From Santiago, there are many bus companies that serve the route, now in much less time than the traditional 8-9 hours of yore.
Now the standard traveling time is 6 1/2 hours if the bus stops en route (usually in Talca and Chillan), and 5 1/2 hours for the faster services.
The fastest nonstop service makes 5 hours from Santiago, and is provided by EMEBUS (US$ 12,50 = $ 7.000), leaving from Terminal Sur in Alameda (half a block west from Universidad de Santiago metro station).
Other companies plying this route are: Tas Choapa, ALSA, Pangui Sur, Inter Sur, Via Tur, Trans Tur, Turis Sur, Igi Llaima, Cruz del Sur, all leaving from Terminal Sur.
From their own terminal, known as Terminal Santiago, which has a direct connection to the Universidad de Santiago subway station, operate Tur Bus and Via Tur (budget branch of Tur Bus, but essentially the same and a couple of US$ cheaper).
Note that from this same terminal, operates Pullman del Sur (for the American Southern Cone and in southern Chile up to Talca) and Pullman Bus (for the central coast and northern Chile up to Arica).
Prices range between US$ 6 (low season, cheapest company) up to US$ 68 (high season, premium sleeper service with unlimited onboard service and pampering, and a kind of door-to-door service for uptown suburbia only, on arrival to Concepcion).
For all the bus companies, the first bus leaves around 6 AM, and the last one at midnight.
Always ask for the current price when shopping around for tickets in any company, as the price posted on signs is always the highest available, but there are offers based on time or day of travel which are not shown.
In any case, don't surprise if sometime you are expecting to pay a given amount and you're charged less -or much less- than what you were about to pay: the computer system assigns you the corresponding reduction in price when you travel at a discounted time/date, even if you didn't knew.
On the other hand, overcharging never happens: the published price is always the highest.
City buses in Concepcion are smaller than those in Santiago (carry up to 25 sitting passengers), and painted in blue with a sign saying the places where they go and the route combination. Some of them ply routes within urban Concepcion only, but other cover longer routes between cities, such as -from S to N- Hualqui, Chiguayante, Concepcion, Talcahuano, Penco and Lirquen -on the northern seashore- or, across the river, San Pedro. From the southernmost end of Chiguayante to Talcahuano, and crossing Concepcion city, there are about 35 kilometres, and about 30 minutes' trip.
All these services have the same $ 300 (US$ 0,60) price.
If moving late at night, find out the time of the latest departing service, as not all of them run all night long and you might be stranded somewhere on either a coastal town or an uptown suburbia.
From Santiago, there are many daily flights form both LAN CHILE and SKY AIRLINE; actually, Concepcion is the city with the highest amount of flights to and from Santiago, and to/from southernmost cities as well.
The first flight to/from Santiago is at 7 AM, and the last one at 9 PM, with a total of about 25 daily flights.
Both airlines use Boeing 737's and A310, A320 and A321 Airbuses for the 50-minute flight from Santiago.
Typical cost for the return flight is US$ 120 (Lan Chile), but check for late-minute offers and prices which can take your ticket cost to as low as US$ 70.
Also, check with SKY AIRLINE, whose prices are at least 30% cheaper than LAN, for an equally good service and aircraft fleet.
There are domestic southbound flights to Temuco, Valdivia, Osorno, Puerto Montt, Balmaceda and Punta Arenas at least once a day.
International direct flights bound for southern Argentina (Neuquén, Bariloche) and Falkland islands leave from Concepcion as well.
Note that Concepcion's Carriel Sur airport is located midway between Concepcion and Talcahuano, and not served by public transport, so your chances to get to the city are either a taxi (US$ 13) or a shuttle bus (US$ 6 p/p).