10 Years of Blog Archive

Tuesday, January 06, 2015

Fact or Fiction? “You Will Get Robbed on the Public Transportation in Quito”!

When doing research for a city to move abroad to, would you rather be swayed by fact or opinion?  Did you know that one of the best places to read about opinions is on forums and “living abroad”groups?  This is where you’ll find self promoting propaganda about any place in the world; and somewhere hiding among the opinions you may find some truth or pertinent piece of information on your lucky day.

Forums and groups are manipulated, abused and used by the masses and anyone can be anyone they want to be, and say anything they want to say on a forum. We’re not saying to quit reading expat forums, but be careful because there’s a lot of gobbledy-gook on them.

For example:  recently when this piece of opinionated-misinformation came to our attention we felt compelled to say something because, well, it’s rather comical, but worse than that, it’s incorrect and misleading. Read the post from an online Ecuador Expat Group below and then let us know what you think. ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Re: Getting Robbed in Quito
Wed Nov 5, 2014 3:51 pm (PST) Posted by: Stay off of the Trolebus (green line) –Ecovia (red line) –Metrobus (blue line) in Quito. They are always crowded and you WILL BE ROBBED. Instead take an official numbered taxi or a local bus. Always quickly exit any public transportation system when it gets crowded. Carry your backpack on your chest; your wallet and cell phone inside your clothing; and,avoid events where there are large crowds. The thieves are skillful and prolific.

Even though there is some accuracy to the users comment, the central core of the comment is incorrect and this is how gossip, propaganda, misinformation, and scaremongering, or whatever you want to call it, gets started.

The truth is “the thieves are skillful and prolific” and “buses are crowded” and so you NEED to take these things into consideration when riding the trolebus or Ecovia in Quito. But you should be taking these things in consideration anywhere at any time in South America.  Anyone who wouldn’t take these things into consideration can get robbed just about anywhere in the world.

You have to remember when interacting with forums, most of the user comments are self promoted, opinionated, hyped up, or simply incorrect, as is the post above. There are far better ways to get information than to ask strangers lurking on forums that sometimes ridicule your inquiry, and almost always give out self induced, biased opinions and dribble. To go to such an extreme and say “YOU WILL GET ROBBED” sounds like fear mongering.

Extreme reports such as YOU WILL GET ROBBED on the trole or Ecovia is coming from someone who, 1) was lax on the bus, got robbed, and now thinks everyone will be robbed, or 2) wants to instill fear in gringos, and or, 3) is using his or her emotions to sway people to believe a certain way based on his or her agenda.

The FACTS: The Trolebus, Metrobus,and the Ecovia are safe to take when the rider takes the same precautions they would anywhere where there are crowds of people.  Example: if you do not take precautions on a crowded bus in Cuenca you will get robbed.  Does that mean everyone should quit taking the bus in Cuenca just because you might get robbed?

And what of the foreigners that get robbed in Quito when taking taxis?  What then? All foreigners should avoid taking the taxis?  How silly is that? Even though Frank and I ALWAYS take the Trole and the Ecovia when in Quito and we have NEVER had any problems with being robbed, we are not saying you should ride the Trams exclusively, such as as at night.

We take these forms of transportation all over from the northern end of Quito all the way to the southern end to El Centro. We have never seen anyone get robbed and we ourselves have stayed safe from pick-pockets on the public transportation in Quito. But of course, we do take precautions, and that my friend is what you will need to do too. We’re not saying you won’t get robbed on the Public transportation in Quito, but if you take certain precautions, you will not get robbed, it's really that simple.

Now dear readers, you know that Frank is a guy who takes precautions seriously, we write about it in all three of our DIY Ecuador Guides; in fact, Frank explains to people how he does not go out at night just to avoid crime. Now, do you really think that a guy who does not go out at night to avoid crime would ride on the trolebus and Ecovia all over the city of Quito if he thought he was going to get ROBBED every time he rode on it?

             Do Not Make Yourself a Target
              and You Will Not Get Robbed!

Both the trole and Ecovia have been so crowded before that we were squeezed in like sardines. Why have we not gotten robbed? Simple, we do not keep anything in our pants pockets when riding the trolley or Ecovia and we do wear our packs in the front. If there is nothing to take, how can you get robbed? They can stick their sly and skillful fingers in our pants pockets all they want, but they aren’t getting anything but a ball of yarn.

