Public transport throughout Chile is very good.
Santiago boasts an exceptionally clean and modern underground metro system, a modern fleet of eco-buses, thousands of taxis and “colectivo” taxis that follow a set route, and inter-city buses offer an extremely comfortable and inexpensive way to travel between the cities. As far as aeronautical services are concerned, Lan Chile offers a modern fleet of aircraft linking all main cities the length of the country.
Public Bus Network
In 2007 the public bus transport system underwent a complete overhall and the older, noisy, polluting buses were taken off the streets to be replaced by modern, eco-friendly, quieter buses and operated by a new company called Transantiago. The only problem was that not enough of these new buses were put onto the streets and this, combined with a change in the bus routes resulted in complete chaos for people using the bus and metro network.
The system is now better, but still congested. There are now designated bus stops from where passengers can board buses, whereas before the introduction of the Transantiago system buses would stop anywhere. Passengers MUST have a PREPAID ticket called a "BIP" ticket, only available for purchase at specified sales points, including in the Metro stations as the Metro and Transantiago operate a combined ticketing system. The prepaid cards operate via a swipe system as you board the bus or go through the metro platform entrance gate.
Taxis vary between the good level with good driver to less-than-reliable with questionable drivers. By law the taxi has to operate a taxi metre and give you a receipt.
This is a taxi that follows a set route and has a set fare i.e. not metered.
In Santiago, the metro is excellent, clean, reliable and cheap. You need to by a "Bip" prepaid card prior to travelling on the metro and this will be automatically swiped each time you pass through the platform entrance barrier.
Inter-City Public Buses
Inter-city public transport is usually very good. For long journeys the busses offer executive class comfort and on-board services.
Santiago Prinicipal Intercity Bus Stations are:
- For North &South:Terminal de Buses Santiago, Metro Universidad de Santiago (Southern Exit).
- For Vina del Mar/Valpariso: Terminal de Buses Alameda, Metro Universidad de Santiago (Southern Exit).
- For North & South:Terminal de Buses San Borja, Metro Estacion Central (Southern Exit).
- For Argentina: Terminal de Buses Santiago, Metro Universidad de Santiago (Southern Exit).