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mmmills


Feb 19, 2005, 7:53 PM

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Cities with multiple bus terminals

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I'm working on understanding the bus system.

How many cities in Mexico have 'mega terminals' in the north, south, east and west? Mexico City (DF) has this setup, are there any others?

On my trip, it seemed Queretaro had big north and south terminals. I'm fairly sure I saw a sign saying something like 'Queretaro Terminal del sur' when we stopped. I got the feeling that Monterrey and San Luis Potosi both had big 'central' terminals, but am just guessing.

Mark



dlh1149

Feb 20, 2005, 12:40 AM

Post #2 of 15 (1229 views)

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Re: [mmmills] Cities with multiple bus terminals

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Many cities, Guanajuato and Oaxaca pop to mind, have a newer first class bus station and another older one that handles the second class and local area busses. Im my travels, only DF has multiple mega stations, but there may be others.


esperanza

Feb 20, 2005, 3:18 AM

Post #3 of 15 (1227 views)

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Re: [mmmills] Cities with multiple bus terminals

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Guadalajara, Mexico's second-largest city, has a complex of seven and one-half módulos (buildings) that make up the long distance bus station; this station is located in Tonalá, approximately half an hour from Guadalajara's Centro Histórico. All luxury, first-class, and second-class buses that arrive from and depart to cities and towns all over Mexico and some places in the United States are based there. It's crucial that a traveler leaving from or arriving at that bus station know which módulo to go to in order to get on the right bus or be picked up. Generally, if a traveler wants to go from Guadalajara to the north and west of Mexico, it's possible to buy a ticket to that destination at this bus station. However, if a traveler is going to the far east or the south of Mexico, it's generally necessary to buy a ticket to Mexico City and change buses (and bus companies) at the appropriate terminal there.

Guadalajara also has a downtown bus station for travelers who are coming from or going to nearby destinations such as Chapala, El Salto, La Barca, and other towns serviced by smaller bus lines such as Chapala Plus, El Alteño, Guadalajara-El Salto, etc.

Guadalajara also has a complicated city bus system that practically defies explanation. Some of the city buses travel as far as the long-distance bus terminal in Tonalá and some take passengers to or from the downtown bus station.

I admire your intention to understand the bus system in Mexico. It seems to me that the first step toward that understanding is to know that there is more than one system.


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rjkveton


Feb 20, 2005, 8:02 AM

Post #4 of 15 (1208 views)

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Re: [esperanza] Guadalajara bus stations

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I think the downtown Guadalajara bus stations is called the Central de Camiones, and the one in Tonalá the Central de Viajes. So lets say you come into the Central de Viajes and want to get to Chapala or Ajijic, what do you do? The buses for Chapala/Ajijic only leave from the Central de Camiones, which is located downtown on Niños Heroes.

The answer is a certain stop in Tlaquepaque where the two lines cross. I have never done this personally, so maybe someone else can fill in more of the details as to the specific location of said stop. But in any event, when you board the bus from the Central de Viajes terminal, make sure the driver understands that you want to be dropped off in Tlaquepaque, where you can catch the bus to Chapala or Ajijic.


esperanza

Feb 20, 2005, 8:25 AM

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Re: [rjkveton] Guadalajara bus stations

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Hmmm...I've lived here for a long time and have never heard either of the terms you mention. The bus station in Tonalá is most often called la central nueva. The one downtown is called la central vieja. If you're coming in to la central nueva, no bus that I know of goes through Tlaquepaque, and no Chapala Plus bus goes through Tlaquepaque on the way to the lake. If you come, say, from Mexico City to la central nueva, you can catch a city bus or a cab to la central vieja and take the Chapala Plus bus from there to your destination at Lake Chapala. If you take the Chapala Plus directo, the cost is 34 pesos for the hour-long ride to either Chapala or Ajijic. If you're going to San Antonio Tlayacapan or one of the other villages along the way, the driver will let you off wherever you ask him to.

On the other hand, if you are on the Chapala Plus bus coming from Lake Chapala heading to la central vieja, you can ask to be let off at El Alamo, where the exit to the highway heading to Tonalá is. There's a sitio (taxi stand) there. From El Alamo, you can hop a cab to la central nueva.

