled it up on Google maps. The building looks pretty much the same with an amusement park right across the street. The amusement park was there in 1969! It was fun to see it again.

Caramella said...

Three miles! You must have been exhausted. Here in Rome we never know whether the bus will come or not, it's a gamble.

Whispering Walls said...

Let's hope Renzi puts public transport high on his agenda.

Welshcakes Limoncello said...

Hi, Anne. Yes, you have to validate your tickets once you're on the bus. Hi, Betty. That must have been great fun! Hi, Caramella. Yes, I was worn out! It was a hot day, too. Let's hope so, WW.


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