Is Venice really the world’s priciest commuter city?

A report compiled by B2B supplier Expert Market has labelled Venice the "worst offender" when it comes to extortionate public transport costs.

Is Venice really the world’s priciest commuter city?
One of the city's water buses. Photo: Luis Villa del Campo

The report compared the cost of commuting in over 50 cities worldwide, giving Venice the dubious honour of being named the world's most expensive city for commuting.

It calculated that Venetians spend a whopping 26 percent of their wages each months on commuting  – a much higher figure than in other cities: commuters in New York pay just four percent.

The study calculated the cost of commuting as a percentage of monthly salaries using 2015 income data from Numbeo and fares of a one-day public transport pass. 

There's no denying that tourist haven Venice takes advantage of its beauty spot status by charging premium prices for hotels or drinks in the city centre, something which risks pricing out the locals.

Karoline Steckley, an American expat living in Trieste, said the city was quickly becoming a commuter town for Venice.

“I know people who commute to Venice – it is a 1.5-hour train ride from Trieste. They tend to concentrate their work week into three days or so in Venice and the rest from home,” she said.

However, Steckley added that plenty of people still managed to live in Venice. “It can be done either way,” she added.

One blogger living in Venice told The Local: “Venetian public transportation is very expensive. A one way ticket on a public water boat (vaporetto) has gone up this year to €7.50 euro.”

“Venetians walk a lot!” She laughed but also pointed out that locals can make use of a €37 monthly pass, allowing unlimited use of the vaporetti and some local buses and trams.

When The Local contacted Hello Venice, the city’s public transport provider, they explained that the €20 daily fare used in Expert Market's calculations was “not for locals”, and that a different travel card, the Venezia Unica pass, is available for “frequent users” of the city's public transport and offers different monthly subscriptions, starting at €37.

An annual pass can be purchased for just €370, making the cost per day just over €1. Furthermore, elderly residents can benefit from a free or discounted annual travel card, depending on their income. 

With the Venezia Unica pass, a single journey is just €1.50, less than a quarter of the €7.50 it costs for those visiting the city. This would mean that commuters making a return journey each day using the pass would spend closer to a much more reasonable three percent of the average salary.

The Local was told that the tourist passes offer additional benefits such as discounted entry to museums – which can save you a fortune if you're visiting.

The Venezia Unica card can be used over a five-year period and costs €10 for Venice residents, €20 for those in the Veneto region, and €50 for non-locals.  If you're visiting the beautiful city, it could be a worthwhile investment.

Whatever you do, avoid one way tickets and day passes, or Venice really is an incredibly expensive commuter city.

Member comments

Log in here to leave a comment.
Become a Member to leave a comment.


‘Painful’ – is Paris Charles de Gaulle airport really that bad?

Following a survey that said Paris Charles de Gaulle airport was the best in Europe, we asked Local readers what they thought...

'Painful' - is Paris Charles de Gaulle airport really that bad?

Recently, Paris Charles de Gaulle was voted the best airport in Europe by passengers.

The 2022 World Airport Awards, based on customer satisfaction surveys between September 2021 and May 2022, listed the best airport on the planet as Doha, while Paris’s main airport came in at number 6 – the highest entry for a European airport – one place above Munich. 

READ ALSO Paris Charles de Gaulle voted best airport in Europe by passengers

Given CDG’s long-standing reputation doesn’t quite match what the World Airport Awards survey said – in 2009 it was rated the second-worst airport in the world, while in 2011 US site CNN judged it “the most hated airport in the world” – we wondered how accurate the survey could be.

So we asked readers of The Local for their opinion on their experience of Europe’s ‘best’ airport. 

Contrary to the World Airport Awards study, users erred towards the negative about the airport. A total 30.8 percent of Local readers – who had travelled through the airport in recent months – thought it was ‘terrible’, while another 33.3 percent agreed that it was ‘not great’ and had ‘some problems’.

But in total 12.8 percent of those who responded to our survey thought the airport was ‘brilliant’, and another 23.1 percent thought it ‘fine’, with ‘no major problems’.

So what are the problems with it?


One respondent asked a simple – and obvious – question: “Why are there so many terminal twos?”

Barney Lehrer added: “They should change the terminal number system.”

In fact, signage and directions – not to mention the sheer size of the place – were common complaints, as were onward travel options. 

Christine Charaudeau told us: “The signage is terrible. I’ve often followed signs that led to nowhere. Thankfully, I speak French and am familiar with the airport but for first time travellers … yikes!”

Edwin Walley added that it was, “impossible to get from point A to point B,”  as he described the logistics at the airport as the “worst in the world”.

And James Patterson had a piece of advice taken from another airport. “The signage could be better – they could take a cue from Heathrow in that regard.”

Anthony Schofield said: “Arriving by car/taxi is painful due to congestion and the walk from the skytrain to baggage claim seems interminable.”

Border control

Border control, too, was a cause for complaint. “The wait at the frontière is shameful,” Linda, who preferred to use just her first name, told us. “I waited one and a half hours standing, with a lot of old people.”

Sharon Dubble agreed. She wrote: “The wait time to navigate passport control and customs is abysmal!”

Deborah Mur, too, bemoaned the issue of, “the long, long wait to pass border control in Terminal E, especially at 6am after an overnight flight.”

Beth Van Hulst, meanwhile, pulled no punches with her estimation of border staff and the airport in general. “[It] takes forever to go through immigration, and staff deserve their grumpy reputation. Also, queuing is very unclear and people get blocked because the airport layout is not well designed.”

Jeff VanderWolk highlighted the, “inadequate staffing of immigration counters and security checkpoints”, while Karel Prinsloo had no time for the brusque attitudes among security and border personnel. “Officers at customs are so rude. I once confronted the commander about their terrible behaviour.  His response said it all: ‘We are not here to be nice’. Also the security personnel.”


One of the most-complained-about aspects is one that is not actually within the airport’s control – public transport connections.  

Mahesh Chaturvedula was just one of those to wonder about integrated travel systems in France, noting problems with the reliability of onward RER rail services, and access to the RER network from the terminal.

The airport is connected to the city via RER B, one of the capital’s notoriously slow and crowded suburban trains. Although there are plans to create a new high-speed service to the airport, this now won’t begin until after the 2024 Olympics.

Sekhar also called for, “more frequent trains from SNCF to different cities across France with respect to the international flight schedules.”

The good news

But it wasn’t all bad news for the airport, 35 percent of survey respondents said the airport had more positives than negatives, while a Twitter poll of local readers came out in favour of Charles de Gaulle.

Conceding that the airport is “too spread out”, Jim Lockard said it, “generally operates well; [and has] decent amenities for food and shopping”.

Declan Murphy was one of a number of respondents to praise the, “good services and hotels in terminals”, while Dean Millar – who last passed through Charles de Gaulle in October – said the, “signage is very good. [It is] easy to find my way around”.

He added: “Considering the size (very large) [of the airport] it is very well done.  So no complaints at all.”