The Bus

Taking public transportation in Playa

~ By Marin

I was the last of the 3 Playa house 1 housemates to arrive in January. That first evening in playa, my housemates took me around to show me a little bit of what they’d seen so far. This meant taking the bus. I’m no stranger to public transportation in foreign countries, but having to learn a new system is always a little daunting for me. Luckily public transportation in Playa is well organized and with a few days of experience under my belt, I was comfortable taking the bus by myself wherever I needed to go.

There are two types of busses here. There are “TUCSA” which are the full size busses that make frequent stops and take a while to get anywhere. The busses to and from where we live are generally pretty crowded; there are certain hours of the day where they are less densely packed, but for the most part you end up having to stand. The second type are called “convis”. Convis are vans that make less frequent stops and drive a lot faster than TUCSA busses do. For the first probably 2 months, all I took were TUCSA busses. I was less comfortable with the idea of taking a convi, for some reason they seemed less user-friendly, and more crowded and jostle-y. But one afternoon, after having 3 busses that were all jam-packed full of passengers drive by me, I decided I needed to try taking a convi.

As the convi pulled up and the door slid open, I got more and more nervous. A whole bunch of thoughts were running through my head as I climbed aboard: “what if I have to stand?”, “what if I fall over?”, “what if I miss my stop?”, “what do I say when I want to get off?”. But as I handed the driver my 7 peso fare, held on to the handrails, and the convi started moving, I realized it was all going to be fine, and was going to be easier than taking the bus. When convi arrived at my stop in half the time the bus normally took, and it was easier to get off since there weren’t as many people to squeeze past on my way to the door, I was sold.

Since taking a convi for the first time and figuring out the ins-and-outs of riding them, they’ve become my go to mode of transportation. I really enjoy taking busses and convis now. They’re fast, they’re cheaper than taxis, and they’re kind of fun to ride. I’ll definitely miss the ease and accessibility of public transportation in Playa.