Seriously people, if you observe the local people like we do, which is a BIG part of BEING AWARE of your surroundings, you can see the hoodlums stare at your pants pockets looking for a wallet, bulges of cash, camera, cell phone, iPhone, etc. Have nothing in your pockets! Simple! Wear your pack on the front. Do not wear expensive rings and jewelry in Quito on the public transportation and when going to the Mercado's.

The chances of getting robbed in Quito are almost zilch when you follow all of the guidelines we recommend in the DIY Quito Landing Guide. We devote a whole 12 page chapter explaining what kind of crime you might experience when riding the public transportation, walking around on the streets, taking a taxi, and even just doing normal activities such as sightseeing tours in Quito, and what you NEED to do to stay safe. You know we are VERY detailed explaining our experiences and observations!

Here’s something to think about: Recently a woman got her purse robbed in Cuenca Mercado, Feria Libre. Now, please choose which answer best explains how we should respond to this robbery:

A:  We should all just quit going to Feria Libre because we will get robbed?
B:  We should quit wearing a purse to Feria Libre because it might get robbed?

If you chose answer (B) then congratulations. If you chose (A) I would think you will have many disappointments integrating anywhere in South America.  

So in a nutshell, it would seem extreme to say YOU WILL GET ROBBED IF YOU GO TO FERIA LIBRE? Isn’t it more accurate to say, YOU MIGHT GET ROBBED IF YOU WEAR A PURSE TO FERIA LIBRE? We hope you enjoyed this article and learned something from it.

Please read the forums with common sense and do not believe anything you read UNTIL it is backed up with fact. You will be doing yourself and everyone else a huge favor about their/your move or retirement to Ecuador! 

Doesn’t it make more sense from a long term foreign living perspective to learn to live like the locals do instead of subjecting ourselves to unnecessary fear mongering? Here's a video of me and Frank taking the Ecovia; notice in the video what the local does. The part I want you to see starts at the 5 minute mark into the video, or enjoy the whole video about Quito.

NOTE: There are only a few types of people who should not ride the trolebus, Metrobus and or Ecovia of Quito; older folks who appear vulnerable looking, and or have trouble walking and holding onto their things, and young gringo children alone. Everyone else should do just fine on the trolebus by following common sense guidelines outlined in the Quito Landing Guide. 

See all 34-Chapters in the Quito Guide (250 pages) and preview (11 pages) of the DIY Quito Landing Guide here! Click the "preview link" under the book image. 

Although we live in Cuenca, we visit Quito whenever we get a chance! Enjoy the Quito Ecuador Blog!


  1. Hi it's Puttytat007, well said and by the way I live in Ca and I don't go out at night because I don't want to get shot hahahahaaaa and I don't walk the streets either let alone at night. Will I get shot or robbed, I might they have drive by shootings here and people get killed for no reason at all. There is crime all over the world and they say the best pick pockets are in Europe. I have no idea, I was robbed here in the states twice at work (hospital) but never in Ecuador. Might have been luck who knows. Great job thank you very mucho! ;) Angie your the bestest!

    1. Hi Puttytat, Exactly, you said it well. Frank got pick-pocketed once on the city bus in Cuenca and it was because he was really tired!! LOL...Do you think we quit riding the bus in Cuenca? Never! We like taking the bus. You can read the whole pick-pocket story here:
      Thanks for commenting and have a Great Day!

  2. A few years ago, in one of my trips to Europe, a child no more than 12 years old robbed me in Paris. In the 70s, my wife had a bad incident in New York City very close to our apartment in mid Manhattan. In my recent trip to Cuenca and Quito nothing that exiting happened to me. Should I feel discriminated by the Ecuadorians pick-pocketers? ☺☺

    1. Thanks for sharing your pick-pocket incidents. . Perhaps you are both just more aware of what's going on around you now. I think after a person is robbed a couple of times they begin to be more careful. Thanks for commenting.

  3. As an experiment~
    Why not put a mouse trap in your pocket?
    Or better yet, a packet of open R-A-Z-O-R blades...that may teach 'em a good bloody lesson :))....their new nick name will be three finger jack. :)))

    1. It's funny you say that because I have thought about putting something like a snake in my backpack before...it was just a quick passing thought...nothing I would really do.

    2. 'Great Minds Think Alike' :)
      (altho I was certain my comment was going to be censored - good on you!)


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