Caveat: if you're riding the directo from Lake Chapala heading north, some drivers will stop at El Alamo as a favor and some won't. I've seen it happen both ways. Some drivers are sticklers for the directo--i.e., it's a non-stop bus, folks.


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rjkveton


Feb 20, 2005, 9:55 AM

Post #6 of 15 (1194 views)

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Re: [esperanza] Guadalajara bus stations

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You are correct in that is what they seem to be usually called, so this is fine with me, as long as everyone understands where they are physically located. Doing the transition in Tlaquepaque is only something I've heard of, and was hoping someone who had the actual experience could give more details.


mmmills


Feb 20, 2005, 10:51 AM

Post #7 of 15 (1192 views)

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Re: [esperanza] Cities with multiple bus terminals

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Hi Esperanza,

Thanks for the comments.

What do you mean by 'módulo' (module)?

Based on your comments, Guadalajara has a large central terminal for local buses and a large 'intracity' terminal on the outskirts. There are no clear distinctions between 'local' and 'intracity' lines, one simply has to be flexible and work with the system.


esperanza

Feb 20, 2005, 12:22 PM

Post #8 of 15 (1185 views)

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Re: [mmmills] Cities with multiple bus terminals

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Up there in that post where it says módulo, it's defined as building. One bus company may occupy a single building, or several may occupy one building. That's why you have to know which módulo your bus arrives and departs from. It's not enough to know the name of the bus company.

And no, I didn't say that Guadalajara has a large terminal for intracity buses and a large one for intercity. And of course there are very clear distinctions between which is which; that's part of your project: learning the bus SYSTEMS, not one system only.


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(This post was edited by esperanza on Feb 20, 2005, 1:22 PM)


Ed and Fran

Feb 20, 2005, 12:41 PM

Post #9 of 15 (1176 views)

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Re: [esperanza] Cities with multiple bus terminals

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Up there in that post where it says módulo, it's defined as building. One bus company may occupy a single building, or several may occupy one building.


Think of the DFW airport. Different airlines, different terminal building, but all grouped together.




Regards

E&F


Marlene


Feb 20, 2005, 1:26 PM

Post #10 of 15 (1170 views)

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Re: [rjkveton] Guadalajara bus stations

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I have experience with the main bus terminal both personally and with helping others make the connection upon arrival at the airport in GDL. There has never been one incident of someone being taken to a wrong terminal by a taxi driver, or any confusion over where it is. I find the terminal to be large, civilized and much like an airport only you don't have to check in as early or have your bags searched.

I do have one little tip to pass along from someone who travelled recently. If you happen to have a left over cervesa from your waiting time inside the terminal, do not try to take it inside the bus but instead check it in your bag underneath the bus (or drink it really fast before you get on the bus! There are good bathrooms) The security guy apparently randomly checks back packs and bags and doesn't like you to have cold beer when he can't have any, says my source. Hope this helps.


Carron

Feb 20, 2005, 3:09 PM

Post #11 of 15 (1161 views)

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Re: [mmmills] Cities with multiple bus terminals

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To understand the bus system here, you must understand that Mexico is a huge country with a large population. Most of the citizens travel by bus rather than by plane or by private vehicle, especially over long distances. And travel they do! It's the way families stay connected. Therefore the bus system is both efficient and complicated. Think of how the airlines work in the US. Often you must fly from one "hub" city to another and change planes rather than taking a direct route to your destination. Have you ever tried to change planes, especially to a different carrier, in Atlanta? The Atlanta airport seems as large, or larger than, many Mexican cities!


raferguson


Feb 20, 2005, 3:55 PM

Post #12 of 15 (1156 views)

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Re: [mmmills] Cities with multiple bus terminals

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The trend in Mexico is towards one large bus terminal for each town. Mexico City is the biggest exception.

In Queretero, for example, there is a first class terminal about 200 feet from the second class terminal, so easy to connect from a long distance first class bus to a local 2nd class bus.

