August 25, 2015, 06:04 PM
Beware of Ataf
Watch out - not only do you have to validate your ticket which mine was - you must also write your name on it and be able to produce photo ID - caught out with 50 euro on spot fine - ejected from bus as were 3 other tourists - 2 of whom were marched to cashpoint. There was no mention of paying at a depot. Have a feeling that we may have all been conned - too late now though and the two guys netted 200 euros for 10 minutes work.
Otherwise really enjoyed the holiday
August 26, 2015, 11:18 AM
Pedrogus, what type of ATAF ticket did you buy? Only family tickets or multiple day passes (as well as Firenze Card holders) need to have a ticket with a name on them, and yes, in that case a photo ID is requested if tickets are checked.
Were the 3 other tourists caught without a ticket?
While I am very wary of ATAF as well, and DO want to make sure everyone knows how to use the system so they are not caught unawares, I also do not want to spread unnecessary panic here. You make it seem like everyone needs to put their name and a photo ID on their bus ticket when that is not the case, so I am asking for additional information to provide useful info. If anyone else buys the same pass/ticket as you, they will know a name has to be added to the ticket. There is a line there if it is needed, none if it isn't.
I am sorry it ruined a part of your holiday, so definitely if we spread more awareness of things to avoid, it would be a wonderful public service to continue to offer so others don't fall into the same trap!!
August 26, 2015, 06:34 PM
August 27, 2015, 12:20 PM
OK, to be honest, this is now sounding really quite weird/fishy to me.
You and the other English speaker had both validated your tickets? Despite you not having written your name on the ticket, if it was validated with the time and date it definitely was showing you were using it for the time you had bought it for and were using the bus system in good faith.
Do you have the ATAF citation you were given? Were they wearing ATAF name tags/badges? Did they give you a receipt showing payment was received?
While you CAN pay the ticket right up front, it is NOT obligatory!!! You have up to 15 days to go to the main ATAF office/window at the train station to pay it without adding any additional charges. You also have the RIGHT to contest the fine. I am writing this for all those others who have yet to come to Florence --- If you feel that the citation does not feel right, CONTEST it right then and there and DON'T PAY THE FINE!
What is sounding the fishiest to me is that they went with people to the ATMs to get paid!!!
It seems to me that these controllers were taking advantage that you were indeed visitors and would be willing to pay the fine even if it was a minor technicality... If you have the citation, I would scan it and send it along with a COMPLAINT to the main ATAF office. Like you've mentioned, if things were clearer up front to make sure there are no mistakes, and if mistakes are seen as such without being HARASSING, that all goes to the benefit of the city and to tourists so that their entire holiday goes off without a glitch!
The complaint form can be downloaded here:
and sent either by mail to:
Ataf Gestioni srl
V.le dei Mille, 115
Fax: 055-5650209 or email to: email@example.com
Make sure to describe the incident with time, date and all that you have written to us here. Also add the fact that the controllers felt like they were harassing tourists and not at all being helpful or courteous.
I am sorry you had to go through this, and to hear that it is a common practice - 4 people on one bus, and all tourists with tickets in hand, is indeed too many!
August 27, 2015, 07:01 PM
Thanks for the reply - I will contact Ataf as you suggest - can't download /print at moment, but will definately follow your advice.
The two Ataf "employees" - one approx 30ish, gave impression of being ex military/police the other older seemed embarassed and took little part in proceedings except in taking cash and handing over official looking receipt from duplicate pad, which I still have.
Just hope that if it is a scam then this may help put a stop to it, and if not it may alert Ataf about their inspectors being in need of some training in how to deal with tourists.
I will keep you informed of any developments
August 27, 2015, 07:12 PM
Yes, please update us when you can.
It actually sounds like they were legit but definitely one was having/loving his power and taking advantage of it. Sorry to hear the older man was not offering better advice or mode of operation, though.
In any case, you have also alerted us to some additional information to give out -- hoping more people find our site before they come on their visit so that they are better prepared, knowing of some things they might end up experiencing.
November 18, 2015, 06:26 PM
November 19, 2015, 04:49 PM
Thank you for coming back here and doing the update - even after 3 months!
I have to be honest and say I'm not surprised it took this long. Italian administrative-anything always takes too long.
The answer they have given you is quite bad from a customer service point of view --- they basically say that, because you paid the fine, they are closing the sanction against you.... and they are completely ignoring your complaint. Because you paid. They cite legal clauses to say that they are justified in handling it this way. It almost makes it seem that they would have paid more attention if you hadn't paid on the spot (but of course, they'd also be asking for additional late fees if you hadn't paid).
