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Palermo has a public bus system known as AMAT. Orange buses distinguish local routes from the blue intercity routes. The bus routes should be able to get you anywhere you want to go in Palermo. Tickets can be purchased at AMAT kiosks located at Piazza Ruggero Séttimo and Stazione Centrale. Pick up a Palermo bus map at the kiosks as well. Barring that, tickets may be purchased at the tabacchi, or tobacco stores. Drivers will not check your tickets, but tickets must be validated either on the bus, or just before boarding. Punch the tickets in the orange validator machines. Patrols will periodically board buses to check everyone's ticket, and those without a ticket or who didn't validate their ticket will be slapped with a hefty fine. Tickets cost 1euro (Oct 06) and are valid for 2 hours.
There is a train that runs between the airport and Stazione Centrale that services the intervening areas. This is not helpful for getting around the city itself, but if you happen to be going somewhere in between the city and the airport, this could be another option. Tickets may be purchased at the airport or train station, and must be validated before boarding.
Tickets for all train journeys can be bought from automated ticket machines in the booking hall ( on your left as you enter) these machines are multilingual and accept cash or credit cards.