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    How to use Transmilenio

    Confused by all the colored lines and numbers? Not sure how to get a card to ride it? Transmilenio is […]

    Confused by all the colored lines and numbers? Not sure how to get a card to ride it? Transmilenio is Bogota’s pioneering bus network, copied in cities across the world, and given that it usually travels a whole lot faster than a car, there’s no excuse for not jumping on board. Here are a few tips:



    Transmilenio is the world’s largest bus rapid transport system, a network of buses that mostly run in their own lanes (a few “feeder” Transmilenio buses mingle with other traffic, on Avenida Septima for example) You normally reach Transmilenio by walking over a footbridge to the station. There are around 1,500 buses in action every day, some carry 160 passengers, others up to 270.


    Transmilenio has 144 stations on 12 lines and each line has a letter, A-M and a color. Some buses stop at every station (those marked corriente) others are fast and miss a few. First, locate your destination on the main map and check the line(both the color and the letter are given). Then scan the station map, looking for your color, to find the buses from that station that stop on your line. Then find one that stops at your station. If there isn’t one, take the corriente for your letter (it stops everywhere) or a fast bus that stops one station ahead and change to the corriente for one stop. Once you have chosen your bus it will have a letter and a number, such as H73. The platform for each letter is clearly marked, so find the H platform and see where H73 stops, marked by a little plaque above the door.

    Check the plaque carefully because some buses only run at certain times or on certain days. If in doubt, ask any member of Transmilenio staff and don’t worry, you’ll quickly get used to the system.


    Transmilenio, like all public transport systems, is busiest at rush hour. If you can avoid travelling at that time you’ll increase your chances of finding a seat, although there are designated blue seats at all times for the elderly, children, pregnant women and users with disabilities.


    Bogota is rightfully proud of Transmilenio. Since it opened in 2000 it has served as a model both in Colombia and abroad, with countries such as Mexico and Chile building systems based on Transmilenio. Almost two million people use the system every day in Bogota and their journey times have, on average, been cut by a third.


    Transmilenio is for everyone! You buy a card when you use it for the first time, for a small fee, then add credit every time you run low. You can check your credit on a small machine at the entrance.


    Transmilenio covers more than 112km (70 miles) and its lines reach like tentacles across the city. The newest line extends to El Dorado airport. Check the map, chances are, Transmilenio will work for you.

    Want to travel on pioneering public transport? The answer is Colombia. If you liked this article, please feel free to share it on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+ or any of your social networks.

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