Buses

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Mexican bus service is truly remarkable, and the common expression “wherever there’s a road, there’s a bus” is no exaggeration. There are several hundred bus lines in Mexico, and though service varies from Pullman-style, air-conditioned luxury to butt-bruising “chicken buses,” they’ll get you there somehow. There are three major categories of bus service: lujo (luxury class), primera (first class) and segunda (second class).

Competition with regional airlines and between rival bus companies has created an amazing class of luxury “superbuses” with Pullman-style comforts and VIP terminal facilities that rival first-class jet travel. As bus companies scramble for a share of the market, new buses are being rolled out every month.

Luxury buses are easy to identify: Most are huge “stratoliner” types, with very high profiles, oversized tinted windows and lavish paint jobs. Their names are equally grand: Primera Plus Express, Serviconfort Uno, Pullman, Ejecutivo and so on. Among the services and frills offered: assigned seats that actually recline rather than just rattle, bathrooms, fully extending leg rests, pillows, snacks and beverages, “flight” attendants, video movies, functioning reading lights and a No Fumar (No Smoking) policy.

Terminal service is also impressive and may include private waiting rooms, restrooms, baggage checking and advance reservations. Some of these buses are so new, however, that they don’t yet have terminal space, especially in smaller cities. In this case, look for parked luxury buses on the street and ask the driver for directions to the terminal or temporary office.

The above text is excerpted from The People’s Guide to Mexico by Carl Franz & Lorena Havens. All rights reserved.