In addition to showing respect for our environment and recognising the ecological damage caused by both petrol and diesel-powered cars, there are some very practical reasons for using public transport in and around Como. The Via Regina on the west side of the lake is subject to horrendous delays in the summer if two large vehicles come to face each other as the road narrows down in spots like Sala Comacina and Ossuccio. Traffic and parking is a nightmare in Como on a sunny summer weekend. In any case there are some valid alternatives, including:
Ecological Car Sharing – E-VAI
As a resident, signing up for this is straightforward. As a visitor it is still worth doing if you intend to base yourself in any of the major towns of Lombardy including Como. Charges start at €5 an hour. Details are on their web site. They also have an Android and IOS app but it is only of value when you are subscribed to the service.
Buses – ASF
There is an excellent Android and IOS app available in English that takes advantage of location to bring you info on the next bus, where to buy tickets or more general timetabling and route info. Bus fares are economical. The web site’s english language variant does not work but this defect is more than made up for by the excellent app.
The highly recommended app is called Arriva ASF.
Boats – Navigazione Laghi
They do have a good English language web site and an Android and IOS app. It is always worth consulting these since timetables vary considerably according to the time of year.
The app is simply called Navigazione Laghi and also covers Lake Maggiore and Lake Garda.
Trains – Trenord
Como has two stations in the centre – Nord Laghi is alongside the Hotel Palace on the lakefront. Trains from here go to Piazza Cadorna, Milan – a very central location. Como San Giovanni is on the western edge of Como. Trains from here go to Switzerland and either at Piazza Garibaldi or Central Station in Milan – from here you can connect to the nationwide network of high speed trains (Frecciarossa). There is also an excellent app simply called Trenord which covers all trains in Lombardy.
Putting It All Together – Moovit
The Moovit app combines information for buses and trains and covers many cities in the world in addition to Como so a useful app for public transport.
It is possible to buy a one-day pass providing up to 4 hours of bike use. This is available theoretically via the BicinCitta IOS or Google App, or, more reliably, from the tobacconist within the San Giovanni railway station. The app is not in English and it fails to explain how you physically get hold of the badge that allows access to the bikes! One positive improvement is that the bike stands now do at least post the correct address for the tobacconist rather than sending prospective subscribers to an old disused address in Via Volta. In the digital age, you have to get everything right – otherwise you just appear naff!