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Bus or train to Matera from Bari?


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Just starting to plan a trip to Lecce and Matera for this Fall.
I've been reading about how to get to Matera from Bari after arriving at Bari Centrale from Naples.
We don't drive in Europe...always take public transport.
I know about the Ferrovie Apullo Lucane train services.
However, reading a lot of reviews about it, it does seem unreliable at times, trains cancelled, late and slow journeys, etc.
I know that they do not run many or any services on Sundays.

Would it be more sensible to take the direct bus from near Bari Centrale to Matera Centrale instead, or just hope for the best with the trains?!
It seems that the bus departure areas are also right outside the station.
We would not be in a hurry, but don't want to get stuck either.
Thank you!
I visited Puglia in May of last year and stayed in Lecce and Bari. And I also travel solely via public transportation while in Italy.

I read similar reviews concerning the FAL train service. However, I did take the FAL train to Matera (on a weekday) without any issues. From my notes, looks like I took either the 6:17 (arrival at 8:05) or the 7:51 (arrival at 9:37) and returned on the 4:05 (arrival at 5:51). The bus (Itabus or Miccolis) is shorter: 75 minutes compared to 110 minutes for the train. This was my first trip to Puglia, so I don't have any other reference points to recommend the bus or the train as being the better option.

While staying in Bari, I took both buses and trains and didn't have any issues. There are two bus areas (each on a different side of the train station).

Here are the daytrips I took from Bari:
Trani (train on Sunday)
Polignano a Mare (train)
Matera (train)
Ostuni (train)
Monopoli (train)
Alberobello/Locorotondo (bus)

Here are the daytrips I took from Lecce:
Gallipoli (train)
Martina Franca (train)

During my trip I only experienced one issue using public transportation- my return train from Martina Franca to Lecce was delayed for a long time (about 90 minutes). Most of the travelers at the station didn't seem concerned- not sure if that was comforting or not (that delays like that happen frequently or that the situation would be remedied and we would be on our way at some point).

I really enjoyed my time in Puglia and hope you do as well.

If there are any other questions I might be able to assist with, let me know.
Thank you for your detailed reply, I really appreciate it.
Not sure if I will get there this year, as, looking at airfares from W. Canada...well, they are insanely priced!
But, I'll keep looking till I find a fare that suits me.
Did you book the bus trip tickets in advance, or just paid as you boarded?

( BTW, your member name is hilarious!)
The trenitalia app allows either train or bus bookings.
Part of your problem with airfares is you are a little far out. Here in Puglia end of October the weather is geat. Being from Canada you might even find our aegean sea warm enough to swim. Look at Turkish Air, make a connection thru Seattle, Frisco or LA. I have found them to consistently be among the least expensive, excellent airlines.
Thanks, Mary.
I think if we do go, we’ll use the bus to Matera as others have advised.
I realise it’s a bit early, but sometimes an airfare deal just pops up unexpectedly, so I keep looking every week or so.
I prefer to connect in Canada or Europe with flights, even though it may cost more.
Good to know about the warm weather in October!

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