Quito’s Bus System


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.

8 Comments on “Quito’s Bus System

  1. Thanks for the tips! The bus system does seem confusing, and we’ve been here for 5 weeks! (we’re living in Cumbaya until August).

    Thanks again and happy travels!

  2. Hi,
    I want to know about trole in America street and 12 de octubre and also all blue buses with the name of stations also name of buses,because it’s complicated and i don,t know if i wanna go somewhere i should take which one?

  3. So, you would take the Trolebus to the south and not the Metrobus? If I am coming from North of Quito and want to just zip through Quito and head South, like to Cuenca, then does the bus from say Cotacacchi to Quito end at Ofelia and I could hop the Metrobus from their to Quitumbre, and from there to Cuenca?
    This is a great post and is very helpful. Thank you.

  4. Dear Pam,
    Yes, you would take the Trolebus to the Quitumbre station in the south of Quito to go to any city south of Quito. You would have to transfer from the Metrobus to the Trolebus to do this; really it would be just walking from the Metrobus to Trolebus stations when you find ones that are close. (Remember that the three lines run basically parallel through Quito, so if you study a map of the city bus lines you should be able to find two stations that are close to one another.) Conversely, you could also take a taxi to the nearest Trolebus station.

    I hope this helps!

  5. Hey Blove,

    I’m traveling from the airport to a location just off the Manuela Canizares station on the Ecovia line. What would be the best bus route to take. Currently the only option I think I have is to take the Metrobus south to La Y to get on the Trolebus to head south to somehow get my way onto the Ecovia line. Is there a better option or is that the best route?

  6. Dear BardT,
    That’s how I would do it. If you get off the Metrobus at La Y and and then onto the? Ecovia line at the Jipijapa stop, you will only need to walk a few blocks. Alternatively, consider taking a taxi either between the two or directly to the Jipijapa? station. Either way, try to avoid being on the lines during rush hour with lots of bags (this is when people will slip things out of pockets-most likely while smiling at you).
    Good luck in your trip and enjoy Quito!

  7. Hi Blove,

    Thank you, I can’t wait. I have one more question about Quitumbe. Is there somewhere I could find a bus schedule. I want to know when or how regularly buses leave for Puyo. I found some information on another blog, but I am not sure how reliable it is or if the companies/times/terminal have changed.


  8. Hi BardT,

    Sadly, there isn’t really anywhere online to find the bus schedules for Quitumbre. You could look up something like ‘bus from Quito to Puyo’ and see which companies come up and view their schedules, but this list may not be comprehensive. The Quitumbre station simply does not have a website with all schedules listed.

    Really, the best way to determine what schedule you want is to go to the station ahead of time and look. The bus ticket windows are separated by region, so just find the correct region for Puyo and ask for the schedules/timetables. Then you can purchase your ticket in advance.

    I hope this helps some!