Riding the Tren Urbano Transit System…
One of my goals was to try out the Caribbean’s only mass transit system. It costs a buck-50 each way so its pretty cheap. It cuts across the Greater San Juan Metroplex serving several communities. Its just under 11 miles long with 16 stations spread along it. Puerto Rico spent a pile of money setting it up and I wanted to see what the fuss was about. I had planned to get off at each station and photograph the (mandated) art that was unique to each station. Unfortunately, it rained real hard so it put a crimp in my plans. I should note that I have had great weather for this time of year so I do count my blessings. I took the B40 (about 5 blocks from my hotel) to get to the Rio Piedras station. From there, I rode the Tren Urbano, all the way to the end of the line in Bayamon. There was a strong police presence in and around the transit system so I felt pretty safe. Then I took a cab to the Plaza del Sol Mall since I needed to replace the 12 volt adapter I forgot, so I could use my laptop from the road. The Walmart there had what I needed. They also had washers, dryers and stoves too. Never saw that in a Walmart in Alaska. I saw t-shirts on sale, in the mall for as little as $2.50. A nice mall, as malls go. I still needed to score a battery charger for my digital SLR (since I forgot that too) and spotted a Batteries Plus from the cab. We did a U-turn and I was able to score one of those as well. Then back to the Bayamon station. I did ride the Tren Urbano all the way to the other end of the line in Sagrado Corazon. But like I say, it was raining ‘cats and dogs’ at that point. So I rode it back to Rio Piedras and caught the B40 back to other way, to my hotel. This bus does run through the airport in both directions.
I met a charming couple (from the mainland) who were going to be staying at the same hotel as I. They were well traveled and had great stories. Letting you on the bus with a bunch of luggage is at the discretion of the bus driver. I could not do that since I flew in around 1AM. I would love to come back and check out the different stops at another time. BTW- None of the generic stainless-steel bus stops I saw had much in the way of routes or schedules posted. You simply go and stand at one until your bus shows up. Ask your hotel staff which bus to catch.. they will know. I enjoyed it, but it would be frustrating for some folks. The cabs in greater San Juan are all white with little blue taxi signs on top. They very seldom drop the flag so you need to ask up-front what the trip will cost. A habit I got into real quick. Most of the taxies I saw were actually Chevy AstroVans which is convenient for luggage. However, they haven’t made those smaller vans in several years and its starting to show. I drive the All-Wheel-Drive version in Alaska.
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