Archive for April 19th, 2008
AeroBus 488 – the ghost bus


Heading for the Costa Adeje triathlon at La Caleta, I thought I would try out the new 488 Titsa bus route between Reina Sofia south airport and La Caleta. For those who have not heard the sorry saga that unfolded since it’s launch last Saturday, I will get you seething with indignation as I recap on the scandalous events.

The Titsa bus company is owned and run by the Tenerife Cabildo (government) and as part of their attempt to show, our dwindling tourists, how user friendly the island is, they came up with this cracking idea of a new bus route with buses every hour or better and 48 stops between the airport and La Caleta, The route was to serve the main tourist hotels of Los Cristianos, Playa de las Americas, Fañabe, Torviscas, Costa Adeje and La Caleta all for a flat rate of 5 euros.

The scene was set with new stops, glossy colour leaflets and even staff to point visitors in the right direction at the airport. Take a bow Tenerife Cabildo, a wonderful and helpful idea, but here come the bad guys, the Tenerife taxi drivers. Seeing their income under attack, they were up in arms and threatened to strike, of course they weren’t gonna be happy, but that’s business, they could always lower their rather high prices. The taxi drivers seem to be able to apply incredible political pressure, and the Cabildo caved in like an England batting line up and agreed to reduce the 48 stops to just 7.

Anyway I tried the bus today, getting on in Los Cristianos, thinking that less stops would make it an express service and cheaper -WRONG. The 5 euro flat fare applies no matter where you get on or off and although I paid with a Bono ticket, there was no saving on the price, as there is on all other buses and even the Santa Cruz tram. There were only 2 of us passengers on the bus, me and an empty packet of crisps, and I suspect it didn’t pay. We still went all round the hotels, but didn’t stop, and the trip took over half an hour, so you can make that an hour from the airport.

The AeroBus is different from the other Titsa buses, it has less seats, 34, I had plenty of time to count, instead it has loads of open baggage space inside and also seems to have very little suspension, in fact it reminded me of those shuttle buses that run from the airport terminal to the plane.

I have seen the AeroBus go through Los Cristianos in the week and it never has more than 2 passengers on it, maybe they are lost souls, doomed to travel forever on this ghost bus. Since the bus was hamstringed in mid week, all the leaflets have been withdrawn and the new stops changed, so passengers have no idea of the timetable anyway, and the displayed destination, La Caleta is not an overly familiar name to anyone coming through at the airport. The leaflet also showed changes to other routes including airport stops for the night service of the 111 Santa Cruz to Las Americas bus and several airport night stops on the AeroBus timetable, I assume these have now been scrapped.

So as the AeroBus drives off into the sunset, empty and unloved, we raise our glasses to those wonderfully caring taxi drivers and ask them, just when did we elect them to run the Tenerife  government.