Italy's regional bus network, often operated by private companies with motorcoach fleets, is extensive, although not as attractive an option as in other European countries, partly due to convenient train travel. Schedules are often drawn up with commuters and students in mind and may be sketchy on weekends. Regional bus companies often provide the only means (not including car travel) of getting to out-of-the-way places. Even when this isn't the case, buses can be faster and more direct than local trains, so it's a good idea to compare bus and train schedules; check at local tourist offices. SITA operates throughout Italy; Lazzi Eurolines operates in Tuscany and central Italy. Dolomiti Bus serves the Dolomites.
All major cities in Italy have urban bus service. It's inexpensive, and tickets may be purchased in blocks or as passes. Buses can become jammed during busy travel periods and rush hours.
Smoking isn't permitted, and both public and private buses offer only one class of service. Cleanliness and comfort levels are high on private motorcoaches, which have plenty of legroom, comfortable seats, and luggage storage, but no toilets. Private bus lines usually have a ticket office in town or allow you to pay when you board. When traveling on city buses, you must buy your ticket from a machine, newsstand, or tobacco shop and stamp it on board (although some city buses have ticket machines on board).
ATAC (Rome. 06/57003. www.atac.roma.it.)
ATAF (Stazione Centrale di Santa Maria Novella, Florence. 800/424500; 199/104245 From mobile phone. www.ataf.net.)
Dolomiti Bus (Via Col da Ren 14, Belluno. 0437/217111. www.dolomitibus.it.)
Lazzi (Via Mercadante 2, Florence. 0573/1937900. www.lazzi.it.)
BusItalia-Sita Nord (Viale dei Cadorna, 105, Florence. 055/47821. www.fsbusitalia.it.)
SitaSud (Putignano, Bari. 080/4052245. www.sitasudtrasporti.it.)
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