Colombian minibuses


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They are devils on four wheels. The minibuses of Bogotá are reckless; they do whatever they wish, drive however they want, because they think they are the only vehicles on the roads.

Their signature annoyance practice is to take over you, get in front of you and then stop, so that they can pick up customers in the shortest possible amount of time. Yes, so suddenly you find the road ahead of you blocked. You have to make extra effort to pull away to move on. But then before you knew it, the same buseta that you have moved away from managed to cut back in front of you because it’s in a hurry to get more passengers. So, advice for Bogotá driving – do not drive on the inside lane (unless you have no choice!)

Apart from being the nuisance on Bogotá’s roads, their damage to the city is mainly in the pollution they make. As they exhale their trademark clouds of black smoke, so bad that you think they’re fueled by coal, commuters around them feel ever more unhealthy.

But apparently the situation has already been improved. The city now has 7,000 less busetas than before, thanks to Transmilenio.

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12 comments

  1. Busetas are simply the worst!!! They are the biggest expression of a weak institutions; the Local Governments of the last decades are the ones to blame. Unsafe way to transport citizens while polluting the city. This business is controlled by unethical businessmen who finance the mayor and city counsil campaigns… A real democratic an egalitarian society should not allow this kind of public transport system… They are the city cancer

    1. wow! I see you’re very passionate about this city cancer issue..!

    2. Wow.. Sounds dark..
      Why is this country plagued by the chronic problem of corruption? Was discussing with my Spanish teacher today. He told me that the roads in Ecuador are much better than those in Colombia, less frequent tolls, cheaper tolls; here there are higher tolls, more tolls, more tax – car tax, insurance tax.. But the roads are awful!
      And Colombia is meant to have a bigger and stronger economy than Ecuador!
      We need to bring Colombia forward to civilization! We need to bring on the roads!

      1. We need to bring more Chinese, Koreans and Japanese people to Colombia and let them build infrastructure, create new industries and farm the land…

  2. As I know most of Colombians – not only Bogotanos – and international visitors to the city agree, I do completely share the opinions above. Thank you Jessica for quoting such an important and obvious issue in your blog. It is really shameful for Colombian citizens to still have in the capital of the country such a disgusting public transport system. There are so many and critical the problems it generates as well as the bad image it creates for the city, that it would be a very long and dramatic list just to quote them… Not to mention the roads network in Bogota and around the country… As one of the readers above mentions, unfortunately it is a cancer clearly down to extreme levels of unethical behaviour and their apparent tacit acceptance by leaders and the population… Anyway, it is clear that the day Bogota switches its current public transport system to a uniform, well organized and good standards provision one, that day Bogota could finally aspire to have a place of at least minimum dignity as a city in the international scene..

    1. YES!
      I doubt that some of these buseta drivers even really earned their licence.. probably bought.. the way they drive is despicable..
      We need to LOBBY for a modernised transport system to make Bogota an international city that is civilised and developed!

  3. […] it was pouring outside. I have mentioned before that when it rains here, it’s a downpour. A buseta was just pulling over. Some passengers were trying to get off. There was a puddle right in front of […]

  4. Realmente esto es increíble. Los felicito! ustedes hacen la diferencia y por ello los sigo.

  5. […] previously written about the busetas of Bogotá, the bad boy minibuses. Their aggressive tendency is like the killer high speed […]

  6. […] to experience the warm and fuzzy feeling among human beings. Passengers help each other on these busetas. It’s quite a strange sight, especially given the stigma of asking a passerby on the streets for […]

  7. […] extreme case to illustrate the extent of Colombians’ politeness is on the buseta. The buseta, as I have said before, is the worst kind of transport you can ever imagine. From the way the […]

  8. […] the exact change or coins out of your wallet before boarding the buseta or Transmilenio – never take your wallet out on the streets, never put all your cash in one […]

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