Updated on June 13, 2015
Quito’s Bus System
At first glance, the bus system of Quito may seem intimidating and confusing. Or at least, for someone who has never lived in a city nor taken a city bus, it was. As myself and a few of my friends took a lot of time to figure out the bus system, I would like to give some explanation.
There are three main bus lines that run from north to south through Quito. These busses run parallel each other through the city, but end up in different places. Then there are two main bus terminals at the north and south of the city, which have busses that go either north or south of Quito.
Ecovia: This bus line starts as station Rio Coca and goes to many of the main parts of Quito. It stops as La mariscal (has a great night life), Quicentro (a shopping mall) and Old Town Quito. The stations are green, and there is usually just one Ecovia station with one side of it for busses that run north and the other side for those that run south.
Trolebus: This line I frequently use as I live very close. It gets packed just like any other bus line and goes to many of the major stops as well, but the walk from the Trolebus stop is generally longer than from the Ecovia stops. The Trolebus line is in the middle of the Ecovia and Metrobus lines, the three are parallel. The stations are green, and there are generally two of them: one station for busses running north and the other running south.
There is a bus that connects the Trolebus line to the Ecovia line. This bus leaves from Estaci?n Norte o La Y (it goes by both names) and to use this bus, follow the signs that say Integracion Trole. They are red signs and the platform is a little bit removed in both the Estacion Norte and Rio Coca stations; also, the bus only goes 4 times an hour, so if you miss it you’re out of luck for the next 15 minutes.
Metrobus: This line I take the least often, but it runs to north to south as the other two do through Quito. The stations for the Metrobus are one long gray station with one side for busses running north and the other station (they are connected, but look like two stations) going south. They always say which way they are running on the doorway in.
Ofelia: Estacion Ofelia is in the north of Quito and all of the busses that go north of the city leave from here. There is no central station in Quito. So if you are going somewhere north of Quito, the bus leaves from Ofelia. You can get to this station by taking the Metrobus all the way north. It’s a fairly nice station; all of the platforms have roofs over them, but a majority of the station is outside.
Quitumbre: This is the main bus station in the south. As with Ofelia, all busses going south of Quito begin in Quitumbre. This station is very new. It’s got a ton of offices from different companies to buy tickets from and the windows are arranged according to the part of the country where the company runs. For example, all of the companies that go to the coast are situated together. There is also a large shopping and eating area in Quitumbre with ATMs; something that Ofelia does not have. To get to Quitumbre, take the Trolebus all the way south.
A note about using the bus: be protective of your things! Myself, and a few of my friends have been robbed on the bus. Don’t get on a crowded bus with things in your back pockets and keep your bags in front of you. Even Ecuadorians wear their backpacks on their front while on the bus. These robberies are never violent, just someone putting their hand in your bag or cutting the side; just keep an eye on your things whenever you’re on the bus.