Gringo : Turistinfo : Transportation

For Long-Distance Busses/Stations
see Get Out of Town

Other Turinfo Pages:

Tijuana Maptext.

Getting Around
Busses / Taxis

Walking

Bicycling

Disabled

Leaving Town

Things to See.

Revolution Avenue.

Eating

Movies

Museums/Galleries

Markets/Swap Meets

Shopping Malls

SHOPPING!

Drinking

Buying Liquor

Baja California wine

Cigarettes

Customs/Border

Busses In and Around Tijuana.

  1. Getting Around Town.
  2. Fares.
  3. Hours of Service.
  4. Onboard Entertainment.
  5. A Few Routes.
  6. Tecate, Rosarito and Ensenada.

  1. Getting Around Town.
  2. Where Are You Going And How Do You Get The Right Bus There?

    The city busses in Tijuana DO NOT come equiped with maps and schedules to tell you where and when and how. Fortunately, they DO run on set routes and the bus route you ride today will probably be running tomorrow. THE TRICK IS finding out which bus goes where!

    To tell where a bus is going, well, ask the driver! But, if you don't speak Spanish... or if the bus is zooming toward you and won't stop unless you wave it down... what do you do?

    Answer: LOOK ON THE WINDSHIELD. Practically every bus will have its chief destination or destinations posted on a small sign, or written in soap right onto the windshield.

    YOU WILL NEED TO KNOW: (1) Where You Are Going, (2) What Is The Important Destination There or Beyond There, and (3) What Are The Bus Abbreviations -- "CAM CEN" or "CAM CENTRAL" means Camionera Central (the main bus station and an important destination for all travelers), "AERPTO" means aeropuerto (airport), "PAL" or "PALACIO" means City Hall, and "CENTRO" means downtown.

    There is another way to know where a bus is going -- listen for the greeter to shout out the destination. Many busses come equiped with friends/acquaintances of the driver, or hucksters looking for tips, who jump on and off the busses at important stops and shout out the destination. Often these are the singers, entertainers, donation solicitors, who work/entertain the busses, performing this info-service for the driver. Example: at the "LINEA" bus stop near the border (next to a traffic circle beyond the Sea of Taxis) you will hear a constant stream of shouting, "Centro Tercera, subile subile..." which means "downtown Third Street, get onboard, get onboard." Those, incidentally, are the busses which will drop you near Revolución Avenue.

    If you aren't willing to play this game of reading moving windshields or listening to the bus shouters, we suggest that you consider hiring a Taxi Especial to take you wherever you are going. At least you can be sure you will get where you want to go, although it will cost you more than a bus. If you don't speak Spanish, talk with your driver BEFORE getting into his cab, to make sure you understand him and he understands you. Bargain before getting in. And when you get out, don't forget to tip him for whatever courtesy he has shown you.

    In addition to your standard big-city bus, there are also hordes of minibusses and vanbusses going every whichway. They too will have their destinations written or posted in the front window. These little busses are collectively known as Calafias -- a curious name with a separate history.

    We emphasize again that the cost for a taxi is often worth the expense, considering the ease of access -- and knowledge of the city -- which the drivers can offer you. Many speak good English, too.

    But if you speak a little Spanish, the fact remains that during the day, bus service is excellent, although crowded at rush hour, like big cities anywhere.

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  3. Fares
  4. Ah yes, the cost. City busses now (2003) charge five-and-a-half pesos (or fifty-five cents U.S.) which you pay when you get on. The driver will give you a ticket for each fare you pay. This is only a ticket, NOT a transfer. There are NO transfers. Minibusses (called "Calafias") and van-busses also charge 5-1/2 pesos but sometimes you pay when you get off.

    Unlike San Diego, the bus drivers carry change -- in both pesos and U.S. coin (BUT within reason -- don't expect to get change for a ten or twenty dollar bill). If you hand him a dollar he will quickly give you forty-five cents change. Or if you are two people, just hand him a dollar and a dime and he'll give you two tickets. (Yes, Virginia, there is a ticket!)

    Go to Top.

  5. Hours of Service.
  6. City busses run roughly between seven in the morning and nine o'clock at night, depending on the route. Much later than that you will need to take a taxi, either a less expensive "ruta" (you will need to know where you are going and where the route goes) -- or spend the money to take a taxi especial.

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  7. Onboard Entertainment.
  8. Heh heh heh, yes, there are singers who clamber onboard with guitars and serenade the passengers for tips. Some of them are pretty good, others are, well, spirited, at least.

    Most of the "cantantes" -- singers -- have a spiel they give after a song or two. In effect they say something like, "Ladies and gentlemen passengers, I sincerely ask you to forgive my bothering you, I am no great artist, only a simple person trying to make a living, and if any one of you from the goodness of your hearts can see fit to help me with any little coins, I would be most grateful and thank God for your good will...."

    You will also see & hear solicitors for various non-profits who will give you a piece of candy in exchange for your donation. Many of these say they represent drug and alcohol rehabilitation centers who with the grace of God are now enjoying the blessings of eternal life and an honest life.

    There are also occasional salesmen and women, offering everything from wallets to popsicles (paletas).

    Go to Top.

  9. A Few Routes.
  10. To get to the Casa de La Cultura you can take either a Blue & White Taxi or the bus. To take the bus go to the right-hand side (according to traffic direction) of Third Street (Carillo Puerto) between Constitution and Ninos Heroes (B & C). It's a big smelly bus stop, you can't miss it. Sticks out like a needle in a haystack, heh heh. Make sure you get on the bus that says ALTAMIRANO, and to be doubly sure ask the driver "Casa de la Cultura?" and be ready to get out after a few minutes ride, when you have just climbed up the big hill with its view over the town and valley. The casa will be that big old stone school building on the left in the trees.

    TO GET BACK TO THE BORDER take a bus from 2nd and Constitucion (one block up the diagonal plaza street from the big arch). Any bus saying LINEA on its windshield and with a guy (or gal) yelling LINEA LINEA at the top of their lungs on the curb.

    TO GO TO THE BEACHES and the bullring by the sea, pick up a Playas #1 bus from 3rd street in front of the tortilla factory shop between Ninos and D. TO GO TO THE BEACHES FROM THE BORDER catch a bus at the traffic circle beyond the sea of taxis. The beach busses usually just zoom by, i.e. they don't go into the big line, and stop only once right after the traffic circle. Again, they will say "PLAYAS" on the windshield and #1 is the route that goes by the bullring (a short walk from the point where the border fence plunges into the sea).

    TO GO TO CECUT and PLAZA RIO shopping center (movieplex, shopping) from downtown, catch a bus saying PLAZA RIO or just PZA RIO or just P RIO. They wait on Second by Constitución in front of the LOTTERY window where all the bus musicians hang out waiting to get on and play for tips, then drag down Second toward the river and up the big Paseo with all its trees. Get out at the "Bola" (big brown ball) or the World's Biggest Pair of Scissors.

    TO GO TO PALACIO, Gardens, and ICBC from downtown catch a bus saying PALACIO.

    Go to Top.

  11. Tecate, Rosarito and Ensenada.
  12. Busses to Tecate or Rosarito depart from the old bus station at First and Madero (on the walk from the border to Revolución, after crossing the river and going up the street).

    Busses to Ensenada depart from the Linea (Border) Bus Station near the border gate, after the island of tacos and sea of taxis.

    See Also: Get Out of Town


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Copyright 2001-2003 Daniel Charles Thomas
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