Despite being only 25 cents a ride and having routes that can take you anywhere in the city and several routes to nearby towns and sights, I’m 80% positive the buses in Quito are from hell. (but at least a ride to the Inferno will be cheap!)
First off, I’m pretty sure there was some kind of sale on charter buses because every city bus is essentially a giant charter bus. They aren’t just regular charter buses though, they are super-revved up charter buses (coincidentally the only kind of buses you’ll find in hell). I’m talking like Dale Einhart Jr. buses that can go from 0 to 60 in about 5 seconds and are not under any apparent emission standard. The bus driver’s have zero shame in stepping on the gas pedal like there’s no tomorrow. Seriously, if you’re crossing the street in front of one of these bad boys, you better be a fast runner because there is no slowing down, especially for pedestrians.
This morning’s ride was slightly worse as I learned that if the bus is full, you’re way better off just waiting for the next one. Well I wish I knew that this morning as I hopped on the bus, had no room to go in and just held on for dear life at the stairs till the next stop. Mom, if you’re reading this I promise this was just a one time thing!! Luckily, another woman hopped on soon after me and served as my buffer between my body and the ground.
Quito buses are also notorious for simply ignoring established bus stops. With one yell, you can have your bus driver stop in the middle of a busy street or on the flip side, if you’re not paying attention, you can completely miss your stop. One advantage to being a female, however, is that the bus actually stops completely for you. I’ve seen countless men have to sprint to get on the bus and even met a boy at school who broke his leg trying to get on. So I guess, in some sense I do feel lucky that I can actually step on a bus that is at a complete halt for me.
* I just learned today that the bus drivers work in cooperatives but usually the bus driver is also the owner of the bus and profits from having more riders. However, you would think bus drivers would look out for each other in a cooperative but instead they tend to compete with each other to gain the most riders, thus, the high speeds.