Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Bogota for Beginners: Taxis and Transmilenio

There are two ways to get around Bogota that are easiest for those who are new to the city: Taxis and Transmilenio. There is also a really extensive bus system but since there are not maps available I wouldn’t suggest it for foreigners.



Transmilenio –This is a hybrid between a subway/bus system. The busses run on fixed routes that are completely separate lanes from other traffic. These routes have platform stations where you buy a ticket and wait as if waiting for a subway. Transmilenio is safe, clean and fast. According to my husband, it has dramatically changed the traffic situation in Bogota.

Taxis –The easiest way to get around. Compared to taxis in the U.S., Bogota taxis are dirt-cheap. To understand how the billing works look at the taximeter at the front of the taxi. The number will correspond to a price that is listed on a laminated sheet attached to the back of the seat. This sheet should also have a picture and information about your taxi-drivers registration. Please note that rates are more expensive at night than during the day. Another fun fact? If you are in a taxi at 6:00 pm you will hear the Colombian national anthem. It plays on every radio station everyday at 6:00 pm. “Oh gloria inacessible…”

One other note on taxis for foreigners -- it is best to call a taxi company and have them send you a specific taxi. You will get a number code to use with the taxi driver. This way you know that the taxi you are getting into is really a taxi with a registered driver. It is the best way to be safe.


1 comment:

Jane King said...

Another suggestion is to hire someone for the duration of your stay to come and pick you up and take you places when you need it. We did this - paid our driver by the hour - and formed a lasting friendship with the man who was initially our driver but evolved into a family friend, along with the rest of his family. If you are adopting, your agency will most likely have someone like this to recommend. It was very calming to have someone we could rely on, not only as a driver but also as translator, someone who knew the system AND could be an emotional support during the adoption.