10 Years of Blog Archive

Monday, December 16, 2013

Needing to Take a Bus in Cuenca? El Arenal and Terminal Terrestre in Cuenca Ecuador

After three years of living in Cuenca we had the old bus routes down. We knew pretty much which bus number went to what area in Cuenca. In fact taking the bus system had become a familiar standard and routine in our Cuenca lifestyle.

We knew the bus routes were going to change we just didn’t know when…until yesterday when we no longer saw our familiar bus numbers that take us from one end of the city to the other. It was the first day of the new bus routes and even the locals were walking around bewildered and feeling lost. But thankfully there were lots of young people with clip boards helping passengers get to where they needed to go.

Here’s how our day went taking the new buses and routes in Cuenca. Enjoy the ride with us. We also took some video shots of the new El Arenal Terminal.

From Av. Las Americas the red buses now go north and south on same road, but with a twist. Now you get off at transfer stations and transfer onto a different red bus to continue either north or south.
So from the Arenal transfer station which is next to Feria Libre Mercado we traveled through El Centro and all the way to the old bus terminal called Terminal Terrestre, which to our surprise also has a transfer area behind the main station where passengers must transfer onto another bus to continue where they may need to go in the city of Cuenca.

So, we disembarked bus number 100 and a pleasant young lady showed us the bus to get on that goes to Ricaurte. We got on a red bus number 101, which took us to the Ricaurte area of Cuenca. From our starting point to the ending point it took around 50-minutes and three different buses…but we made it safe and sound to our destination.

What Are the NEW Transfer Terminals Like?

Both new transfer terminals, the Terminal Terrestre and the El Arenal Terminal are clean, safe, and at this time of writing, organized. The assistant has passengers wait in an orderly line to board the bus, which is really nice since before this, people behaved disorderly, pushing and cutting in front of you as if you were an invisible soul to them.

The terminals have nice big maps showing the directions in color-coded routes. It is really quite simple and streamlined. However, give yourself about 15 extra minutes to where you need to go in case you have to wait for your transfer bus; sometimes this will happen. You just look for the signs which say which 'direction' north or south, you are intending to go, then get in line, and wait there without having to pay again!

What Are the New Buses Like? 

The new red buses are quieter and smoother. There is a bit more leg room; we guess about 3 to 4 inches, which makes the ride more comfortable. The new red buses have three doors. The front door for boarding, and the middle and end door for getting off. This is nice too, especially when the bus is full and almost everyone is getting off.

Passenger Bus Etiquette 

The new red buses have color-coded seats. The blue seats are for the general public, while the red seats, closer to the doors are RESERVED FOR pregnant women, folks carrying small children, and the disabled. Please take into consideration the red seats are reserved. We have seen many young people take advantage of the front row seats before the new changeover and just recently when we took the new red buses, young folks were sitting in the red seats that are reserved. We will talk more about this in another blog post. Stay Tuned.

So, all in all the new terminals and the new buses and routes will take some getting used to but we think it will make the transportation system run much smoother and be a bit more organized.

Remember to add an extra 15-minutes to your schedule and enjoy the new transportation in Cuenca. Also, the great news is there is far less buses running on the main roads, which means far less diesel fumes spewed out into the atmosphere, which means healthier lungs and body! Now, that is something to celebrate!

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