TITSA, a 30 year journey on a ticket to pride.

What better way to celebrate the 30 th birthday of TITSA, the Tenerife government owned public bus company, than with a trip on one of their trusty steeds to the main bus station in the capital, Santa Cruz, to join in the party.

Santa Cruz station

The name TITSA is derived from Transportes Interurbanos de Tenerife and in their 30 year history their buses have covered 1,000 million kms, that’s 36.5 million kms a year, and while I’m wheeling out the stats, they have 1,700 staff and 604 buses.

Gripping my Bono, multi journey ticket, I caught the 110 direct bus from Los Cristianos to Santa Cruz, and just an hour and 4.45 euros later, we glided into the top tier of the main station, caught between the shadow of the high rise Corte Ingles super store, and the hook nosed auditorium. If you are not already aware, I’m a big fan of the Tenerife bus service, pretty reliable and at your service 365 days a year, it is my magic carpet to many remote and bizarre places. Not only do they run on christmas day and all Canarian holidays, they also put on specail extras for events like Carnaval and last Fridays Gloria Estafan concert, on the outskirts of the capital.

The bus station had a big revamp a few years ago to allow the front to house one terminal of the new tram service. The top tier now has the stops for the island wide services, the second is home to those serving the capital and it’s outlying district, and the ground floor is split between a large underground car park and the main concourse. This main area is bright and airy due to high glass windows on all sides, and has a pretty decent cafe area that does tapas and main meals. In the centre of the open area I found the promised birthday exhibition.

Birthday display

Not quite what I expected, a series of large stacked cubes with scenes of the companies history depicted on all the faces, no birthday cake or champers – shame, maybe they are just modest. The Tenerife government are weighing in with their own birthday present, 150 million euros between now and 2012. It will be used for new buses, new routes, increased frequencies, new stops and new bus lanes, this Wednesday 45 new environmentally friendly buses will be presented to TITSA – pity the councillor that has to gift wrap that lot.

With no sign of any party hats or jelly and ice cream, I thought it best to head off exploring, then I remembered a sculpture exhibition at Casa de la Cultura, that I had intended to look at earlier in its September long run. After taking the tram to Teatro Guimera for some food and drink, I sussed out that 2 streets back and just up Calle Miraflores, I could catch a 026 bus up to the north of Santa Cruz to Parque la Granja and the library cum exhibition hall on the corner. Built in 1995, said the plaque, but the building looked old and a bit neglected, after a quick look in the vast and well equipped library I followed the signs down the stairs to the Sala La Granja and the large plain white room where Vision de Genero (vision of gender) by local sculptor Rosa Hernandez was on display.

Vision de Genero

The 12 female figures splayed in their death throes on the floor, oozed small pools of sand to represent blood and were certainly haunting and different. With my culture quota satisfied, I headed back down into the heart of Santa Cruz, past the altogether more cheery Parque la Granja, well kept and speckled with joggers and students. Passing the heart warming sight of CD Tenerife’s ground below me, and crossing Barranco Santos, I was soon at La Paz for a quick snack before heading down to the Plaza de España and back to the bus station.

Bus Station

The new trams struck a nice contrast with the TITSA buses swarming into the station, and there is even a specially decorated tram for the TITSA birthday. Maybe in just under 29 years, the trams will have their own 30th birthday to mark, in the meantime I shall raise a beer to the jolly green buses, many happy returns.