In Ecuador, the capital city of Quito is a ground transportation hub, and one can reach virtually every place in the country by hopping on a bus. During the second week of July, the Municipal Division of Transportation and Public Works (EMMOP for its initials in Spanish) decided to close down one of the busiest bus station in the country, also known as Cumandá Bus Station. Transportation authorities decided to do so because the old terminal was unable to attend to the number of passengers moving around the country, even though the station was conveniently and centrally located in Old Town. In addition, officials stated that its system was inefficient and outdated for the needs of passengers. In its place, two new bus stations opened: one located in Southern Quito in Quitumbe, for all routes to the south and the other in Northern Quito in Carcelén, for bus routes to the north.
Now, instead of heading to the Cumandá Station where all buses used to depart, passengers must now make their way to one of the stations depending on their destination. This has generated confusion and has caused passengers to spend more time figuring out the new system and from where their bus departs, than the the actual length of time that it would take to travel to their destination.
Carei es Carei [es] deployed a number of six journalists to investigate about the benefits, traffic, costs, and information for crossing Quito in order to arrive to any of these terminals. They found that passengers will need between 90 and 107 minutes to either arrive to Quitumbe or Carcelén if they prefer to arrive by city bus. For those using a taxi service, they might need 35-55 minutes to arrive. However, for those arriving to the Quitumbe Station coming from The Valle de los Chillos:
A esa hora [7 am, los viernes] es imposible tomar una unidad vacía y los viajeros se acomodan apretadamente en el bus 3632 para llegar hasta La Marín, en Quito. Los empujones y pisotones son inevitables. Subir con maletas es casi imposible. El bus tarda 43 minutos hasta llegar al playón de La Marín.
Allí no hay información para los usuarios que deseen llegar a Quitumbe. Dos policías de tránsito no atinan a contestar ¿qué bus tomar para llegar a la nueva terminal?
At that hour [7 a.m. on Fridays], it is impossible to take an uncrowded bus and passengers fit tightly on the bus 3632 to get to La Marin, in Quito. Being pushed and being stepped upon are inevitable. To board with luggage is almost impossible. The bus takes 43 minutes to reach La Marín.
There is no information for passengers who wish to arrive to Quitumbe. Two traffic policemen cannot answer the question “what bus you should take to reach the new terminal?”
The EMMAP aims to cut down costs, travel time, overall pollution, and noise with the construction of the two new terminals. Navigating the new routes to arrive might be a bit of a headache at first, even for the locals. However, once passengers arrive to the new stations, for some it is worth the trouble of the time and effort. Nati Wolf of Chica de la Luna [es] lives nearby the southern station and decided to see things for herself by visiting the Quitumbe Station where she was pleasantly surprised:
La curiosidad mató a la lobita y así fue que me aventuré a conocer la nueva terminal “Quitumbe” en el Sur de Quito. Desde mi casa hasta allí me demoré como 5 minutos y al llegar estaba tan perdida como el resto, pero al final estuve paseando por todos lugares posibles y hasta me convertí en guía, jeje. Me gustó mucho como está ordenado y hay bastantes personas en diferentes puntos dispuestos a ayudar a los viajeros que llegan a la terminal.
Las boleterías a los distintos destinos, están divididas por regiones. También podemos encontrar allí mismo lugares para comer, comprar regalos, ropa, etc. Es un gran cambio para los que estaban acostumbrados a ir a la terminal de la Cumandá, que a mi criterio, ya parecía cárcel, por lo oscuro y desordenado.
I became very curious and so I ventured to see the new terminal “Quitumbe” in Southern Quito. It took me 5 minutes to get from my house to the terminal and by the time I arrived, I was as lost as much as the rest, but in the end I walked around all of the possible areas and even I became a guide, ha ha. I liked how everything is orderly, and there are enough people in different points ready to assist travelers who arrive at the terminal.
The ticket counters for various destinations are divided by regions. There are also places to eat, buy presents, clothes, etc. It is a huge change for those that were used to going to the Cumandá Station, which in my opinion, appeared to be a prison, because it was dark and disorganized.
For more pictures of the new Quitumbe Station, please visit her Flickr page.