I've just came back from my third holiday in Rome, and while I love the city, my experience was this time soured by transport operators.
My sister and I used the Terravision bus service (Termini - Ciampino Airport) for the second time on this trip. The first time was terrible (we bought tickets hours in advance, were never told anything about turning up to 'book' our seats, and very nearly missed our flight - staff were extremely rude) but we thought it might have been a one off.
So we went back and hoped it would be better this time around. I work as a manager in customer service and was very friendly and polite with the staff. Again we bought our tickets hours in advance, and knew this time to book although nobody notified us of this. I asked how long in advance I'd have to come to book the bus and she told me it would be 20 minutes. This was great, no problem. She circled the time of the bus I would take on my ticket, and also underlined the time I'd have to come to get a boarding pass. We paid for our ticket and came back 25 minutes before the next one.
I was very polite, again, and the man at the desk asked me which bus I wanted to go on (now or later?) I said the next one please. He threw me some yellow boarding passes (each bus has a different colour to easily identify booked passengers). As I went out of the building, the bus that was there was already gone, so I assumed I was booked on to the next one. As we talked to other passengers, we suspected we had the wrong tickets. The girl working getting passengers onto the buses outside was very unhelpful, she simply told me "this isn't your bus" and walked away. I saw her acting exactly the same, and rolling her eyes whenever customers tried to speak to her.
I went back and explained that the bus had actually left while I was talking to him the first time, and requested booking the next bus as that's what I had meant. He SHOUTED at me "I TOLD YOU IT WAS GOING NOW!!!" and genuinely threw 2 new boarding passes in my face for the bus I had meant to get and stormed off. I have never been treated like this in my life. Even if he thought I was wrong, is this normal behaviour? All of the staff seemed to consider this normal. His co-worker just smiled and me and said "bye :)". No apologies for the behaviour.
Not only were the buses 20 minutes off timetable, (we were travelling at a time when they were every 40 minutes), it seems being rude and unprofessional and surly is actually a requirement for work in Terravision. I cannot believe they can get away with this. My sister was also scammed by a taxi driver who insisted she only gave him a 5 euro note when she gave him a 20 until we got home and realised she was down money and that she never travelled with any 5 euro notes to begin with. We ended up paying 35 for a 5 minute taxi drive, and while she should have been more careful, these things really sour the experience and give Rome a bad name. There are desperate people living all around the area and these people are getting paid to be surly, they should feel lucky to have jobs in this climate.Edited: 06 June 2014, 23:37