Some of the smaller towns have multiple bus stations, usually just storefronts on a street, one station for each line. These stations are often in the same neighborhood, but could be a few blocks apart. Puerto Vallarta used to have a system like that, but I understand that they have gone to the central bus terminal system, sometimes called "Central de Camiones". The last time I was in Palenque and Barra de Navidad, they had multiple stations, so those are examples of the multiple station system. Obviously they both work, you just need to understand what the local system is. If you get off the bus, and you only see one bus line in a small station, that town may have multiple small stations. If you get off the bus and see multiple lines with separate ticket counters, you are in the more common central bus station.

I have not seen a town with a mixed system, where most of the buse companies are in the central station, but a few have their own private stations, so I don't know if there are any towns with a mixed system, I rather doubt it.

Note that local buses do not usually use the central station, although they often have stops nearby.

Richard


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elgringomudo


Feb 23, 2005, 9:28 PM

Post #13 of 15 (1097 views)

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Re: [mmmills] Cities with multiple bus terminals

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In Reply To
I'm working on understanding the bus system.
How many cities in Mexico have 'mega terminals' in the north, south, east and west? Mexico City (DF) has this setup, are there any others?


If you planning on doing extensive bus travel in Mexico, I'd suggest you look into the Lonely Planet Mexico guidebook, a lot of bookstores sell it if you want to look at it first.

It's got about the best rundown I've seen (albeit incomplete, I don't know of any truly complete ones) of where bus stations are in major Mexican cities, and where departures go from each station, and the typical frequency per day. Usually it gives some info on local city transit (like which city bus goes from the main terminal to downtown) as well.

Some buses or microbuses of secondary services don't have "stations" per se, they might hang around the local zocalo or edge of the market, and it may take some investigating to find them, since people who don't normally travel to the place you are travelling to often won't know where they're at. Example, in Chilpancingo, Gro, there's the the main bus station and the Estrella de Oro station across the street, but all the microbuses to small towns around Chilpancingo leave from various places in & around the market area to the east, and none of the stops are marked.

You may find that if you're going to a place that's slightly out of the way, it's faster to go to the nearest larger city and then find a local service for the remainder of the trip. In the example above, I was going to Chilapa,Gro. There's only a few direct buses from Tasquena to Chilapa, but there's about 2 dozen from Tasquena to Chilpancingo, and microbuses leave whenever they fill up (usually between 10 to 30 minutes) from Chilpancingo to Chilapa.

In some cases you'll find that all the direct buses to a given destination from your starting point are 2nd class (thus are stopping all the time to board & discharge passengers), and the only way to go 1st class (most of the way, at least) is to go to a larger proximate town. When I was in Michoacan, I went to Acambaro, Gto and changed, because all the direct buses to the DF from where I was at were 2nd class.
Ned Carlson Triode Electronics Chicago,IL USA
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bdlngton

Feb 26, 2005, 5:13 PM

Post #14 of 15 (1058 views)

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Re: [esperanza] Guadalajara bus stations

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I know that for many years bus stations in most Mexican cities and towns (DF being an exception) were referred to as la camionera. I can remember when studying in Guadlajara in '75 we would catch a bus from downtown that read CAMIONERA to the bus station (to take a bus to wherever back in those days.) That station is, of course what is referred to now as la central vieja. I still tend to use the term CAMIONERA for bus station though nowadays you have to be more specific. Interestingly, as I understand it. a camion is an intra-city bus while a an autobus is an inter-city bus. So it was always a little confusing that you took a camion to the camionera to catch an autobus.
Even more, I can remember in '69 that every bus line had its own terminal in Mexico City before the current terminals were built. And unless you really were familiar with each line, you didn't always know if the busses were first or second class. That's how my friend and I ended up on a 12-hour bus ride from Mexico City to Guadalajara, with a stop in Morelia, that stopped all along the route letting off and picking up passengers.
Susy


esperanza

Feb 26, 2005, 10:28 PM

Post #15 of 15 (1043 views)

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Re: [bdlngton] Guadalajara bus stations

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You are right about camionera. Most Guadalajara buses that go to the two bus stations will leave that off the window, though, and just show "central vieja" or "central nueva"--the 'central' being the Central Camionera Nueva or Vieja. In fact, many merely show "C. vieja" or "C. nueva". Highway signs here sometimes show "Central de Autobuses". 'Camion' is current usage for both intra- and inter-city buses


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