Where’s the bus?

Have you ever got on the wrong bus in a strange town?  [I once got on the wrong plane – but more about that another time.]

I was waiting for the No.1 bus on Alameda Principal (Malaga) yesterday when some tourists came, obviously unsure where the bus they wanted stopped. I looked around the shelter which, like all bus stops in Malaga, listed the buses that stopped there, but there was no diagram of the avenue giving where the different buses stopped – as there often is.

For those of you unfamiliar with Malaga, you may be wondering why having no map is a problem. Almost all city buses stop along Alameda – there are dozens of bus stops and even Malagueños don’t know where all the buses stop.

The No.1 bus stop is the first bus stop in the avenue that tourists approach from the tourist sites, and rather isolated from the others. So it’s imperative to have as much information there for them. These ladies were unaware there were other bus stops.

Is it so difficult to have a diagram at every bus stop? Malaga public transport is so excellent and inexpensive, but information is not obvious to tourists.

How many know where to get the free city map showing all the bus routes? (from the bus drivers’ office on one of the islands in the middle of Alameda)  Is it available in the Tourist Office? It should be.

How many know where to get the bus pass that gives a 30% discount? Maybe they think it’s not worth while, but it’s not specific to person. Load 20 journeys into the card and a family of 4 can make 5 journeys.

I query whether the tourist office has the info because when I wanted to know about the metro lines it was the first place I tried. I can’t accuse them of not trying to help but, though searching the Internet, they just couldn’t help. Yet tourists would expect them to know. They advised me to go to the metro company’s office – what tourist would ever find it? – or even bother?

It remined me of when I was in Brunswick in Georgia USA. I went to the tourist office to ask how to get to Savannah.  “Just turn here and go straight on.” “Erm. I don’t have a car.”  “She doesn’t have a car! She doesn’t have a car! How does she get to Savannah without a car?”  There was much shaking of heads.  “A bus?” I suggested.  “Oh, yes. There must be a bus. Isn’t there? Does anone know where the bus station is?”