Today, I give you some information about buses in Guatemala. In Guatemala City alone, there are said to be more than 16000 buses for the transport of people. A logical number considered that in addition to the four million inhabitants of the capital and the sorounding metropolitan area, up to one million people commute daily / weekly to the capital and back.
I leave aside the tourist buses, shuttles or minibuses, that one sees first at the arrival at the airport. Very few Guatemalans ever use them!
But there are also minibuses, wherever there are not enough passengers for bigger buses on a route that work like normal buses. In smaller settlements, “Colonias” of the capital, small villages and remote places. Here, one has to ask for the details, but on the spot.
Recognize them by the color!
I see something you can’t see, and that’s red.
Many buses in Guatemala-city can be recognized by their colour. The red buses visible everywhere are called tomatoes. You raise your hand and the bus stops! You get in front, throw (bowl, cloth or other place where many coins are already lying) or give the driver the fare from one to one and a half Quetzales (10 Euocent). When you have reached your destination, you get out at the front or back. The route is always marked at the front of the bus. In the safe Zonas, well suited to get ahead. In the critical parts of the city, use with caution.
On some routes you will notice the green buses of the Transmetro. The network of the Transmetro is slowly but surely being extended. Very safe! The buses stop in contrast to the tomates only at secured bus stations. At the bus station there is always personnel of the city present and in the bus a policeman or auxiliary policeman drives along. The payment was made temporarily with a kind of prepaid card at the station entrance, then again as with the introduction of the Transmetro with 1 Quetzal coins (ask for the current payment method). However, the Transmetro buses only cover 6 main lines along the city centre (zone 1+4), towards the entertainment district (Zona Viva/Zona10), towards the airport, to the central bus station for the south and west of Guatemala and to the edge of zone 18.
The TRANSURBANO system buses are safer than tomatoes (you can enter only with a prepaid card, or with the help of another passenger who uses his card twice, to let you in) but not as safe as transmetro buses. Their colour is white-blue. The routes that have been put into operation so far, mainly cover zones in the east and north of Guatemala-city and parts of Mixco. Here you definitely need a prepaid card. If necessary you ask another passenger to use his card for us (and give him 5 Quetzales for it).
The big, mostly older one- or double-decker buses, called Pullman, are the “so-called” 1st class buses to bigger destinations outside the capital. They leave only at the bus stations or stops of the respective bus company, and usually stop only at stations of their own company. The quality of the buses is very different. From the real luxury bus to the moving scrap heap. 1st class buses are usually 2-3 times more expensive than the normal buses, but compared to Europe and the US, still very inexpensive. These buses have different colors, but are often white or gray.
However, the most important representative of the Guatemalan bus system is still missing. To get from Guatemala-city to all cities, towns and larger villages of the country. It is of course the Camioneta, the little truck, the chicken bus, in short the queen of the buses in Guatemala.