Welcome to the ultimate guide of Public transport in Milan, Italy.
This article on the public transport in Milan, is not only for the expats who have relocated into Italy, but also for any potential visitors.
If you have read my cost of living article of Milan, by now you would be familiar on how expensive Milan is. So, one has to be extra smart to save money and still live the life one love to live.
Moving around in Milan, or anywhere in Europe could be expensive if you are not familiar with the public transport in respective cities you visit.
You will end up shelling a lot of money for the Taxi if not having a good understanding o
So, here is my post, to help you to master the public transport in Milan.
Note: I have framed this article with Milan as a reference, but still, most of the cities in Italy follows the same pattern.
Milan is a well connected city and the whole of Milan can be explored with the public transports.
Opting for the public transport in Milan is not only the green way of commute or environmental friendly, but also lighter on your pockets.
If an action is going to be good for us and this environment, is it not our duty to master that action and implement it?
Here you go, let us get into the details.
Getting into Milan from Airport
I know many people who spend as high as 100 Euro for commuting to/from Airport from/to Milan. It is normal for people to assume that the best and easy way to commute to an Airport is by Taxi.
But, you will be surprised that there is not only a much cheaper option to commute between Milan City & Airport, but also easy & comfortable one.
A taxi ride from anywhere in Milan to Malpensa Airport or vice-versa should cost a flat 95 Euro as per official fare as announced by the Milan Comune. But, some taxi drivers are greedy and will demand you to pay what is shown on the meter. And it could easily be around 120-140 Euro depending on where you reach in Milan.
Yes, I myself have faced overcharging, especially when returning from Airport to Milan. Unaware in the initial period, I have also given the same amount of money. Later, I started to insist on the driver about the law, and they do not argue much. It is just a simple try from their side to see if they get lucky.
Economical Public Transport
Finally, I figured out that taking the Train or the Airport Bus was a better option especially when you are traveling light.
Milan has three airports Malpensa, Linate & Orio al Serio.
While Malpensa Airport has both bus & Train connectivity, there is only Bus connectivity the other two. Both Milan’s City Central Station & Porta Garibaldi is the hub from where the trains & bus services are operated.
There are multiple bus operators with almost same price now. There are good frequency that there are no chances that you do not get a ticket to go to the Airport.
You should find one bus leaving at least every 15-20 mins from the station.
Malpensa Shuttle to Malpensa Airport from City will cost you 16 Euro for a round trip.
There is also an Airbus that is operated between City & Linate Airport that could cost 9 Euro for a round trip.
There are works to connect Linate Airport to city with Metro, and work is under progress.
You can also take the Malpensa Express from Milan Central or the Porta Garibaldi station to Malpensa Airport.
Malpensa express costs 13 Euro for one way, and 20 Euro for a return trip if the return is within 30 days. On peak hours, I prefer to take the train to avoid any unexpected traffics.
The train from Porta Garibaldi station takes little less about 40 minutes to reach the airport. And the train from City Central station takes 50 minutes. Both station have a frequency of 30 minutes for subsequent trains.
Tip: Are you family of 4 with the kids between 4 to 17 years? You can buy the Malpensa Family ticket costing 33 Euro for return trip.
Getting around Milan
One can find all kinds of transport connecting every corner of the City, Milan. All operated by the single major operator called ATM (Azienda Trasporti Milanesi). So, a single ticket will entitle you to commute in all sort of transport.
Note: The zone and ticket information is updated in 2019
Starting from July 2019, Milan has changed or rather expanded its service with different tariffs and zones. The new Integrated Fare System extends the coverage of the zones with a bit of raise in cost in base ticket.
To give an example, there is no separate ticket for reaching the Rho Fiera Milano from anywhere in Milan. Previously, one need to purchase a 2.50 Euro ticket, since it was considered outside the urban limit.
Now, a single trip ticket to travel anywhere within Milan should cost you 2 euro. And it is valid for max of 90 minutes from first validation.
Also, kids below 10 years travel free with the adult. Kids up
The new ATM Tickets can now be used for unlimited rides in not just the Bus/trams/Light rails but also the Metro, within the stipulated 90 minutes of validity.
Validate your tickets
When using the subway/metro network, you cannot miss validating the ticket since you need to pass through the gate that needs to be opened with the ticket.
But, if taking a bus or tram, it is your duty to make sure that you validate it.
In every bus or tram, you will find a red box with place and time on the display. Insert your ticket (Show it near if it is the electronic card) and it will be validated.
Always validate your ticket. Keep in mind that no amount of convincing will be considered by the officials and you will end up paying fine for sure.
