Bogotá Transportation

At the difference of Medellin, Bogotá has a poor transportation system to say the least. Years of political inaction and wave of new arivants turning commuters have made the city a gridlock for most of the day.

Bogota Transmilenio SystemBut with a bit of organisation and a piece of advice, you might be able to navigate the city outside of peak hours. So here are the options:

Bogotá Taxis

A safe bet at a very decent price although taxi drivers have a tendency to round up the price a little too much. So for every ride, please ask for the fare table and check what you have to pay. You are not expected to tip but if the driver is nice and honest, why not.

As a general rule, it is better not to hail a taxi on the streets. The overchage for calling a calling a taxi is only 600 COP (0.30 USD...), the only problem is that you might have to wait a bit to get confirmation of the service, especially at peak hours.

Use the following numbers or better use your smartphone and dowload this app: http://tappsi.co

Taxis Libres 311 1111 (add 031 when calling from a cellphone)
Taxi Express 411 1111
Radio Taxi 288 8888

=> At night, please call a registered service, use Tappsi or services offered by some restaurant or clubs (they write the taxi numbers before you board).

Bogotá Busetas (mini bus services driven by psychopaths)

You like it real? Busetas are for you if you can manage to understand where they actually go.

The service is cheap (1500 COP during the day, 1550 COP at night) and convenient, you can wave at them and they will stop. To exit, there's a red button near the rear door or the entrance if thre's only one door. The problem with busetas is that you need to quicky decipher the signs at the front while the bus is passing at maniac speed and make up your mind about whether that destination works for you. 

They are everywhere in the city and of course it is worth catching them to get a glimpse of the lives of real Bogotanos. Busetas usually include buskers and vendors of chewing-gums, pens, cleansing herbal teas...

Transmilenio

Bogotá's main transit system or cattle service as it should be appropriately named. It's not that the system is bad, it's just that it is completely undersized and you should avoid it if you suffer from an even mild version of agoraphobia.

Outside peak hours, it is a good service even if it is complicated to understand where buses go. Some buses run on week days, other only at certain hours, an others on Sundays or bank holidays. It costs 1,700 COP a ticket at peak hours and 1,400 COP otherwise. You can buy tickets at all Transmilenio stations. To avoid queuing, it is a good investment to get your own card and top it up as you use it.

More information and maps here: http://www.transmilenio.gov.cohttp://www.surumbo.com. There's also a good app: http://www.transmisitp.com.

Sitp or the new blue bus system

This new bus system is recent initiative by the Bogotá council to slowly replace the private Busetas system. It's a great idea, the buses are regulated, drivers are a bit more careful, the buses run regularly and have fixed stops. The problem is that the city launched this system with a different card (Tu Llave) system than the one of the Transmilenio. It was also a nightmare to find a place to up the card. Things are improving but the system and is still underused and a long way to replace the easy to catch Busetas.

More information here: http://www.sitpbogota.com

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