In the city of Quito you have several transportation options. You can walk, take a taxi, a city bus, the trolley, or Ecovia. We walk mostly if we know that we’ll be in that same area for the day, but for further distances you will need to take some kind of public transport. This article talks about those transportation options and what they are like and any important things you should be made aware of.
Taking a Taxi
Taxis are geared for those who need to get somewhere fast, without having to fuss with lines, crowds, and pick-pockets. Just be careful that you take a registered-metered taxi. Never get into an unmarked taxi. And just because the taxi looks like a taxi does not mean you will not be robbed. You have to be more careful in Quito, as it is a big city. Always ask: TAXIMETRO? Before getting into the taxi!
- Look inside the cab and see if there is a meter. If there is one, ask the driver to turn it on.
- Some drivers won’t turn their meter on; in that case, flag down another taxi
- Metered taxis are cheaper than quoted fare, even if there is lots of traffic
- Make sure there is a camera in the cab; usually located on the right side of the dash
- Always have exact change; some drivers say they don’t have change
- Taxi fare from El Centro to Rio Coca (north) is under $5
- Fare from the south end (Quitumbe) Terminal Terrestre to Downtown Quito is around $6.
ECOVIA & TROLLEY
There are waiting lines and the crowds are atrocious. Best time to travel on Ecovia or Trolley is during the hours of between 1:00pm and 3:00pm when many Ecuadorians are having their lunch. The Ecovia is geared for folks who are on a frugal budget, not in a hurry, and are aware of their surroundings. Both the Ecovia and the Trolley costs $0.25 cents and travels from north to south through the Quicentro Shopping area, to the tourist district of La Mariscal and then to El Centro.
- They are always crowded so be careful about pick pockets and keep your wits about you
- Never have anything in your pockets you don’t want taken
- Thieves are also on the platform waiting in line too, so make sure you already have your back-pack on the front of your body BEFORE getting on
- Chances are you will not get a seat and will have to stand, hang on!
- If you are an older person with challenges we lightly suggest taking a taxi
- If you are in a wheelchair we suggest having someone help you onto the bus as the doors slam shut quickly
- Enjoy the ride
City Inner Buses
Amazingly, we have never ridden on a city bus in Quito, which is ironic since that is all we do in Cuenca is ride the bus everywhere when we are not walking. The reason for that is the Ecovia seems to be more convenient for us as we already know where it goes, where all the stops are, and when to get off, which we discuss in more detail in the DIY Quito landing Guide. IN fact, we devote a whole chapter on the ins and outs of the public transportation in the Quito guide.
- The buses don’t look as crowded as the Ecovia and Trolley, and you might even get a seat.
Walking in Quito
Walking in Quito is wonderful when you are going to be just in one area, such as La Mariscal or El Centro; it lets you observe all the happenings that are going on in the city and you can capture and enjoy the moment so much better. Riding in a taxi or bus doesn’t allow for that and you miss so much! Walking is our favorite mode of transport, as long as it is feasible.
You will see a lot of people walking around in Quito on any given day or time of year, whether the sun is shining or it is raining, people are everywhere milling about, going about their day. Another aspect of Ecuador life that we like so much is the fact that people walk here. In the northern country no one walks, and if you decide to walk down the road people stop and offer you a ride thinking your car broke down.
We think walking is much more social and interactive. And let’s not forget the value to your circulatory system. And that’s the way we like it.
Although we live in Cuenca, we visit Quito whenever we get a chance! We Love Quito!