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Published: March 31st 2012
Can I just say that the United States needs to take some notes on how to do public transportation? The Valparaíso-Viña region has it down pat. I honestly never knew public transportation could be so useful and FREAKING CHEAP! Did I forget to say FREAKING CHEAP!? Over here families don't have more than one car. The only time my host family uses theirs is to take the whole family to church and the mom uses it for work every now and then. There's not really a need to drive the car since gas is expensive and the public transportation is so efficient. Back home in Texas, I hate riding Dart because it's not very cheap and it takes FOREVER to get ANYWHERE. It's a major pain in the butt. To go somewhere on Dart, you have to look up bus schedule times (that might not fit your schedule) and then leave the house way early to have a chance of getting to where you're going on time. And that's the not so bad part. The bad part is when you're hauling towards the bus stop and you see the bus breeze right past you. Imagine this coupled with the awful realization
that it'll be another 30 minutes to an hour before the next one comes. Then you have no choice but to stand outside looking crazy (in the cold or blazing heat by the way) for at least another half hour. Oh and then you're late to where ever you were going. I know. Sounds like fun right?
Well let me say I've yet to have that problem here in Chile. Let me introduce you to transportation utopia. 1. No schedules!!
Yes that's right. NONE. As a result, there's no anxiety about "missing the bus" because if you do, there will be another one in 10 minutes or less. And if you don't feel like waiting, you can catch a colectivo
! Oh baby! I'm lovin' it. There's more time to live life and enjoy it, free of a constraining schedule. In the States, if I was taking public transportation, I'd have to be on edge and under stress to make sure I'm at the bus stop on time because if not, it's going to be a grueling wait. Here, when I'm out with friends, we get to the bus stop whenever we get there because we know it's usually
only a 5 minute wait if one at all. Pretty sweet! 2. They put the petal to the metal!
These people aren't messin' around. No more worries about the bus taking forever to get somewhere. Los conductores
drive like driving is about to go out of style! Every day I'm still astounded by the rapidez
(speed). A little scary, but always fun! 3. It's dirt cheap!
It only costs 70 cents (USD) to ride the micro one way and only a dollar to catch a colectivo
(a taxi with a set route). ¡Es impresionante!
It's amazing! The metro (subway) cost 70 cents one way as well. And it gets better. When I use my student discount, I can ride the micro for 25 cents!! Now that's what I'm talking about!
4. It goes everywhere!
Viña del Mar and Valparaíso are two huge sister cities right next to each other and there are multiple buses circulating throughout. There's no place that I can't get to by taking a bus or a colectivo
. And the bus stops are very frequent so you don't have to walk far.
I don't think it could be any better. :-)
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