Public Transportation in Spain: Fun and Not So Fun Facts

Public transportation in Spain is relatively good, however, there are some small things which you might like to know beforehand. Otherwise, you might learn about it in a hard way. In this article, we are focusing on buses and trains since those are the main used transportations in Spain.


Punctuality of Public Transportation, in general, is very important for those who are using it on day to day basis, for instance, to go to work or after work go home. You have to be careful with schedules of transportation in Spain and we will tell you why.

Buses tend to operate outside the schedule. If you are standing at the Bus stop and you look at the screen saying that the bus is coming in 2 minutes don’t trust it completely those 2 minutes can become 10. Or if you are on the way to the bus stop and you see that you still have 2 minutes left don’t trust that. It is better to be earlier than later because sometimes buses come earlier to the bus stop and leave a minute earlier. Also, due to the traffic during certain times of the day and certain routes, your journey might take longer than expected. It says that you should be in the center in 30 minutes? Well, estimate that it might take one hour or even up to an hour and a half sometimes! After such experience, you for sure will start hating bus transportation in Spain.

Punctuality of trains is incredible. What does that mean? When the clock shows the time of departure that is when normally the train starts moving from the station. Trains are very rarely late so it is better to be a few minutes earlier, place your suitcase if you have one, find your spot, sit down and relax! When to comes to arrival, normally trains again are on time or even ahead of the schedule. So if someone is waiting for you at your final destination place, make them aware of that.


Now let’s talk about the stops of trains and buses. Nothing too random but a lot of things which is good to know while waiting for your train or bus to come.

As we already mentioned, trains are very punctual which means that they are requiring punctuality from you too. If you have to jump on the train at one of his stops you will probably be going to have only a few minutes to do so. Thus it is really recommended to be there at least 5 minutes earlier from the time which is indicated at your ticket.

Buses and bus stops have completely different rules involved. First of all, almost none of the bus will stop if you don’t raise your hand. So pay attention and do it even few times until you see that the bus driver is really stopping! Don’t trust the information given on the screens or timetables, be always prepared to stop your bus! Another very important rule of the bus stops is a queue. Yes, the queue exists in the bus stops. So if you came the last don’t start pushing everyone away and try to get to the bus the first. Unless the person before you intentionally allowed you to enter first you should stick to this rule. If you are uncertain if the person who came before you is jumping inside the same bus as you is always better to ask.


You would think that routes of public transport are strictly followed. If you are one of those, sorry but we will have to disappoint you. This particularly applies to the bus transportation in Spain.

Sometimes when the bus gets a super heavily overcrowded the bus driver might intentionally skip a bus stop if that is possible. So you can imagine yourself waiting at the bus stop for the bus to come, the screen shows two minutes and the bus never comes! This doesn’t happen very often but when it does it gets super frustrating for those who are waiting at the bus stop and super exciting for those who are in the bust waiting to get out of the overcrowded bus and arrive at their final destination as soon as possible.

Sometimes routes of buses are changed unintentionally. This comes from personal experience. The bus driver randomly chooses to do a small change in the route and stop at the bus stop where he was not supposed to. If you are inside the bus and desperate to get let’s say to work, such action would not please you at all. If you are the one in the bus stop waiting for your bus to arrive and you see this lost bus coming this should come into your mind as a huge surprise. It is truly a luck if you are going in the same direction. Jump and raise your hand! For others waiting at the bus stop, such situation seems confusing for sure.


The breakdowns happen no matter which transportation you are choosing or which country you are at. However, the transportation in Spain which really hits the tops with its breakdown rates is a bus.

Breakdowns especially when it comes to buses are not unusual at all. You will often see buses passing you with the sign “Sin Servicio”. This is very frustrating especially if one of those where the one which you were waiting for. However, the worst is when the bust breaks down when you are in it. Sometimes it happens in the very dangerous places such as highway called “Carretera”. Then you must wait inside the bus until the solution is found. Normally police get involved and if needed the new bus is sent to pick everyone up. You are lucky if to sort everything out takes only half an hour. However, this can take even up to few hours depending on how fast the new bus can be found and arrive to save you.

So what do you think now about public transportation in Spain? Do you have your own experience to share with us? Maybe some fun, frustrating stories? If so, please do it in the comments bellow or by contacting us. We would live to read it!

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