I'm sorry - wish I could offer more help here for your case. What we will do is get in touch with ATAF and see if they can provide a more clear answer as to what happened and to the procedure they follow, showing them this thread. I hope I can get in touch with someone who is willing to help.
June 30, 2016, 11:53 PM
Help and advise needed for ATAF incident.
Originally Posted by Lourdes
Hi, need a little advise as I've faced the same situation earlier today and the conductor fined a total of 8 tourists in the span of a few minutes! I really felt that this treatment I would like to appeal for a refund of the fine. Please see below my story:
My family and I was quite happy to visit Florence, until today where I almost got pickpocket not once but TWICE in the bus and technically got robbed under broad daylight by so called ATAF authorised conductors.
Before coming to Europe we've done our research and know that we MUST validate our bus tickets upon boarding the bus. Today (30.06.2016) at approx 6.03pm my family and I boarded the bus and immediately validated the bus ticket (attached photo), less than a minute later a conductor came on board and requested to check our tickets which we obliged. Upon handing over our tickets the conductor left the bus and went elsewhere and left not just my family but also another family of tourist confused as we did not know what is happening.
1 minute later, he came back up and demanded us to get off the bus immediately. Once we got down the bus, the conductor informed me and my family saying that we did not write our name on the bus ticket hence we will be fined 50 euros per person. We were not even aware that we had to write down our name as the past day we were here the only rule given from locals is that as long as we validate our tickets at the machine then we will not be fined.
Furthermore, in the ticket it specifically says: "Valid for 24 hours after validation. Enter your name in the space provided. Ticket is personal and not transferable. To be validated on boarding the first vehicle, retained intact until expiry time. To be shown on demand accompanied by an identity document."
In the above note(attached photo), there was NO mention that we are to be fined for not writing our names. Also, the bus reminders are to ask people to ensure that they have validated their ticket at the machine. Being a tourist who does not speak Italian this is very tough for us as we tried our level best to adhere to the local rules here but unfortunately the rules are not tourist friendly and were not explicitly explained to tourists especially to the ones that does not understand the language.
When speaking to the conductor, he demanded that I have a choice to pay the lowest amount of fine which is 50 Euros on the spot or pay a higher fine if I were to delay the payment. As we did not understand how this fine system works here we were not confident to pay the fine at that exact point of time. The conductor then said that if you do not pay the fine, his company (which is ATAF) has our passport details and can turn us into criminals. Is this how Florence people should treat clueleas tourists?
To add on to the incident, I've realized that the conductor only asked to check tickets of us tourists and not even bothered to approach the locals which was also on the bus. If the implementation of such system is to ensure that no one abuses the system by freely hopping on the bus without paying, why only focus on clueless tourists which paid and validated the ticket and ignore the locals???
We ended up paying the fine as we were clueless on what we should be doing and the conductors were not helpful at all but started to sound threatening and just ended up walking away once we enquired further about not paying on the spot. Post the whole incident, I've finally got the time to digest the summons that he and his colleague written for us and realized that the time of the summon written was also INCORRECT! The incident happened AFTER we validated our ticket but the summon is dated at approximately 6pm - 2 of the summon timings was also changed after that (From 6.08pm & 6.05pm to 6pm) so that the summon clearly stated that we made a mistake on our end.
If this is how tourists visiting Florence should be treated then unfortunate to say that I am deeply disappointed. I came to Florence wanting to see the beautiful places and meet the amazing people here but this incident have left me very disapointed with the way how these so call ATAF conductors handled with the situation.
Below link is to the photos I've shared for your reference.
July 1, 2016, 12:02 PM
So sorry to read about and here about these sort of incidents taking place, particularly if you feel that you were targeted as opposed to other people on the bus for a "control". Were you still stopped at the bus stop when you got the ticket? You make it seem like the controller got off the bus and came back, so the bus must have been stopped?
If you're still in Florence, you can file a complaint - but since you paid, you can't file a request to have the fine cancelled
You can do it at the Ataf Point within the Santa Maria Novella train station, at window 8 and 9 in the ticket area. Open Monday-Saturday 7:00am – 8:00pm (closed Sundays and holidays).
Our city mayor is quite active on Facebook, I would post on his page and see if there is a response. I am seeing way too many of these posts that say the controllers go after tourists who have tickets in hand and fine you for small technicalities. Makes me mad to think they are taking advantage (the controllers, likely to meet their daily quotas) and it hurts the city overall!!
I will do what I can to also raise the issue and see if I can also raise up some questions about this.
Here is his page: https://www.facebook.com/darionardella/
Thank you for sharing, I am deeply sorry it had to happen and hope that in time you will remember the happy memories you have of Florence more fondly and forget this incident.