One of my favourite things about Rome is my bus pass. The 35 Euro a month travel card (that’s right London friends 35 EUROS to go ANYWHERE in Rome) covers all buses, all trams, all metro lines and all trains, including the 20km train ride to the sea which I take to work every day. Read it and weep. The coloured line at the bottom changes every month too, this month a very pretty sky blue. I like to collect them and use them as book marks, if only to see the months pass by. I’ve had 4 April cards so far.
Margaret Thatcher is often attributed as saying, “Any man who finds himself on a bus over the age of 30 can consider himself a failure in life.” Whether this famous quote was really said by Thatcher, I think the Italians must have been listening as the majority of us bus travellers are immigrants, women and old. Or mad. Any person who does finds themselves on a bus in Rome is liable to encounter at some point a person who is threatening to kill them, the driver or the world in general, or is scared that the world is out to kill them. It’s difficult to tell sometimes. Listening to such outbursts in a foreign language seems to make them even more disconcerting. Just for once I would like to get on a bus without someone shouting, “You’re all fucking idiots!” followed by “Fucking pieces of shit!” over and over. Is it me? Do I bring it on myself? Maybe Thatcher was right. But 35 Euros! And avoiding the nightmare that is driving and surviving in Rome. Public transport, still the best deal in town.