Getting around Montevideo by car

Getting around Montevideo

The Old Town and the Centre (downtown) of Montevideo are compact enough to explore on foot. To get from either to the beach suburbs of Punta Carretas and Pocitos you will probably need transport: taxi or bus. Montevideo has no underground (subway).

Taxi: Good news! Montevideo’s taxi drivers are, in our opinion, honest and invariably helpful. Taxis are hailed in the street or picked up at a taxi rank. They use a meter that clocks up a number of units (fichas) which have to be converted into the fare you pay by consulting a fare chart, which is displayed in the back of each cab. Flag drop is $22 during the day (not Sundays) and $26 at night and all day Sundays and on Bank Holidays. The chart is shaded light pink on one side to show the Sunday and night-time fares. Taxi drivers are duty bound to take the shortest route, but depending on your destination may prefer to take the Rambla as it is often faster: they will ask you about this first. The average fare from the Centre to Pocitos is US$4 or US$5. Note that it is sometimes difficult to find a taxi in the Centre from about 4 pm to 7 pm weekdays. It can also be difficult to find one at Montevideo port (where the catamaran from Buenos Aires arrives). Note, too, that you’ll test the good humour of your driver if you had over a $1000 note and expect him to give you change.

Bus: Montevideo’s bus system is safe and cheap, if not particularly clean. Problem is, there are no maps of the system or timetables posted at stops. Taking a bus will often mean checking your route with a local; Montevideanos do this all the time. You pay the driver or conductor as you enter, always at the front of the bus. You do not need exact change (as in Buenos Aires) nor is there a turnstile to pass through (as in several Brazilian cities). Fares: short hop in the downtown district plus bus CA1 to Las Cruces long-distance coach terminal, $9; standard fare city-wide, $17; express bus, e.g. bus D1 to Carrasco, $21. The 121 bus route is useful and very frequent. It runs from the Old Town through the Centre to Pocitos (along Avenida Brasil) and then makes a right to Punta Carretas. There are no day passes or similar time-saving products on offer to visitors.

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