If you want to get from A to B in Malaga, you have several options, depending on how brave you are or what kind of phobias do you have. Let’s see what are these options to see which one is the least bad for you:
Buses in Malaga
Malaga has a nice bus network, with many bus lines, where you can immerse into the real Spanish experience by traveling together with super loud people who constantly shout even if they sit right next to each other. If you are introvert, agoraphobic or you just simply don’t like people standing in your personal space without wearing deodorants or coughing you in the middle of the flue season, then this might not the best option for you.
Otherwise, seeing local people commuting has it’s own beauty that you should try at least once, and you might get the hang of it. The buses are modern, clean and surprisingly punctual. There is an application that you can download to see not just the bus schedules but the remaining time until your bus arrives. It’s very useful and it works very well. Within the city there are barely any spots that you can’t reach by bus. The tickets (in 2018) cost 1.3 euros if you buy them from the driver, but if you have a rechargeable bus card your rides will only cost 0.8 euros, which is a bargain.
Bus cards are really useful, because the bus drivers accept only change or maximum 10 euro bills. By having a bus card you can travel cheaper and you don’t have to carry a handful of change either.
Here is a map with all the places where you can buy or recharge your card. I suggest disregarding the brown pins, because those are only recharge points that you don’t want to use. As rule of thumb I would say aim for the Tabaco shops in the center, those the most reliable places when it comes to recharging or buying a bus card.
In Malaga if you are alone in the bus stop, wave the driver, otherwise it might not stop to pick you up. They only stop if someone wants to get on or off the bus. If you just stand there in the bus stop, the driver might think you wait for another bus and just keeps driving without stopping. So if you want to get on, wave!
You can get on the bus only at the first door, where you can buy tickets from the driver if you have change or you can touch your bus card to the big red dot to validate your trip. There is a little display too, where you can see how many trips have left on your card.
To get off the bus, you have to signal the driver with one buttons installed on the handles all around the bus. The bus will only stop if someone wants to get on or off, so if you try to get to somewhere which is the 5th stop from your starting point, you might end up somewhere else if the bus skips some bus-stops because no one wanted to get on or off. So don’t count the stops to determine where to get off, that doesn’t work.
After you signaled the driver of your intention to get off the bus, an indication will appear in the front of the bus, saying: “Parada Solicitada” which means the bus will stop at the next stop. If you don’t see this sign light up, you better press the button again or try the other one, otherwise you might end up going further than you original planned. Usually the buttons are working correctly, but hey… malfunctions can happen anywhere, any time.
Once and old Spanish couple, grandma and grandpa wanted to get off, but the bus didn’t stop because the button didn’t work that they pressed at the very back of the bus. Wow that was some scene… They started shouting, cursing and calling the driver names, like it was his fault to not read their minds. Yes, it can be annoying if you end up somewhere else and you have to walk back, but in my opinion it still not justifies to be a jerk.
The bus stops are usually nice and clean, most of them have display showing the time/date, some vague weather information and most importantly that when will the next bus come. If the bus stop doesn’t have this display and you are very curious when will the bus come, use the application that I meantioned earlier. It’s called EMT Malaga, you can get it from the Google play store or the Apple app store.
There are two special buses in Malaga, where you can’t use your bus card. One of the is the airport bus, which costs more than a normal bus and your bus card is not valid on that line. The other is the Feria bus, which exists only during the feria, which is a one week long public drinking event in Malaga every year. During the feria there are buses that go from the city center directly to the feria’s place, and guess what, your bus card is not valid for that line either. But otherwise, you can use all local buses in Malaga all year around. If you are interested what the hell is the feria, you can find another article about that, here on Surviving Malaga!
There are some night buses in Malaga, so you don’t have to walk or drive home drunk in the night after some awesome party, you can just hop on a night bus and get home in one piece. Your bus card is accepted on the night buses too, there is no extra fee involved.
Please note, that the bus card is not valid for the metro lines, just as the metro card is not valid on the buses. So you might ask… what metro lines?
