Up until just a few years ago, Cozumel did not have reliable public transportation options. There were a couple of old dilapidated buses that circled through neighborhoods but the stops were at the whim of drivers and waiting intervals could be more than an hour. Consequently, virtually no one relied on the buses at all for getting around but folks would jump on occasionally if a bus happened to pull up at precisely the moment one was needed. "Waiting for the bus" was considered a big joke!
Each time citizens pressured the City to provide better public transportation, they were met with fierce opposition from the taxi unions. The City would discuss the matter in open forums with some seriousness but costs of new buses and ongoing maintenance were always an issue. The taxi unions would latch onto the problems and offer the citizens a quick "resolution" to public transportation by lowering their fares WITHIN THE CITY. The City officials would then table the bus purchase options for awhile to see if the taxi unions really did lower rates, etc. It is a tightrope that City officials walks because they depend on the taxi unions for election to office. As a result, as long as the citizens were not complaining, the taxi unions get to charge their outrageous fares to tourists because they have no other options.
However, as is always the case with greed, in general everyone is frustrated with the taxi unions and the fares they charge. It is not uncommon for even locals to be "victimized" by tarriff gouging these days. So
within the past four (4) years (under the adminstration of Gustavo), Cozumel has really tried to develop a reliable, affordable public transportation system with meaningful routes.
Because simply put - the taxi rates charged by the Cozumel taxi unions are driven by tourist demand, not local demand. A person living / working here on the island cannot afford to rely on taxis for transportation.
This current development of extensive, quality public transportation at an affordable price is a welcome change for the island and one that we are proud to be able to share with island visitors. Because of its immediate acceptance for use by all locals over taxis when possible, Cozumel's public bus system now is a very safe and inexpensive way to get around town.
While doing our research for this section of INSIDER, we discovered that there are simply so many different bus routes available now throughout the city that it is not feasible to present them all here. So we have selected some main, essential routes that we feel will be most helpful to island visitors.
Bus Transporation Essentials
Main Terminal Drop Off/Pick Up: Chedraui Plaza.
Route Information: Stops are written on the windshield of each bus.
Route Times: Daily 6:00am to 9:00pm (last run), but a slight delay on Sundays as supervisors have this day off.
Waiting Internval: 20-30 minutes.
Cost: $7 pesos (LESS THAN 1 USD!) for Adults, $3 pesos for children under 3yo or students and seniors with ID.
Additional information: Supervisors are available M-Sat at stops Chedraui, Av. 35 & Av. 65 and Juarez & Av. 90. There is always an English speaking supervisor at Chedraui.
The route that the bus intends to cover and stops to be made will be often handwritten and scrawled very informally in the front window with shoe polish or tape. So look on the windshield for the first clue as to whether to jump on or wait!
Keep in mind this public bus service is NOT publicized nor necessarily meant for tourists to use so do not get frustrated or angry at the lack of English spoken, signage or information available. This is Cozumel's first step toward providing public alternatives to the high priced taxis.
Public Bus Route: #4 Emiliano Zapato
Traverses Avenidas 10, 65 & 90
Centro de Salud
Public Bus Route: # 7
Multiple stops along Avenidas 30 & 65
Centro ( downtown)
Public Bus Route: Flamingos
Traverses Avenida 65
Public Bus Route: Norte
Corner of Andres Quintana Roo and 10 Av Sur
North on 10 Av Sur
Eats on Calle 4 Norte
North on PJ Coldwell
East on CAlle 12 Norte
South on 65 Ave
West on Calle 35 Sur
North on PJ Coldwell
to 10 AV Sur