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mi ciudad | by Miguel Centellas | May 27, 2004 at 04:06 PM | comments (1) | trackback (0)

Transportation in La Paz is quite varied. There are taxis, radio taxis, trufis, minibuses, and micros. Taxis & radio taxis will take you where you want. The only difference is you can call radio taxis to a specific place by phone (hence, radio) and are marked by a plastic banner over the car. There are several radio taxi fleets in the city.

Also, radio taxis charge the same per trip, regardless of number of passangers. Whereas taxis will charge lower amounts, but will charge per person. This means it's cheaper to take a radio taxi in a group; it's cheaper to take a regular taxi if alone.

After taxis, come trufis. These are cheaper than taxis, but run a specific route (like a bus). They're marked w/ signs that tell you where they go and cost Bs. 3 for pretty much any distance. They're faster than minibuses & micros, but are used only by middle class & above, since they're expensive.

Most common public transportation are minibuses & micros. Micros are the large mammoth buses that crawl through the city. While micros are the slowest form of public transportation, they're the cheapest. The poorest people use buses almost exclusively.

Perhaps the most common & typically paceño public transport's the minibus (or "mini"). These are small (very small) vans that cruise the city almost carelessly on specific routes. There's always a chauffeur who drives, and a young boy or girl who yells out the destinations (even though they're marked on placards) & collects the passengers' fees. You can get from Plaza del Estudiante (on the Prado) down to San Miguel (Zona Sur) for Bs. 1.50. Despite their small size, minibuses can hold between 12-15 passengers. There are also even smaller minibuses that run only short routes (e.g. Plaza Murillo to Plaza Avaroa).

Click on any image to see larger version.

Also, all public transportation in La Paz is privately owned. There are independent taxis, but most belong to one of the several transportation syndicates. Most syndicates own fleets of taxis, minibuses, trufis, and micros (as well as inter-city bus lines). Radio taxi fleets are owned by private companies which may or may not be allied to a transportation syndicate.


hi miguel,

just wanted to say i appreciate your photo-essay chronicling of the quotidian in la paz... good stuff. i've occasionally stopped in on and always enjoyed your blog since i backpacked through bolivia two months ago.

thanks for sharing...

Posted by priya | May 30, 2004 07:36 PM

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