Metro vs Caribe - My Personal Experience

judypdr

Active member
Jul 23, 2011
556
0
36
69
Costambar
Some time ago (years, I think), I asked a question about which bus company I should choose for a two-day trip from Puerto Plata to Santo Domingo. I was advised that Metro was the best choice. I have used Metro several times and have been very satisfied. However, for this recent trip, I chose to return on Caribe Tours as suggested by a friend who has lived here for 25 years. Mistake on my part! The Caribe terminal was HUGE and very busy. First difficulty was figuring out where to buy a ticket (around the corner and hidden from the entrance) and to do that i had to review a large sign with destinations and the relevant ticket booth number. OK, #13. Then the attendant couldn't hear me and I couldn't hear him...but I got my ticket purchased for the 2 o'clock bus. He said I should go and sit in the waiting room for an announcement for boarding. Luckily I didn't. I went directly to the boarding area where a LOT of buses were parked in front of numbers (not the same number as the ticket window, of course). I started asking anyone in a Caribe shirt/uniform for the Puerto Plata bus and got nowhere. Then i started asking other travelers.... Puerto Plata? No one knew. But I kept asking and finally got the information I needed. The Puerto Plata bus would be at the #1 stall (now empty). No queue, just a bunch of people standing around. I waited 45 minutes and heard lots of announcements for other locations and stall numbers but never, not even once, did i hear anything about Puerto Plata! So finally, the bus driver arrives and sits in the bus for 20 minutes before opening the doors. At Metro, the ticket taker is very helpful, making sure I don't need help boarding (i used a cane for stability). But not so with Caribe. The bus also stopped in La Vega and twice in Santiago. I got off to use the restroom and again no help from an attendant. Metro's staff is much more helpful. There were more than 10 buses in the Santiago parking lot and i made a mental note of my bus location. But when I returned, it had moved. No signs! Some other travelers thought to make a mental note of the bus number (059), fortunately! We made one other stop at Imbert to let someone off and then on to Puerto Plata. My friend was waiting at the door and provided helping arm. The drop from the final step to the ground was really far! I reached down with my cane but might have toppled without her help. Overall, I have to say, the difference in price (75 pesos more for Metro) was probably important to some travelers. And Caribe has buses more frequently on the Santo Dominto/Santiago/Puerto Plata route. I also understand that Caribe has some express buses, which would be an advantage if the timing was right. But for overall on-time performance, cleanliness, ease of use, and simplicity, I will definitely stick with Metro for the future. I'm not complaining about Caribe. My trip was fine and we arrive safely. But my preference is Metro...just my opinion.
 

bigbird

Gold
May 1, 2005
7,375
161
0
Funny, but all the truth. Well except for the ticket counter which is really not that hard to locate.

Each bus company caters to a different clientele. Most of my bus travel is STO DGO to STGO and most times I will use Caribe Tours for three reasons. Number one Caribe Tours has a lot more daily buses going to Santiago. Number two Caribe Tours is a lot easier for me to get to from Gazcue, SD. Number three Caribe Tours will stop at avenida luperon on the way back from Santiago where I can get off and transfer to the Metro (train) to speed up the trip into SD centro.

I do agree though Metro provides a much better overall service for the few pesos more.

If traveling past Santiago I will say reason four is the second stop in Santiago that food stand has some good sausage I like. <G>
 

bigbird

Gold
May 1, 2005
7,375
161
0
Forgot to add the passengers who use Caribe Tours seem to lack basic manners as opposed to the Metro riders. You know, like standing in a single line to board the bus. Caribe Tours can be hit or miss while Metro boarding is always done in an orderly fashion.
 

Fulano2

Nomen nescio.
Jun 5, 2011
2,375
87
48
Europe
I don't think it's that bad at all. I go to SD with CT only, because they have a busstop in Rio San Juan. I don't see the problem *finding the ticket-counter it is just besides the Parcels... If you buy a ticket for 2 just go and check the buses, they all have the destinations on their busses.
Metro tours is a little old-fashioned and because of that they have financial problems (I used to provide their spare-parts for their Scania's and MB Sprinters, they stopped it and put Toyota engines in their old Sprinters). Nevertheless of you live in Santiago and want to visit Piantini, Naco or Quisqueya, MT is your man.
 

