Though the very core of Bogota's old town is easily explored on foot, getting further afield requires some kind of locomotion. Many tourist opt for taxis which are generally metered and fairly priced but still pricey if you are on a budget and compared to food and lodging in town. That said, when traveling with your luggage to either the airport or bus terminal, it's surely the easiest and smartest route. When not so encumbered, you should try Bogota's interesting Metro system: the TransMilenio. When they decided a true underground metro was not feasible, a fast lane bus system was instituted whereby the fleet of over 1000 buses has their own lanes. Add to this self-contained bus stops and you have a very safe and efficient system that covers over 80 kilometers of the city. This is evidently an attraction in its own right with transit buffs who affectionately dub it BRT (Bus Rapid Transit)!
Since we mostly stuck to central Bogota, we only used it twice but it got us up to the Zona Rosa (to visit Bogota Beer Company) probably faster than a taxi and for only 6000 COP or $3 round trip! The second trip was to El Portal Norte, the city's northern bus terminal, when we took a bus from there to Zipaquira.
TransMilenio is a bus system that moves in a separate lane so it is fast, safe and very convenient. The buses are brand new and pollute a lot less. It runs for 38 kilometers and is planned to extend to the far away neighbourhoods in a few years. Then private cars will be expelled from the city completely at peak hours. The plan is due for 2015. TransMilenio system was built in less than two years and has come to carry about 800,000 commuters, running at an average of 26 kms per hour. The stops are on elevated platforms. Sometimes they are really packed, though, so be careful with your valuables.
For private cars there is a restricting system called 'pico y placa' which means they can not run their cars two days a week depending on the number of their plates.
Other means of transport in the city are bicycles having their own lanes, buses, busetas ( van-like buses), 'colectivos' (vans), and taxis.
Fares are about 0.70$
TransMilenio is a rapid bus system that has been running since December 2000 in Bogotá. The red buses have their own elevated stations in the centre of the main avenues and they run on their own lines along the avenues. The tickets are bought at the stations (I paid 1400 pesos for a ticket between Avenida Jiménez and Portal del Norte in August 2007). The buses are frequent and runs between 5.00 - 23.00. There are a lot of different numbers and some of the buses are express buses (not stopping at every station) so if you are unfamiliar with the system you better ask someone at the station or your hotel for help.
TransMilenio is running along the main avenues like Avenida Caracas, Carrera 30, Avenida de Las Americas, Avenida 81 and Avenida Jiménez.
Bogotá has a spiffy means of transportation called ‘Transmilenio‘.
There are stations with entrances and exits for the passengers, ticket booths to sell the tickets, and fixed routes on lanes that are free of other vehicles. It looks every way like a metro station, except they use buses and the buses sometimes have to stop for traffic at junctions or pedestrian crossings.
It looks modern and is quite a quick way of travelling, if you do not want to be caught in the Bogotá’s traffic jam. However, it is horrendously crowded all the time. It is always a huge squeeze trying to get in and get out.
There are many signs on the buses teaching people good manners while using the ‘Transmilenio’ system - “Do not inconvenience or disturb the fellow passengers”, “Please hold the hands of all children under the age of 7 and in the train, they should be kept seated”, “Do not travel with guns or other dangerous objects”…
The Transmilenio is the fast and easy way of covering longer distances within Bogota for cheap.
The Transmilenio functions much in the same way as a subway or metro system would, except with buses. Transmilenio buses have their own lanes on the roads, and in some cases (Av Jimenez for eg.) the roads all to themselves. They utilise elevated stations, which function in the same way a subway station would. You pay as entering the station for a card (1,200pesos per journey) which you then pass through a turnstile machine to enter the station. You can purchase multiple journeys on a single card, thus avoiding the cues to pay. Once inside the station, you just need to know the number of the bus route (the route maps are very easy to understand), and once that bus pulls up to the station, hop in. You may need to transfer busses at some point, but this is a straitforward affair.
It is worth noting too, that the transmilenio buses are often super crowded, like a can of sardines so to speak. Also, I had heard that pickpocketing happens and to be careful. That being said, I rode the transmilenio twice a day every day (well, week days anyways) for 3 months, and never had any problems, other than the tight squeeze.
This is one of the worst mass transit systems I have seen - not in design but in execution. It consists of buses that run in their own traffic lanes separate from the rest of the traffic along Avenida Caracas and other major streets. There are several routes (shown by color lines on the maps on the stations) along which run buses of various numbers (their stops are shown by a circle above a station name on the map) - some are express and some not. Station names are not announced, but written on the glass doors on the platform.
The buses are really full of people, and the ride is incredibly uncomfortable. It will shake you like a sock inside a washing machine. One ride costs COP900. If you can afford it, take a taxi!
This is a new bus system introduce in Bogota in recent years. In some routes you see this big and comfortable buses where you have to queue and wait. Otherwise Rich and middle-class Bogotans move around with their own cars.
I did not ride the Transmilenio but whereever i went i saw it. i was told that riding the bus was not advised but it is the cheapest mode of transportation and i had no problems. (My family prefers colectivos)
Buses can be very bumpy hold on.
in the afternoon they get full.
people get on the buses they will hand you candy or etc etc its NOT free dont be fooled . lol
Transmilenio works like a subway above the ground using buses.
You pay with your eletronic card when entering a station and may change buses as often you want without paying again, unless you stay in the station.
There are buses that stop at every station and express buses that only stop at certain ones. Have a look at the map where you wanna go and which bus to take.
Unfurtunately handout map are very difficult to get. Mostly at the portals you have to ask the people with the orange jackets (Bogotá para vivir) and they might have one.
Hours are weekdays and saturdays:
5am to 11pm
(that's when the first and last busses leave the portals!)
Sundays: 6am to 10pm
During rush hour Transmi is always very crowded and it can be uncomfortable... if you manage to get on a bus...
That's why Transmilenio is also called "Transmi-lleno".
Usually routes 1 to 3 are less crowded than the express buses.
In Bogotá itsself the best ways to get around are by bus and taxi. But taking the normal bus in Bogotá is quite difficult, as there are fixed routes, but unless you don't know the city very well, the signs won't help you a lot.
The best thing is simply to ask someone.
Fares are $700 to $900.
Driving by own car is not recomended. Traffic is horrible, although I like to drive there... you have to pay highest attention at all times and know the streets to be succesful. Another problem is parking. Use parking lots or at least spaces which are guarded by anyone to avoid your car being robbed or something else...
The best and easiest way to get around is using Transmilenio, the new bus-system of Bogotá. At the moment there are only three "troncales" opened: Autopista Norte, Av. Caracas and Calle 80. But more are under construction (like Cll. 19) or will be build (like Av. Quito[NQS, Av.30] or Av. Suba.
As Transmilenio has its own lanes it passes every traffic jam, which might be the most important advantage.
Single-fare is $900.
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