The bus/tram operates with stop on demand policy. So, make sure that you press the stop button to intimate the driver to stop in the stop you need to get off from the bus/tram.
Types of Tickets
All public transport in Milan can be accessed with the same ticket.
- Single trip ticket: The 3 zone ticket is valid for 90 minutes from the first validation
- 10 trip tickets: You can purchase a block of 10 tickets, but these tickets cannot be used in Trenord trains. This is also valid for 90 minutes.
- One day ticket: This is valid for 24 hours from the first validation, without limit to the number of journeys in Metro, Tram, and buses. If you are visiting Milan for a day, I would recommend this one.
- 3 days ticket: This is valid for 3 consecutive days from the day of the first validation until the end of the service on the third day, without limit to the number of journeys.
- Weekly travel card: This is valid from Monday to Sunday of the same week until the end of the service of Sunday, without limit to the number of journeys.
- Monthly travel card: Valid for one calendar month for an unlimited number of journeys.
- Annual travel card: Valid for twelve consecutive calendar months for an unlimited number of journeys.
All tickets can be purchased from the red automated vending machines. All these machines are multi-lingual, so you can find English in all places. If still not comfortable, you can approach the Tabacchi shops in and around the Metro/Bus stations.
And most importantly, all the public transport in Milan are disable friendly with very minimal exceptions.
For a quick and hassle-free
Metro runs from early morning 6 to midnight. But outside this regular service hours, we have night service bus running on the ground. In other words, the metro service is almost 24 hours in Milan.
Remember, within the Milan area, you can use this ticket to travel also in the regional train operated by Trenord.
You can carry your bikes in the Metro without any extra cost. But this is not allowed during peak hours [7am to 10:30am & 4pm to 8pm] in weekdays.
On weekends and holidays, it is allowed from start and end of the service.
There are few exceptions to this during the Christmas and New year period.
Milan is most environmental friendly city in Italy. And they make every effort to reduce the carbon foot-print in the city. So, driving in your car in the center is not possible in many places. But do not worry, you have all it connected by bus and tram.
Milan is slowly phasing out the conventional fuel bus, and moving towards Bio fuel & electric bus.
There are two bus that circulates around the city, Milan – 90 & 91, that runs in circular direction around Milan. One clockwise & other anti-clockwise. These bus, for example have overhead pantograph and runs mostly on the electric power.
Most of bus routes operate from early morning to late midnight. After 10pm, many of the routes are stopped. And for these routes, there are Radio bus is operated at regular intervals till 2am. These run with same route numbers but with a Q-prefix.
These bus uses the same ticket as the regular bus travels.
Light Rail or Tram
If taking the metro is faster for your commute, sometime it would be well worth taking the slower trams. Especially in the downtown.
Why the slow trams?
Because you will get a glimpse of the city from a different perspective. You will be amazed on how the city has left the green untouched for the tracks of the tram and still managed to connect all corners of the city.
BikeMi – Bike Sharing
As I mentioned, Milan is very keen in saving the environment in the city, and hence they promote all type of green transport.
You can carry your own bike in the metro as described in the previous section. But do not worry if you have no bike. You have a wonderful way to rent a bike at any metro stations or other plenty of locations.
This is done by the bike sharing program called BikeMi.
BikeMi is a bike sharing program which helps people to use it for short trips from the Metro station to their office or other places. If you buy the annual subscription, it is free for first 30 minutes.
Each subsequent hours will be charged with 50 cents per hour until a max of 4 hours. And every hours after the 4th hour is charged at 2 Euro per hour.
Please note that, you will be charged a hefty fine of 150 Euro if the bike is not returned within 24 hours of renting it.
With the new Integrated Fare System I mentioned above, now you can have the subscription for BikeMi in the ATM card itself and there by relieve yourself from the hassle of carrying multiple cards.
This service can be used all 365 days in the year from 7am to 1am.
Forgot to exercise or if you have complaints about no time to exercise, get on the Bike!
- Make sure you download the ATM app for mobile. This will help you by showing the bus routes on the map depending on the location you stand. You will find it very handy.
- Another option is to download the
moovitapp on mobile. This app works for all of Italy and you can set the city of your resident. Very easy to use the app.
- The 3 days ticket will be economical for a visitor planning a few days of visit to Milan.
- If you are with a kid of younger than 10 years, they can travel free with you in all of Italy.
- Technology and Smartphone go hand in hand, why not use it wisely? Keep offline maps of Google maps, will come handy.
I spend every effort to make sure that the information I provide in here is up-to-date. So, in case you see any discrepancies, please feel free to let me know in comments.