Matilda

RIP Lindsay
Sep 13, 2006
5,485
312
63
Chopa here.

I always get Caribe Tours as Metro doesn't come to my part of the island. Never had any issues at all. Another option from the capital to Santiago is Transporte Espinal which has even more departures than Caribe and the final stop is opposite the bus station for the Linea - ie to the north west of the island which is perfect for me. They are also cheaper by a couple hundred pesos and apart from the that the same - they also stop anywhere you want in Santiago or the capital - so can take a bit longer to get to the final destination.

Matilda
 

Aguaita29

Silver
Jul 27, 2011
2,396
7
38
The advantage that Caribe has is that it's in every province. It is also better for sending and receiving packages.
 

the gorgon

Platinum
Sep 16, 2010
33,997
73
0
Forgot to add the passengers who use Caribe Tours seem to lack basic manners as opposed to the Metro riders. You know, like standing in a single line to board the bus. Caribe Tours can be hit or miss while Metro boarding is always done in an orderly fashion.
it is a matter of two different social classes. the Metro from POP outbound caters to the upper crustier people, while Caribe Tours caters to Fausto and Yuberkis. i can?t say if that rule applies universally, but i can say for sure you don?t find people in Metro fighting with the driver because he will not allow them to eat their pica pollo in the bus.
 

Aguaita29

Silver
Jul 27, 2011
2,396
7
38
Chopa here.

I always get Caribe Tours as Metro doesn't come to my part of the island. Never had any issues at all. Another option from the capital to Santiago is Transporte Espinal which has even more departures than Caribe and the final stop is opposite the bus station for the Linea - ie to the north west of the island which is perfect for me. They are also cheaper by a couple hundred pesos and apart from the that the same - they also stop anywhere you want in Santiago or the capital - so can take a bit longer to get to the final destination.

Matilda
True! Metro is not everywhere. In certain cities Caribe is considered "high class", as the only other *choice is a voladora. LoL
 

josh2203

Bronze
Dec 5, 2013
758
33
48
it is a matter of two different social classes. the Metro from POP outbound caters to the upper crustier people, while Caribe Tours caters to Fausto and Yuberkis. i can?t say if that rule applies universally, but i can say for sure you don?t find people in Metro fighting with the driver because he will not allow them to eat their pica pollo in the bus.
Fully agree on this, and also with the OP. Excellent post.

I have only once in my life used CT, and have no desire to do that again. Apart from the general atmosphere described by the OP, having driven myself countless times the strech POP-SDQ via Santiago, I've always noted that even the driving habits of CT vs. Metro differ. I always get nervous if I spot CT on two-lane road anywhere near us. It has not been once nor twice that I and other drivers in front of me have had to slow down and drive out of the lane to "accommodate" a CT taking over.

Metro drivers drive differently, more like you can expect from professionals, at least what I've seen.

The one time I used CT, the bus was an older model with automatic transmission, and seems that the transmission did not quite reach to highway speeds with lower RPM, as the whole way from POP to STI the engine was running wild, and there was a non-stop smell of diesel inside. Metro buses are with manual transmission, and they certainly know how to use it...
 

Chirimoya

Moderator - East Coast Forum
Dec 9, 2002
17,622
689
113
We in the east would welcome Caribe, Metro or both with open arms and a full marching band and majorettes, but they can't operate here because successive spineless governments have let the megachopo "sindicato" maintain its monopoly on the Santo Domingo-B?varo route.

We are saddled with Expreso B?varo. The buses themselves are on a par with the big two companies but the quality of service is not. Literally - a word I do not use figuratively - every time we have travelled or taken someone to the Expreso B?varo stop in the last year or do, even when arriving 45 minutes early, the tickets have been sold out. They do not sell tickets in advance and you get that familiar glassy stare when you ask why they can't have a second bus on standby.
 

the gorgon

Platinum
Sep 16, 2010
33,997
73
0
Fully agree on this, and also with the OP. Excellent post.

I have only once in my life used CT, and have no desire to do that again. Apart from the general atmosphere described by the OP, having driven myself countless times the strech POP-SDQ via Santiago, I've always noted that even the driving habits of CT vs. Metro differ. I always get nervous if I spot CT on two-lane road anywhere near us. It has not been once nor twice that I and other drivers in front of me have had to slow down and drive out of the lane to "accommodate" a CT taking over.

