Monday, 2 March 2015

Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, Canary Islands, Spain

Updated 27th February 2016

In my previous post, I described the local transport services I found in Gran Canaria's holiday resorts.

The main resorts are on the island's south coast.  The island's capital, Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, is in the north-eastern corner of the island.

A network of local bus routes within Las Palmas is provided by Guaguas Municipales.  Guagua (pronounced "wa-wa") is a local term for "bus".

Many of the buses I saw were low-floor single-deckers with three sets of doors.

The bus fleet includes at least one hybrid-powered vehicle.


Some smaller single-deckers were also in use.




Not all the Guaguas Municpales fleet was standard single-deckers.  I noted some smaller vehicles operating, including some minibuses.



At the other end of the scale, I also noted a number of articulated buses in Las Palmas.

In addition to scheduled bus services throughout Las Palmas, Guaguas Municipales also provide a "dial-a-ride" door-to-door transport service, for passengers with severe mobility impairments.  This service has to be booked in advance.

At the time of writing, a single journey on Guaguas Municipales buses costs €1.40, if bought on the bus.  Cheaper tickets are available for advance purchase - €2.40 for a 2-journey ticket or €8.50 for 10 journeys.  These advance-purchase tickets permit transfers, but only in specific cases.

There is also a contactless card which can be recharged, with a minimum recharge of €8.50 (10 journeys), while monthly tickets for unlimited travel on Guaguas Municipales services are also available.

Bus services linking Las Palmas with other parts of Gran Canaria, including the holiday resorts, are provided by Global (Salcai Utinsa).

Whereas Guaguas Municipales use low-floor vehicles, the Global fleet is high-floor. 
Some vehicles are equipped with wheelchair lifts, enabling passengers using wheelchairs to travel, although I have been unable to find out which services (or which timetabled journeys) provide wheelchair accessibility.

A number of bus services from Las Palmas call at the island's airport. There is also a dedicated express coach service linking the capital with the airport.

A bus station at San Telmo, in the centre of Las Palmas, is the hub for Global's services into and out of the city.

Most of the bus station is just below ground level.


Although many of Global's services start and end at San Telmo, some services continue to another bus station at Santa Catalina in the newer, northern part of Las Palmas.

As at San Telmo, the Santa Catalina terminus is just below ground level.

The airport coach is one of the services which serves both San Telmo and Santa Catalina.

Whereas the bus station at San Telmo is used only by Global, Santa Catalina is also the terminus for several Guaguas Municipales services.

The bus terminus is accessed from street level by escalators, with lifts providing step-free access.

Note that the lift shaft carries the words "bus station" (image right) as well as "estación de guaguas" (image below).

There are no railway systems on the Canary Islands, while the Canaries' only tram system is on the island of Tenerife.

Las Palmas did have a tram system, but this last operated as long ago as 1941.  Nevertheless, a short section of tram rail is embedded in Calle Triana, a pedestrian shopping street in the old town.

There is also a café resembling a tram in the newer part of the city centre, in Calle José Mesa López.

There are proposals to build a tramway linking Las Palmas with Maspalomas, at the southern tip of Gran Canaria. 
Finally, for tourists visiting Las Palmas, a hop-on, hop-off sightseeing tour is operated under the City Sightseeing brand.  The tour operates daily, all year round, using open-top double-deck buses.

The number of cities operating a public cycle hire scheme is growing.

When I visited Las Palmas in January 2015, the city had yet to introduce its scheme.  By the time I returned a year later, By Bike LPA was up and running.

Images in this post were taken in January 2015 and February 2016.

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