Rome: Rome’s public transport network, including buses, metro and trams, were completely free to commuters on Saturday, September 17.
The initiative, announced by the capital’s mayor Roberto Gualtieri, was part of the 2022 edition of European Mobility Week – 16-22 September.
For the duration of the open day on 17 September, commuters in Rome were able to access the entire ATAC public transport system without having to buy tickets.
Novelties on the day included the pedestrianisation of the central Via del Corso, between Piazza Venezia and Largo Chigi, from 09.00 to 20.30 on Saturday.
On Sunday, the stretch of Via Appia Antica between Porta S. Sebastiano and Via Cecilia Metella will also be completely closed to traffic from 09.00 to 18.00.
The mayor said the initiative is designed to “promote the use of local public transport and spread the culture of sustainable mobility” and that the city is working “to achieve a real mobility revolution, reconnecting our neighbourhoods and making Rome a more sustainable and liveable city.”
The city’s transport councillor Eugenio Patané said the open day is aimed primarily at those who do not usually travel by bus, metro or tram, describing it as an important step in encouraging the use of local public transport.
The announcement drew scepticism on social media however, with commentators suggesting that for many of Rome’s commuters “every day is an open day”, amid claims of a perceived widespread practice of fare dodging.
Earlier this summer the mayor raised the prospect of “free or almost free” public transport in the capital, saying it would be of “concrete help” to low-income workers and pensioners as well as “making a contribution to the fight against climate change”.
On 1 September Italy launched a €60 public transport bonus for students, workers and pensioners with an income of less than €35,000.
More than half a million vouchers were issued in the first week of the scheme, according to Italian news reports.