Metro drivers drive differently, more like you can expect from professionals, at least what I've seen.

The one time I used CT, the bus was an older model with automatic transmission, and seems that the transmission did not quite reach to highway speeds with lower RPM, as the whole way from POP to STI the engine was running wild, and there was a non-stop smell of diesel inside. Metro buses are with manual transmission, and they certainly know how to use it...
the whole social thing works as intended. Do?a Mercedes Vega y Lama would not be caught dead in Caribe Tours, within arm?s reach of Moises. and Moises somehow knows that he would be overstepping his bounds by insinuating himself into the cabin of a bus which is transporting the aforementioned Do?a, who is his betters.
 

Matilda

RIP Lindsay
Sep 13, 2006
5,485
312
63
Never knew you were socially defined by the type of bus you took. I thought rich people had jipetas and drivers. In my opinion it is the easiest and most convenient way to get from a to b. We also have a special bus which you call to book. It stops on the road outside the house at 3 am and beeps. You get on it and you are in the capital at 7 am. Cost RD$300.

Matilda
 

the gorgon

Platinum
Sep 16, 2010
33,997
73
0
Never knew you were socially defined by the type of bus you took. I thought rich people had jipetas and drivers. In my opinion it is the easiest and most convenient way to get from a to b. We also have a special bus which you call to book. It stops on the road outside the house at 3 am and beeps. You get on it and you are in the capital at 7 am. Cost RD$300.

Matilda
actually , you are not defined socially by the type of bus you take. you are defined before you take the bus. you reinforce the definition by taking the bus which your peers take. it is no different than the fact that there are clubs which are patronized by a certain segment of the society, and the lower classes know they are not welcome there. i have friends who have attempted to take their female friends to a place like Skina, only to have the lady tell them that they will not be comfortable there, because they are not welcome there.
 

Matilda

RIP Lindsay
Sep 13, 2006
5,485
312
63
actually , you are not defined socially by the type of bus you take. you are defined before you take the bus. you reinforce the definition by taking the bus which your peers take. it is no different than the fact that there are clubs which are patronized by a certain segment of the society, and the lower classes know they are not welcome there. i have friends who have attempted to take their female friends to a place like Skina, only to have the lady tell them that they will not be comfortable there, because they are not welcome there.
Are Americans defined by the flight they take? So Spirit and Jet Blue are Chopos and AA and Delta (no idea really of the brands) are upper class? We are talking transport not clubs. It is a way of getting to the capital quickly and cheaply - the upper class would never be seen on a bus.

Matilda
 

the gorgon

Platinum
Sep 16, 2010
33,997
73
0
Are Americans defined by the flight they take? So Spirit and Jet Blue are Chopos and AA and Delta (no idea really of the brands) are upper class? We are talking transport not clubs. It is a way of getting to the capital quickly and cheaply - the upper class would never be seen on a bus.

Matilda
i am not going to argue this. i know what i see. i have taken both bus lines in the years i have been in the DR, and the social class which takes Metro is not the same which takes Caribe Tours. i can only speak for Puerto Plata, so i won?t argue it as being a rule.

read post number 6.
 

bigbird

Gold
May 1, 2005
7,375
161
0
i am not going to argue this. i know what i see. i have taken both bus lines in the years i have been in the DR, and the social class which takes Metro is not the same which takes Caribe Tours. i can only speak for Puerto Plata, so i won?t argue it as being a rule.

read post number 6.
I can speak for Santo Domingo and it is the same.
 

Robert

Stay Frosty!
Jan 2, 1999
20,575
326
83
dr1.com
the upper class would never be seen on a bus.

Matilda
I must have traveled back and forth to Santiago on Metro 30-40 times over the years.
I'm a witness to some well known people using Metro. Might not be their transport of choice, but they do.

It's very common knowledge if you live in the better barrios of Santo Domingo (Bella Vista, Piantini, Cacicazgos etc) that if your going north and need to take a bus, take Metro, unless you fit into the "chopo" category. It has nothing to do with the location of the Metro station on Churchill. Fact!