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Metro Bus Card in Tocumen Airport

Level Contributor
9 posts
4 reviews
Metro Bus Card in Tocumen Airport

So I've been reading different things online, some saying that the Metro Bus card is not sold at the airport, others saying that it is. Can anyone who has been there recently confirm if they do in fact sell the card there and if so, in what part of the airport?

Also, is it possible to pay for multiple travelers with one card (4 bus fares in total)?

39 replies to this topic
Anchorage, Alaska
1 post
1 review
1. Re: Metro Bus Card in Tocumen Airport

You can always get a metro card that is also good for metro buses at the bottom of the escalators from street level at the metro stations. If you don't speak Spanish the machine will switch to English by pressing English button. Feed it a $5 bill for starters, that will produce a blank card for $2 onto which you can add the rest of the bill or it is good for recharge after that. The fare is debited from a 2d code swipe at a rate of $.35 per ride on either bus or metro. Exiting from a bus requires no swipe but the metro requires free swipe. once you swipe the turnstile , you can go anywhere on metro until you exit it for that fare. Metro is the cheapest and fastest ride for the lone traveler by far.

Level Contributor
9 posts
4 reviews
2. Re: Metro Bus Card in Tocumen Airport

Thanks Charhl for your reply. I'm assuming you're talking about the metro rail? The thing is, like most travelers, we're arriving at Tocumen airpot and need to get into the city so the metro rail is not an option as there's no nearby station to the airport.

I suppose if there's no metro card vendor at the airport we can always ask a nice Panamanian to swipe their card for us and pay them at the bus stop, however I would still like to grab a metro card for travel within the city.

Slovenia
Destination Expert
for Costa Rica
Level Contributor
19,533 posts
63 reviews
3. Re: Metro Bus Card in Tocumen Airport

As described by #1, you can buy Metro card at any metro station. That is what we have done. And you can use one card for up to 4 persons (swipe it four times). As for the card being sold or not on the airport, sorry have not looked at. But I am sure that by offering a little over the fare, many locals would swipe their cards for you.

Panama City, Panama
Level Contributor
21,254 posts
27 reviews
4. Re: Metro Bus Card in Tocumen Airport

You say some people say you can buy a card at the airport. Who said that and where ? I have never see anyone say that.

Getting some friendly local to use their card requires one to be there. Many times I have gone past in a taxi and there has been no-one waiting at the stop.

Level Contributor
9 posts
4 reviews
5. Re: Metro Bus Card in Tocumen Airport

Hi beardo. I know it'll be the luck of the draw but hopefully there will be someone there willing to lend us their card if we can't find one.

Regarding your other question, I've seen a few posts around these forums where people mention they were told that cards were being sold at the airport from "official" sources (airport workers). Unfortunately I don't remember which posts they were since I've being going through quite a few just reading up on Panama.

I did read an article from La Prensa, a major Panamanian newspaper, which mentions there being a point of sale for metro cards at the airport.

…prensa.com/impresa/panorama/Viajeros-camina…

Its in Spanish so you might need a translation service if your Spanish is up to par. If you read under the section "$25 para el taxi" it clearly states on the third paragraph that cards are being sold at the airport.

Salt Lake City, Utah
Level Contributor
623 posts
17 reviews
6. Re: Metro Bus Card in Tocumen Airport

Yes, the article does say that, but I don´t think the information is reliable. There are a couple of sale points close to the airport but not in the airport, as per the web page. It´s an oversight, I suspect not so involuntary, as they try to people use taxis, unfortunately.

tarjetametrobus.com/index.php/…pos

Edited: 31 January 2015, 15:00
Level Contributor
9 posts
4 reviews
7. Re: Metro Bus Card in Tocumen Airport

Well I've never heard of newspapers having unreliable information! Hahaha...

Either way, I don't mind walking a few hundred meters to get a card. I'm heading out tomorrow. I'll post back as soon as I can with my findings.

Panama City, Panama
Level Contributor
21,254 posts
27 reviews
8. Re: Metro Bus Card in Tocumen Airport

And if there is a sale point, it doesn't mention what hours it is open !

Panama City, Panama
Level Contributor
2,017 posts
27 reviews
9. Re: Metro Bus Card in Tocumen Airport

There are no places where you can buy a card in Tocumen Airport. If you ask the official tourist service staff, they'll tell you to use a taxi. If you insist on using the bus, they'll tell you the secret, which you already know. You have to walk to the bus stop which is outside of the airport, on the main road (it's a bit of a walk especially if you're coming with luggage) and ask someone there to swipe their card for you in exchange for the fare in cash.

Sometimes nobody will want to help or there'll be no one at the stop. But normally, once the bus gets there, someone inside the bus will be willing to do this for you. Just hop on, tell the driver about it, and ask around.

Sorry, I know this doesn't sound like a very civilized airport, but that's what our authorities have done...

Level Contributor
9 posts
4 reviews
10. Re: Metro Bus Card in Tocumen Airport

So, landed two days ago... And just like everyone said, there's no place in the airport to buy a card. It was four of us and we had to take a taxi for 55 dollara to albrook.

The customs lady suggested we take a diablo rojo, but the "official" information people told us that these buses did not exist anymore... Which was bull because we saw a few on our way to albrook. Fare would have been 25 cents as opposed to 55 dollars and could have paid without using a metro bus card.

As a side note, it seems now the metro bus card is called the "rapid pass"? We found that out when we took the overnight bus from albrook to almirante. On top of buying the fare ticket, one also hss to buy a rapid pass with enough credit to go through the turnstile at the bus station, otherwise they won't let you board your bus even though you already paid for your ticket, which seems like they are double charging you. The rapid pass itself is not bad, about 2.50 for 4 people but we almost missed our bus because we had to go back, get in a long line and wait. I never actually got around to buying the card because a good soul offered us his card. Had that not happened we would have missed the bus for sure.

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