Living in Santiago de Chile?
Public Transport in Santiago
Santiago de Chile has one of the most extensive public transportation services in the entire continent of South America, so make sure you take full advantage of it! Read on to receive a comprehensive overview of the key transportation options if driving in Santiago is not for you.
Taxis and Bikes
Taxis are easily identified. They are usually black cars with yellow roofs, but all of them have orange number plates. It is only by this feature that you can be sure you are entering a legitimate taxi. Try and travel by taxi with a local Chilean. If this is not possible, make sure to speak Spanish, otherwise, you will almost definitely have to pay an excessively high rate.
Santiago has been named as the top Latin American city when it comes to promoting bikes as a mode of transportation. However, while Santiago is improving its bike lanes, most cyclists simply prefer to ride their bikes among the normal street traffic. Although locals usually forego the use of helmets, this is probably not a great idea for someone new to Santiago traffic.
A Bus to Every Corner of Chile
Buses in Santiago are operated by Transantiago. This company is actually responsible for Santiago’s entire public transportation system. This means that local bus lines have been integrated both with main bus lines and with the metro network. The fares are also integrated, so transfers between bus and metro are easy to make on a single ticket.
Although the Transantiago site is only available in Spanish, a map of all of their routes (bus and metro) can be found on their official website.
There are several bus terminals in Santiago. The main one is Terminal Santiago, which provides buses to all destinations in Chile as well as all South American countries, excluding Bolivia. For more local transportation within the neighboring areas of Santiago, use Terminal San Borja, Terminal La Cisterna, and Terminal La Paz.
The Santiago Metro
The Santiago metro has just undergone renovations which have added and extended lines to serve previously unconnected parts of the city. At the moment, the extensive metro has five lines, carrying over two million passengers on a daily basis. The metro is run by a company called Metro de Santiago. Unfortunately, their website is in Spanish only. However, UrbanRail provides some useful information in English.
Trains In and Out of Santiago
The Central Station — Estación Central — can be easily accessed by bus or subway. TerraSur trains, which are operated by Chile's national railway company, Empresa de los Ferrocarriles del Estado (EFE), connect Santiago’s Central Station to Chillán, in the south-central part of the country.
The Metrotrén is a Chilean commuter rail system. Their website is in Spanish only, but the route planner is straightforward to operate in spite of this. Trains connect Santiago de Chile with 17 communes, all the way to Linares. Trains are connected with the Metro de Santiago at the Alameda station.
Santiago is located 15 minutes from Comodoro Arturo Merino Benítez International Airport. This is Chile’s main airport and is known to be one of the busiest in the world. Buses connect the airport to the city center’s Terminal Pajaritos on a regular basis.
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