Panama City - Post Report Question and Answers

Are local buses, trams, trains or taxis safe and affordable?

The Metro is one of the nicest I have used anywhere in the world. Buses are good, less so than the Metro. With the pandemic, we were dissuaded from using public transport, so I am less aware of how this is working out under COVID. I see that masks and face shields are required, which is good. The trade-off, of course, is the 90-degree muggy weather which can make it very challenging to breathe comfortably. - Dec 2021

Yes, but most people drive. - Oct 2018

Yes, there are even party buses that go around the city. We use Uber more than anything so we don't have to negotiate. - Sep 2018

We use Uber. - May 2017

Panama's public transportation system is growing - they have brand new buses and one metro line. They are constructing a second line that should be complete in 2018. The Metro is easy to use and I think less than $1 per trip. It currently isn't super useful for our family since we don't live on the line. Buses are also cheap, but usually quite packed. There are some buses, Diablos Rojos, that are not safe to ride as they are somewhat unlicensed and drive quite recklessly. Taxis are safe, but I recommend using Uber if you can avoid the taxis. Taxis don't have meters, drive poorly, and will charge you more for being Gringo. - Mar 2017

Uber! And safe radio taxis. And also a new metro. - Oct 2015

Yes. I take taxis and the new subway. No experience with buses. Please negotiate with the taxis since they charge 2-3 times more to foreigners. - Jun 2015

Taxis are relatively safe but you must insist that the driver does not pick up any additional passengers along the route. They are reasonably priced but be leary of hailing one at the hotels--otherwise the prices quadruple. For example, a taxi from the Hilton Hotel on Balboa avenue to the embassy (a 10 minute cab ride-about 3 miles or so away) will cost US$35 in front of the hotel but US$7 a block aweay. Plane tickets are widely available given that Panama City is a transportation hub but it is pricey. For example, a round trip ticket to Miami which is 3 1/2 hours a way will set you back US$700+ per person. There is a brand new metro that is affordable and safe but there is currently only one line so it is not conveneient. - May 2015

Yes. Negotiate with the taxis or they will overcharge. - Sep 2014

All affordable and ok. A metro system was opened this year; the first in Central America. - Jul 2014

We are encouraged not to use the buses. Taxis are usually safe and pretty cheap, but there are no meters so you have to negotiate your price every time. We usually drive our own car to get to and from places. A brand new metro system will open in April 2014, safety TBD. - Mar 2014

Public transport is safe (avoid diablos rojos but the metro buses are fine) with the usual precautions. However, you will need a car here for flexibility. It's not the kind of city where you can get what you need easily in walking distance. - Jan 2013

The taxis are safe but often times they are picky about where they want to go. It is best to call a taxi. - Sep 2011

Taxis are OK. Call Taxi America. Take the local busses ¨Los diablos rojos¨(red devils) only if you have a death wish. - Apr 2010

some taxis are safe, local buses are not safe - Dec 2009

Buses are really for locals and are very cheap, but dangerous. Taxi's are safe supposedly, but I would feel uncomfortable by myself. They charge you more once they see you are a foreigner. Know the prices before you get in. - May 2008

Taxis are relatively affordable although they do not use meters and frequently charge different rates for foreigners and if you are going to a richer neighborhood. - Apr 2008


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