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Public Transport in Lima

Living in Lima will give you a taste of life in South America. While you are experiencing life in this bustling city, you might need some guidance. Read on in this InterNations guide for information on what living in Lima is all about, including safety, currency, transportation, education, and housing.

Negotiating public transportation in Lima is certainly a tricky feat. In fact, don’t be too dismayed if it takes you a few months to get the hang of it. The disorganization often means that your means of transportation doesn’t arrive, or simply is not where it should be. As with anything, though, it is only a matter of time until you travel the city like a true Peruvian.

Public transportation is much in demand in Lima as 80% of residents use it as a means of getting around. However, just because it is popular doesn’t mean that it is fast. It is estimated that most limeños spend two to three hours a day in transit! You better bring a book along.

The Unusual Way of Getting Around: Micros

Micros are small, privately-owned vehicles that travel haphazardly across the city. The smallest are known as combis. Both types are usually made of recycled parts, or are old vehicles such as retired American school buses. There are around 60,000 micros operating in the city.

Micros are extremely inexpensive, and very convenient for making necessary trips from one part of Lima to another. However, they are also quite risky, accounting for an astounding 45% of all of Lima’s road accidents. If you are brave enough to ride one, look for a sticker on the windshield announcing the destination.

More Traditional: Bussing

The more traditional buses arrive and depart from Lima’s main bus terminal, located near the shopping center in Plaza Norte. These buses serve both national and international destinations, and follow routes which are far more regulated than those of their micro-counterparts.

Lima has also recently implemented El Metropolitano, a Bus Rapid Transportation (BRT) system. This route links the key locations throughout the Lima Metropolitan Area. Buses running on it can be determined by the Spanish initials COSAC 1, standing for the Independent Corridor of Mass Transit Buses.

Modern: Using the Metro

The Metro Lima was first planned in 1980. However, it has only been fully functional since 2011. A main line runs along 22 kilometers and stops at 16 stations, joining the southern part of Lima with the main city center. However, work is currently under way to build several more lines, including one that will connect the city to the airport. At the moment though, the metro will only be useful to you if you live within its very limited range.

Stay Classy — Call a Taxi

As an expat, getting a taxi is probably the easiest means of traveling around Lima if you do not have your own vehicle. Taxis are cheap, but fares should always be agreed upon in advance as there is no meter. Regular taxis are usually painted yellow, but all have a taxi sticker — with the word Setame, standing for Servicio de Taxi Metroplitano — on the windshield.

For more secure and professional transportation, call and order a taxi from the Taxi Seguro companies in the city. For more information and the phone numbers of taxis in the region, check the Info Taxi website.

Going by Plane

Lima is located near the Jorge Chavez International Airport, in Callao. This airport — the largest in Peru — operates plenty of domestic and international flights. It is a main transportation hub for Latin America, and is easy to navigate. Reaching the airport from the center of Lima is best done by taxi.

 

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Brandon Le Clerk

"During all my life as an expat (Lima is my fourth home abroad), I have been searching exactly for a networking platform like InterNations."

Maria Borges

"InterNations and the Lima Community helped me to learn a lot about Peru and the Peruvian culture -- not to mention Lima's nightlife. ;) "

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