Becoming acquainted with using a map in a new city can be a daunting process, let alone learning the ins-and-outs of public transportation and the etiquette a foreigner must use to avoid getting ripped off.
When I first arrived in Quito, transportation seemed a bit overwhelming. But once you face the challenge, it’s really not that difficult to grow accustomed to using it all. There are a few pieces of advice I wish I had known before I came, so I thought I’d dish them out.
1: Especially when traveling from the Mariscal, ask a taxi driver if they have a ”taximetro” (a meter that calculates distance and price) before accepting the ride and fare. This will let the driver know you have a bit of a clue as to how the system works here, and that they’ll have a hard time fooling you. However, also remember that fares are raised at night, and drivers are not required to use the meter.
2: The Ecovia: Rio Coca is northbound, San Marin is southbound. Again, Rio Coca in northbound, San Marin is southbound…
3: You may find yourself standing on a random corner, with no bus stop sign in sight, and that’s okay. Buses may stop anyway. It’s hard to tell where the bus is headed. If you know enough Spanish, simply ask the bus driver to pull over closest to your destination. But there are also signs on the lower left-hand corner of the dashboards, telling you their final destination.
Pop up bus by Leokoolhoven
When growing accustomed to the public transportation system in a new city, be patient and have a sense of humor. There may be times you take the wrong bus, miss a stop or have to hoist yourself up through the door while in motion. All these things are normal, have a little fun!