Metro in Malaga
There are two metro lines in Malaga. The metro works the same way as the bus, the only difference that I have no idea where can you buy a metro card. I am pretty sure that in every metro station, but I never tried because in the past few years I used the metro only 3 times, which totally doesn’t justify the need of a metro card. However if you live somewhere, where you have the metro right in front of your place, you might consider using the metro.
Unless, of course, if you have the earlier mentioned personal space problems or you are claustrophobic, because, guess what, the metro goes underground! On the top of that, at times we have earthquakes here. If you combine those with the supposedly lazy Spanish workers and their construction quality, well… I leave the decision for you.
I don’t know if that is the reason or something else, but in my experience – which are only 3 occasions – people don’t really use the metro unless they are students going to the university or sick people going to the hospital which is next to the university. At times the metro stations and the metro cars are so empty that I could easily shoot footage for a post apocalyptic movie where the human race vanished from the face of earth just like in the movie: I am Legend with Will Smith.
Bike rental and bicycle lanes in Malaga
If you don’t want other people in your face on the buses, or you don’t want to go underground with the metro, because some funny guy put a bug into your ear about earthquakes and such or are simply a more active and fit person, you can just buy or rent a bike and ride!
In Malaga we have barely any rainy days, 99% of the time the sun is shining, so it’s hard to find any excuses why not be more healthy and ride a bicycle. You don’t have to stick to public transportation schedules either. Awesome isn’t it?
It is! Especially, if you are not afraid of getting run over by a car. Spanish people in Malaga are terrible drivers and not just in my opinion, pretty much everyone agrees with this statement. One of the possible reasons for that is that in Spain, there is no mandatory number of lessons or driven kilometers to get a driving license. You can just go straight to the exam and if you are good enough or lucky enough to pass, you get a driving license or as James Bond would say, a “license to kill”.
Fortunately for you, the city leadership realized this, so we have several bike lanes across Malaga, separating you from the cars, letting you ride safely. You also don’t have to worry about your bike getting stolen, because there are two bicycle rental networks in the city, a private one: Dropbyke and another run by EMT the public transportation company of the city: Malagabici.
While Dropbyke allows you to leave the bikes anywhere you want, the the Malagabici network requires to leave the bikes at the designated docking stations. Unlike in many countries, you are allowed to ride your bike on the sidewalk too. Or maybe it’s only allowed in Malaga? I don’t know, but here is my short personal experience with it:
I was riding my bike on the sidewalk, getting to a pedestrian crossing. A police car was coming on the road, and they stopped, gave me a way so I was able to cross the road without even slowing down. At home in my country for this maneuver I would have given two tickets at least. The first because I was riding on the sidewalk, the second because I was using the pedestrian crossing without getting off my bike. But here it’s perfectly fine, even the police itself gives you way. By riding on the sidewalk you are completely safe from cars and hopefully you won’t hit any pedestrians. I would certainly call that a step up in the food chain.
Motor bike rental in Malaga
There is an electric motorbike rental network in Malaga, called: Muving, that allows you to rent electric motorbikes. You just need to reg register, install the mobile app, search for a motor-bike nearby, unlock it, and you are ready to ride! When you finished, you can leave the bike more or less anywhere you want. The “more or less” means that in the mobile application they have a map of the city, telling you where can you leave the bike. You are not allowed to leave the bike in some less frequented, distant neighborhoods but in the center you can go and leave the bikes pretty much anywhere.
Every motorbike comes with two helmets, so two person can ride the bike safely, while you also don’t pollute the air by burning fossil fuels, you just use electricity that is made by power plants which pollute the planet the same way. But hey at least not in the city, that is some achievement.
Public transportation outside Malaga
As you can see, within the city limits you have several options to go from A to B. Nice and punctual buses, metro, bicycles and motorbikes, taxis and alternative taxi companies such as Uber and Cabify. But what if you want to go somewhere further outside the city? Well, there are trains and long distance buses, but that is another article that you can find here on Surviving Malaga!