Public Transportation

La Paz’s system of public transportation is unlike anything I’ve ever seen before.  All day, every day, the streets are flooded with minibuses, sedans, and sometimes SUVs that have signs with the names of different neighborhoods of the city in the front windows.  They almost look like airport-to-hotel shuttles.  Above the streets, teleféricos, or gondolas, fly overhead.  Even more strange and foreign to an American, whenever the cars are stopped at red lights, people get in and out of them as they please.  After a month of living here, I am still amazed how it’s safe.  These cars are called minibuses for the vans and trufis for the normal-sized cars, and they are the primary means of transportation around the city.  La Paz, like many other big cities, has a problem when it comes to finding parking, making it very hard to get around within the city when driving your own vehicle.  The minibuses and trufis solve that problem.  They’re like uber pools, but with scheduled routes and extremely cheap fares.  A ride within your zone of the city in a minibus costs 2 Bolivianos, and a trufi ride costs 2.50 or 3B.  That’s less than 50 cents per ride. In America, even a short taxi ride would cost a minimum of $10.  As I’m preparing to go home to America, I’m actually going to miss the ease of transportation that is here.  I think Americans should take note from Bolivians; they seem to have perfected the art of easy, affordable, efficient public transportation.

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