Monday, 26 October 2020

Why I like (and don’t like) taking the bus

Rico’s TICO BULL – I find myself more and more taking pubic transportation, the bus.  I like it. And I don’t like it.

Getting to San Jose by bus is easy. Just about every bus on a major route is either heading to or away from San Jose. I say most because there are some inter-city or inter-community routes.

The Ruta 09 bus. You have to pay attention to the sign in the left front to know where the bus ends up.

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The Intelinea is one of those that connect communities or cities, ie like in Escazu, Santa Ana and Heredia without going to or from San Jose.

What I like about taking the bus to San Jose is the simplicity. I live in Santa Ana. The Ruta 09 bus connects downtown San Jose to Santa Ana. Any bus on this Ruta going east will go to downtown San Jose. It may make some turns here and there, but it will end up in downtown Chepe.

Coming back is another story. There is my dislike. You have to be extremely careful to get on the right bus to get to your destination. Making it worse, all the buses operated by the Tapachula look the same, all blue and all have Santa Ana – Escazu on the header.

The inside sign will tell you where the bus is headed and the route it will take – the ‘pista’ (highway) or ‘calle vieja’ (old road). Interesting that the Piedades (Santa Ana) ‘pista’ will start off on the highway, but then move on the old road to finish.

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These buses are super comfortable

The difference, if you take the old road all the way it may take you two hours to get to Piedades. I an not exaggerating. The pista option in about 50 minutes, of which a good 20 is spent doing the in and out of Santa Ana center.

What I like is that if I get on the right bus, I can sit back, do my Facebook thing, check emails, catch up on Twitter and so on.

But, (the dislike) if I take the wrong one – my fault for not checking, and as the driver clearly pointed out, “you didn’t ask” – you end up close, but not close enough.

Case in point. I step on the blue bus to Santa Ana by way of the pista with ‘Forum’ as one of the destinations. What I didn’t pay notice to is the sign said Forum II, which is on the north side of Santa Ana, in Lindora. Opposite where I wanted to go.

For the inter-city or community, this really gets complicated.

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Taking the bus allows you meet a lot of interesting people

For the ‘not like’ you really, really, I mean really, have to read the sign and – not or – ask the driver if his (no her yet) bus will go to your destination. If you don’t ask you may be in for a surprise.

Then, more ‘not like’ are the stops, marked or otherwise. The bus on my street, for example, I see the driver making all kinds of stops. None are marked. I see people waiting for the bus, it stops.

Me, I see the bus coming, I flag it and it doesn’t stop. The driver giving me one of those “dumb gringo” looks. The other day, I asked the driver to make a stop, some 100 meters from my house where I was sure was the stop, but no. He did stop in front of my house, where the stop is, but is not marked. Know I know.

The what “I like” about this system is that it forces me to walk. If I have the time and the weather permits, I can walk a kilometer or two or even three. The other day my combination of Ruta 27 Comtrasuli and walk beat the time I would take on the Ruta 09 bus.

If the weather or time does or had walked enough that day, I can and sometimes do, use Uber. Prefer it over a taxi anytime.

To sum up, taking the bus has more good than bad, as long as you give it the time to learn the system and learn to ask.


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"Rico" is the crazy mind behind the Q media websites, a series of online magazines where everything is Q! In these times of new normal, stay at home. Stay safe. Stay healthy.

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