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I will be arriving late night (scheduled time 23.30) at Bologna airport, and need to get to a hotel in Reggio Emilia.

This is a business trip, so cost isn't a big issue - but what are my options? The only ones I can think of are:

  1. Hire a car (but it seems car hire closes at midnight, so this is cutting it a bit fine).

  2. Get a taxi - some expense is fine, but is there any way to estimate how much this will cost? Will taxis be willing to travel this distance at this time of night? Is there any way to pre-book them?

Are there any other options I should consider?

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Private Car Hire, Taxi, Car Rental or Public Transport

There are a few options to get from Bologna airport to Reggio Emilia, listed below sorted by cost. The private car hire or the taxis are the most expensive solution but also the most convenient since you leave the airport terminal, board a taxi and be at your hotel in approximately one hour, hassle free. Car rentals might close late at night as you say, although some mention 24hour access for pick-up and drop-off. It might be worth inquiring directly with them. Public transport is definitely the cheapest option but requires you to take a shuttle and a train, thus reducing the overall comfort of the journey. Moreover the last shuttle leaves 45 minutes after your landing time so that might be short in case you have checked-in luggage to pick-up.

1. Private Car Hire

You can book a private car hire departing from the airport. These services are called Noleggio Con Conducente (NCC) in Italian (rental with driver) and tend to be more expensive than taxis. The advantage being that you are sure the booked car will be there to pick you up, whereas this is not always true for taxis - you might have to wait for them, especially at night. The Bologna airport webpage lists two NCC companies. I tried a sample booking with Cosepuri from the airport to the centre of Reggio Emilia with a late pick-up time at 00:00, for a total cost of 150.00EUR:

cosepuri ncc

2. Taxi

You can get a taxi from the airport to Reggio Emilia. The airport website lists two possible companies, as well as a price listing which should apply to both since taxis are regulated by the council authorities. Rome2Rio quotes a cost ranging 120-140EUR for the journey assuming you are aiming for the centre of the city. All in all this ballpark quote seems to be correct. A rapid calculation using the prices listed on the airport website at the time of writing yields: 5.60 + 10.00 + 0.50 + 1.40 * 70km = ~113.5EUR (the price breakdown is: late night fee, airport fee, airport toll, price per km when the journey is outside the urban city limits (Reggio Emilia is), 70km distance between airport and city centre). Of course you'll have to multiply this by two since I'm assuming you'll have to go back to the airport at the end of your business trip. Note that you might have to wait for taxis at night (not from personal experience at the Bologna airport, rather a general rule of thumb across Italian cities).

3. Car Rental

There are several car rental companies serving the Bologna airport. Indeed the Hertz page you linked mentions office hours from 08:00 to 24:00:00, however you might not need the office to pick-up your car keys - sometimes these procedures are automatic (especially if you paid in advance) or happen directly at the car pick-up point. I tried a sample booking with Hertz (pick-up at 00:30) but could not get a quote. All the listings say Call to book. This might be because the office is closed at night, or for some other reason. My advice would therefore be: call the Hertz office during working hours and ask for information on late pick-ups.

4. Shuttle + Train

The cheapest option would surely be taking the T>per shuttle from Bologna airport to the Bologna Centrale FS railway station, and then a train to Reggio Emilia Centrale. According to the schedule, the shuttles run until 00:15, and the latest train you can get with Trenitalia leaves Bologna Centrale at 00:46. Total cost for this journey would be ~11.80EUR (6EUR for the shuttle and 5.80EUR for the train ticket).

  • JoErNanO, thanks, very comprehensive answer. Option (1) is probably what I will plump for, but my key concern is whether a taxi driver will be prepared to travel that distance at that late a time. Do you have any experience with that? – Andrew Ferrier May 27 '15 at 12:08
  • I linked to the wrong Hertz page - fixed. The Hertz at the airport closes at midnight, and I assume they all do (which would seem consistent with a relatively minor airport like Bologna). TBH, I'm surprised it's open that late... – Andrew Ferrier May 27 '15 at 12:09
  • @AndrewFerrier I don't have experience with the Bologna airport specifically. It is true however that often there's a waiting time for taxis at night in Italy. In terms of driving so far, by law taxis shouldn't be allowed to refuse to drive unless the passenger is evidently intoxicated/indecent. Of course YMMV. If you don't want to risk it I added a new solution: private car hire. This will ensure you'll have a booked ride, at a slightly higher cost. – JoErNanO May 27 '15 at 12:41
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    For what it's worth, I tried option (1) with cosepuri.it - everything was smooth, no issues. Thanks again for the great answer. – Andrew Ferrier Jun 8 '15 at 16:29
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    @JoErNanO, yep, I ticked that option, and his English was pretty fluent. Not specifically recommending them, but cosepuri seemed pretty good based on the one data point (although I had to pay cash, as their site is apparently only set up for Italian credit cards). – Andrew Ferrier Jun 10 '15 at 5:36

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