TRANSPORT IN PERU (1) - Buses


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It was election time in Peru in early 2011, and this open-top Mirabus Hyundai 56-seater (No.1, VG-2086) took a break from tourist duties in Lima to promote candidates El Escudero and Castaneda (mayor of Lima) from the Congress party. They didn't win.

These pages review some of the transport items of interest that caught my eye during a fascinating trip to Argentina and Peru in February and March of 2011.

The various parts of this story are;

1. Argentina; Buses in Buenos Aires
2. Argentina; "The search for Di Tella". Classic British saloon cars made under licence in Argentina
3. Argentina; Air transport

4. Peru; Buses (this page)
5. Peru; Train travel in the high Andes
6. Peru; Air transport
7. Peru; Assorted transport


Last updated 13 January 2016

Peru is a vast country with a wide spectrum of transport interest. I have tried to capture a varied selection of items that we passed on our travels. This page looks at the buses, and we start in Lima, the capital city and major port on the Pacific Ocean coast. Double deckers are not common in Peru, but here's another one.

This is a sightseeing bus belonging to Turibus, based in Miraflores which was the coastal area of Lima in which we stayed. I think the licence plate is A4N-773. Does anyone know what it is?

Far more typical of the buses around Lima is this ETUSA Daewoo (No.63, A6T-737), starting to plummet down the hill from upper Miraflores to the coast below the cliffs on route EO35. ETUSA (Empresa de Transportes Unidos Sociedad Anonima) has been trading since 1935 and currently has a fleet of over 150 buses.

Here is another ETUSA bus on route EO35 again, in upper Miraflores, Lima. This one (make unidentified) has licence plate A6A-710.

Equally colourful is this ETUPSA 73 Mercedes (No.76, UJ.9762) on route NO 07 in Miraflores again. ETUPSA 73 is variously known locally as "The 73", "The Green Bus", or "The Crusher" during the rush hour!

Downtown in Lima a lot of traffic is picked up by what I would call 'minibuses', and here are two examples waiting at the lights. On the left is unidentified UG-9581, and I hope the driver will put down his newspaper when the lights change. On the right is A6A-711, built by Asia Motors of South Korea. The company is now defunct, having been merged into Kia in 1999. I think it's an Asia Combi.

But what interested me most in Lima were these wonderful normal-control buses that thurdered ponderously around the city, packed like sardine tins with passengers. Makes included International, GMC and Ford, and it's quite hard to tell their age. This might be a second-hand US school bus, for all I know!

Here's another one - this one's an International (UO-5383).

And here's another. What a glorious beast. I'd be delighted if someone could tell me more about there wonderful buses. If you know about these, please give me a call.

Now we have a complete change. This is Aguas Calientes, at the northern end of the railway line to Machu Picchu. It's a helluva line that runs for miles down a narrow gorge beside a raging river (there is no road), and you can see more details on my Andean railways page. Apart from hiking (which takes several days) Machu Picchu can only be reached by catching the train to Aguas Calientes, and then taking a bus up the 1200 foot climb on a single-track road of endless hairpin bends. This picture shows the confluence of the railway, a waterway running into the river Urubamba, and the buses waiting to take tourists up to the top.

Here is the road. Way down on the left is the end of the railway, with a train waiting to return up the line, and the Urubamba river, which looks quite benign from this distance, but is very much a monster. Switching back and forth across the rest of picture is the road from Aguas Calientes climbing up to Machu Picchu. It doesn't go anywhere else, or connect to any other road. There's nowhere else to go.

If you're lucky, the road will be wide enough to pass something at the point where you meet a vehicle coming the other way. If not, a lot of reversing is involved. In fact the only vehicles you are likely to meet are another tourist bus (we reckoned there were around 25 of them, all virtually identical) and the occasional service lorry for the hotel and the national park at the top. Since the buses tend to take a run at the hill, and keep the power on as they take the hairpins, meeting something head-on can be quite sudden and a bit alarming! The higher you get, the more alarming it is, because the drop over the side becomes more and more dramatic.

And here is a typical bus - a Mercedes-Benz LO915 Senior (bodywork by Marcopolo), with a picture of Machu Picchu on the rear. I mentioned that there was no road from the rest of Peru to Aguas Calientes, so you will deduce correctly that all the buses arrived here on the narrow-gauge railway, along with every other single darned thing, however big or small it is.

Here's another one (No.11), loading passengers at the top for the wild ride back down the hill. There is very little space at the top for turning round and parking, and the drivers have developed a disciplined procedure so they don't get in each others' way, and a strict order of succession is maintained. A radio message is sent to the bottom of the hill as each bus leaves.

Machu Picchu was built by the Incas, and their capital city was Cuzco, also our base for exploring that part of the world. It's a beautiful place, 10,000 feet up in the Andes mountains, and has much to explore - once you get used to the thin air - and this is one way to do it. This thing is not a bus, I agree, but it's not a tram either - it's a 'tranvia', which is (apparently) a conventional vehicle made to look like a tram. This imitation 1910 steetcar operates cheap tours around the city.

A far more common form of transport in Cuzco is the minibus. Narrow streets and some challenging roads prevent bigger buses from getting established, so the minibus is definitely the weapon of choice. This example from the fleet of Correcaminos (which means something like "Roadrunners") is a Mitsubishi Fuso Rosa. Actually this is a classic - the first Rosa rolled out of the factory in 1960, and they are still making them now! Not many (any?) buses can claim 50 years of continuous production.

Shane Conway tells me that this is a Toyota Hiace. The fleet of Zorro buses was large and varied.

And here's another Hiace, this time working for La Florida.

'Batman' was probably the most common operator in Cuzco. This bus is No.38, definitely a Toyota Hiace, and probably dating from around 1988. Is that hand emerging from the top of the side door hanging on for dear life, or just holding the door on?

'Batman' operates newer buses too. Here is yet another - but much more recent - Toyota Hiace.

Finally we ascended even further to 13,000 feet, as our trip ended a long way south of Cuzco in the region of Lake Titicaca, the highest navigable lake in the world. This picture was taken on our way into Juliaca, and shows another Mitsubishi Fuso, this time an early Rosa Deluxe. I'm not sure what the company name "20 de Mayo" signifies. A quick Google search to see if it's a special date in Peru records that a fleet of UFOs was seen over Marcahuasi on 20 May 2007. I doubt that this is the explanation, although I have to say that the Lake Titicaca area is one of the strangest places I've ever visited, so you never know....


For the various other parts of this story click the links below;

1. Argentina; Buses in Buenos Aires (this page)
2. Argentina; "The search for Di Tella". Classic British saloon cars made under licence in Argentina
3. Argentina; Air transport

4. Peru; Buses
5. Peru; Train travel in the high Andes
6. Peru; Air transport
7. Peru; Assorted transport



SOME QUICK LINKS WITHIN THIS WEBSITE;  Home   Email   THE COMPLETE WEBSITE MENU   Events Diary   Links   Small-Ads   Halfcab list   Classic Irish Buses


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