Riding the C5 in Sevilla

For years I’ve seen this cute microbus all around town – and I mean ALL around – but not in a way that made any sense. I’d wonder how the C5 bus stop could be in so many seemingly random spots and where it could possibly be going. Then one day my friends Julie & Steve informed me that “riding the C5” was one of their favourite pastimes when they visited Sevilla, so I put it on my To Do list, and today I decided to take the plunge.

There are three of these Mercedes Sprinter diesel microbuses used on the route, measuring 7.7 metres long and 1.9 metres wide, with a capacity of 27 passengers (13 seated, 14 standing), and equipped with an electric ramp for people with limited mobility.

[click on image to enlarge]

Calling the C5 a circular route is a serious simplification. We started at the “start/finish” stop just behind the Alfonso XIII Hotel and from there it was like being on a Magical Mystery tour. We had no idea where the bus was going to go next as it trundled down one narrow street to another. Just when I thought I knew where we were headed it would abruptly turn, even occasionally backtracking down a parallel street to end up almost where it had just been. Whoever designed the route must have been either mad or a genius. Or drunk. We noticed that sometimes even locals getting on the bus had no idea where it was going, and would get right off again after checking with the driver. But it clearly serves a purpose, as long as you’re not in a hurry, connecting parts of the “casco antiguo” (old centre) that larger buses can’t access.

AND…it was fun. Plus it could also serve as a totally wonky “off the beaten path” tourist ride for visitors, though it’s a bit of a bumpy ride at times, and the driver doesn’t stop anywhere for long, so taking photos is tricky (as you can see above). But I’ll certainly be doing it again. 🙂

Repost from Casa Azahar

Taxi Fair?

Updated October 2014
I’ve lived in Sevilla for over 21 years and still dread getting into taxis because of the inevitable argument over the fare at the end of my ride, since I know more or less what it costs to get from A to B. Once a taxi driver even tried adding 3 euros to my fare on the way back from the vet’s with my cat by sneakily hitting the “supplement button” when he thought I wasn’t looking. When I called him on it he made some feeble excuse about the meter being broken and charged me the fare I told him it should be.

So I thought I would write a post here with some taxi advice for visitors because if you are foreign and have luggage you will almost certainly get ripped off.

Taxi fares are government regulated and there are various extra charges that a driver can legally add to the fare shown on the meter, but this means that there is a lot of room for confusion. For example, one of the most common scams is drivers charging for luggage from the airport when the airport-to-city flatrate includes luggage. I’ve heard of people being charged 40 euros or more, which is scandalous.

In theory you should be safe from being over-charged if you ask for a receipt, but it turns out that many taxi drivers carry fake receipt books without the stamp on the pages so you don’t end up with an official receipt, and how would a visitor know the difference?

I always advise people to write down the address of where they are going and, if at the airport, also write down the flatrate fare:

    • 22.20€ Mon-Fri 7am-9pm
    • 24.75€ 9pm-7am, Sat-Sun-holidays
    • 29.64€ Semana Santa & Feria.

Then give this paper to the driver before getting into the taxi. Remember that the airport fare INCLUDES luggage, so when they haul out a price list showing the 45 cents per case surcharge you are not obliged to pay it (unless your bags weigh more than 10 kilos).

It’s actually a good idea to always write down your destination, even if just taking taxis within the city. Unless you are fluent in Spanish the driver may “misunderstand” you and end up taking you across town to a street or place with a similar sounding name, and then will charge you for the extra trip. This has happened to friends of mine.

If going to the train or bus stations with luggage, be aware that drivers can charge 45 cents for each suitcase larger than 60cm. They can also (for some reason I can’t fathom) charge 1.41€ for leaving Santa Justa train station. But they can’t charge extra for going to the station. Last time I took a taxi to Santa Justa the driver tried charging me the “leaving fee” plus the luggage fee for my laptop case. He soon came to regret this…

Another extra charge that I didn’t know about until recently is that if you call a taxi to pick you up at your house (or hotel) they charge an extra 3.63€ Mon-Fri 7am-9am / 4.49€ 9pm-7am, Sat-Sun-holidays. So it’s advisable to look for a nearby taxi stand.

Some of you may think I’m being overly hard on taxi drivers, but I am speaking from my own experience and those of many non-Spanish friends and clients who have been ripped off over the years. With tourism being so important to Sevilla it’s a pretty lousy “welcome” to the city, don’t you think?

What’s been your experience taking taxis in Sevilla?