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Transport For Members

How to use Milan’s public transport

Giampietro Vianello
Giampietro Vianello - [email protected]
How to use Milan’s public transport
Public transport in Milan is efficient, reliable and fairly cheap. Photo by Miguel MEDINA / AFP

Whether you’re moving to Milan or just visiting, getting to grips with the city's public transport system will be one of your first priorities.

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Public transport in Milan is efficient, reliable and relatively cheap. 

However, navigating the dense network of trams, buses and metro lines criss-crossing the city may not be easy at first.

Here’s a guide to help you get to grips with Milan’s public transport system.

Overview

Milan’s urban area is serviced by five metro lines (M1, M2, M3, M4, M5), over 130 bus routes and 17 tram lines.

A new section of the M4 line (also known locally as linea blu, or 'blue line') is currently under construction and is expected to be fully operational by late 2024. Once completed, the line will connect the south-western Lorenteggio district with Linate Airport in the east passing through the city centre.

Metro map, Milan

All metro lines and stops in Milan. Source: ATM Milano

All of these services are conveniently managed by a single operator: ATM (Azienda Trasporti Milanesi). This means that a single ticket or pass will allow you to hop on any given means of transport in the city and freely switch from one to the other without additional costs, provided, of course, that you haven’t exceeded your ticket’s validity time. 

Aside from your ticket’s duration, you should also always pay attention to the city’s fare zones. 

Standard tickets and passes only cover the first three zones (Mi1 to Mi3), so a journey to any location outside of those zones (Mi4 to Mi9) requires a different ticket or the addition of a supplementary fare to your pass (tariffa integrativa). 

Be advised: travelling on the wrong ticket will cost you dearly as fines for transgressors start at 120 euros. Also, ticket inspectors in Milan can be fairly unreasonable.

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Tickets and passes 

ATM offers a wide range of tickets and passes to customers, so you’ll never be short on options. 

Standard single ticket (zones Mi1-Mi3): A single ticket is valid for 90 minutes and allows for unlimited journeys within the given time window and, of course, only within the relevant fare zones. Each ticket costs 2.20 euros.

Daily ticket (zones Mi1-Mi3): A daily ticket will get you unlimited journeys within a 24-hour window for just 7.60 euros. The time window starts when first validating the ticket.

Fare zones in Milan

Fare zones in Milan, from Mi1 to Mi9. Source: ATM Milano

Three-day ticket (zones Mi1-Mi3): A three-day ticket will cost you 15.50 euros. Just like for daily tickets, the time window starts when validating for the first time.

10-ticket bundle: A 10-ticket bundle will set you back 19.50 euros. Each ticket is valid for 90 minutes. 

Monthly and annual passes: While tickets are the best option for visitors, getting a monthly or yearly pass would be the best option for a resident. 

Monthly passes for Milan’s urban area cost 39 euros, whereas annual urban passes go for 330 euros. In both cases, a number of discounts are available for under-27s, low-income residents and the elderly.

It’s worth noting that, unlike standard tickets, monthly or yearly passes must be loaded onto a personal ATM travel card. To get one, you’ll have to submit a request through the ATM website and then ask for the card to be delivered to your address or pick it up at one of the available metro stations. 

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Where and how can I buy tickets?

From tickets to travel cards to contactless payments, there’s no shortage of ways to pay your public transport fare in Milan.

Single tickets

Though there are plans to fully replace them with new rechargeable smart cards by the end of the year, single paper tickets are still around in some stations in Milan. 

The best way to get single tickets is from a self-service machine at your nearest metro station – card payments are accepted – though you can also find them at a number of edicole (newsagents) or tabacchini (tobacco stores) across the city. A full list of authorised sellers is available here.

Milan, metro

A passenger waits for a train at the Duomo underground station in Milan in April 2023. Photo by GABRIEL BOUYS / AFP

You’re meant to validate your ticket every time you switch to a different means of transport. Also, keep in mind that when using the metro you’ll need the ticket to both get in and out of the underground, so make sure you don’t lose it during the journey. 

RicaricaMI card

All types of tickets except monthly or yearly passes can be loaded onto a RicaricaMI travel card. 

The card can be bought at any ATM point in the city or from any authorised seller. 

This is a good alternative to single tickets, not least because you’ll only have to tap it against the relevant card reader to validate it.

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ATM app

The quickest (and possibly the easiest) way to get a ticket is through the ATM Milano app.

No registration is required and you can pay for tickets with your credit card or PayPal.

After validating your ticket, a QR code will appear on your screen and you’ll have to scan this to get through the metro barriers. Scanning isn’t required on buses and trams. 

The app can be downloaded here

Contactless

All metro and surface lines allow travellers to pay their fare via a contactless bank card – Mastercard, Visa, American Express, Maestro e VPay are all accepted – or other contactless devices (phone, smart watch, etc.).

You'll always be charged the cheapest available fare (find out more about this here) and there are no extra costs or commissions.

ATM recommends that people use the same card (or device) to tap in and out of metro stations so as to avoid being charged twice. 

Airport travel

Bus 73 and the M4 metro line connect central Milan to Linate Airport. In both cases, a standard single ticket will be enough for the journey.

There are other ways to get to Linate, including the Linate Shuttle and several Autostradale coaches, but these are not managed by ATM so you’ll have to get your tickets elsewhere.

As for Malpensa, all services between central Milan and the airport are managed by companies other than ATM. 

However, prices are still very affordable: the Malpensa Express costs 13 euros, whereas a one-way journey on the Malpensa Shuttle is 10 euros.

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Comments (2)

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Elizabeth 2024/03/13 20:22
Note that when using contactless credit card for the Metro, you must sign out, even if the gates are open. Failure to do so results in an upcharge. (Learned from experience)
Anonymous 2023/01/16 15:18
Thanks for the information. And I'm hoping we might also see an in-depth instructional article on how to use the TabNet application. For me - in Florence - I've tried using it for purchasing extra-urban bus tickets and can't seem to get it to work. I'm aware you can't use it unless you have an Italian phone, and I have one. But I'm always stymied and can only get so far before it all a goes awry. The online instructions are vague and seem incomplete. Is there a step or two I'm missing? A breadcrumb, step-by-step instruction would really make my life easier. Grazie!

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