by Victor Sesma
Victor Sesma is an Alicantinian living in London. He is a Software Engineer who likes writing about the city he was born.
The city of Alicante has a dense bus network that connects the city centre with all the neighbourhoods and surrounding cities.
Alicante has more than 35 bus lines connecting the city centre with the neighbourhoods and sounding towns; plus 2 circular lines connecting several itinerant street markets on set days. The single trip fare is 1.45€ and travel cards are available for budget fares. The payment methods are cash, credit cards or the travelcards. Transfer to other bus lines or Tram services is free on transfers shorter than 1h.
There are 3 main ways to pay for the bus in Alicante: by card, by cash or by travel card. A single trip fare is 1.45€ if paid with a credit card or cash but gets more than 45% cheaper paying by travel card.
When paying by cash, the bus driver will accept notes of 20€ or less and coins.
The single ticket fare is 1.45€ when paying by cash or card. Travel card passes get up to 45% cheaper than a single ticket. This fare is the same for the local Red buses, the blue buses going to neighbouring cities and the TRAM Zone 1.
There are several travel cards available such as unlimited trips in 30 days for residents, free trips for senior people older than 65, for students… there is a complete list at the end of this article.
The most common travel card available to anyone is the Bono Móbilis Multiviaje which can be used on the buses and the TRAM trains (all the info about the TRAM in this article).
Due to the current inflationary situation, the Spanish government has been giving money to Spanish public transport systems. This includes travel cards for year medium-distance trains and local public transport.
With this measure, the government tries to reduce people’s expenses on transportation and reduce CO2 and nocive emissions in cities. Therefore, keeping inflation at a lower rate.
In Alicante, there is an extra 30% discount from the 1st of September to the 31 of December 2022 on the TAM (bus) and TRAM trains. This press note from the autonomic government explains the measure.
Note the 30% discount doesn’t apply to the single ticket which is still 1.45€.
The travel card Bono Móbilis Multiviaje is prepaid and the fares are the following:
|Number of Trips||Price||Per trip price|
|10||6.05€ (8.70€ normal price)||0.87€|
|30||18.50€ (26.10€ normal price)||0.87€|
As you can notice, the price of a single trip by travel card doesn’t change either buying 10 or 30 trips in a single transaction.
Note that you can use the same travel card for more than one person on the same trip. This is true for the Bono Móbilis Multiviaje.
The travel card Bono Móbilis Multiviaje costs 2€ and can be bought and recharged at the Alicante TRAM stations, many selling points – such as kiosks (the map is in this link), at the TRAM stations Luceros and Mercado, and at the TAM office at 03002 Alicante:
Alicante’s Airport bus line C6 has a fare of 3.85€ per trip. There is a travel card available for 12€ that gives you 10 trips. This travel card is not included in the 30% discount until the end of the year.
Another Travel Card you might want to take into consideration for short stays in Alicante is the Tourist Travel Card.
It gives you unlimited access to the bus service plus the TRAM Zone 1 for a set period of time.
The Tourist Travel Card in Alicante also gives you access to one trip in the Turibus, a bus service designed for visiting the city which includes audioguides in English, Spanish, French, German and Italian. Note the Turibus service operates from the 19th of March to the 8th of December.
The tourist card is also part of the 30% discount the Spanish government has activated as a measure against inflation. The discounts are valid from the 1st of September to the 31 of December 2022.
Here are the prices or fees for the Tourist Travel Card in Alicante:
|Time Duration||Price||Number of Trips|
|24 hours||9.10€ (normal price 13€)||Unlimited at Bus and TRAM|
|48 hours||11.20€ (normal price 16€)||Unlimited at Bus and TRAM|
|72 hours||12.60€ (normal price 18€)||Unlimited at Bus and TRAM|
The travel card can only be bought at the TAM Office at 03002 Alicante.
In Alicante, there are two colours for buses: red and blue.
Red buses drive around Alicante city and the fare is 1.45€.
Blue buses travel to neighbouring cities such as San Vicente or San Juan and the fare is still 1.45€.
Other buses might have special routes at different fares. For example, the bus from Alicante to Alicante Airport is line C6 and costs 3.85€ and also has its own travel card. All the info is in the Alicante to Alicante Airport article.
Some bus lines go further away and the price is slightly higher. Lines C2, C-51, C-52, C53, M and 136 have a price of 1.50€. The price of a travel card is 2€ and 10 trips cost 12€. Ask the bus driver to buy the travel card and recharge it with trips.
It is possible to transfer from one bus to another in the following 60 minutes from the first card validation touch. This is only valid when using travel such as the Bono Móbilis Multiviaje. Transfers are not available when using a single trip ticket bought by cash or card.
After 60 minutes, another trip will be charged.
The bus network in Alicante reaches most corners of the city. Virtually all bus lines have the start/end or drive-through Avenida Maisonave or Avenida Oscar Espla, nearby Alicante Train Station, and/or the Rambla. This makes the network very centralised. It is very easy to go to the city centre but difficult to travel between neighbourhoods.
Also, the frequency of some of the lines is not the best, having to wait for the bus anytime from less than 10 minutes for the quickest lines to +1h for the slowest.
Sometimes, it is difficult to understand what line or lines you should be taking for moving from point A to point B so my recommendation is to use different apps to identify the best route.
Ironically, Google Maps have the best interface to understand what bus line or lines you should be taking.
When clicking the layers button you can choose Maps to show all the public transport stops. This option will show you all the bus stops, the bus lines stopping at that particular bus stop and the bus line route. Note that all this info might be outdated at times.
Despite this nice interface, your best option is just to write your destination and let it create the route by public transport for you.
But -and this is very important- the time the bus is stopping at each stop is not synchronized live between Google Maps and Vectalia (the bus company in Alicante). This means that the time that Google Maps says it will take you to reach your destination is just a best guess and probably very wrong. Remember some bus lines’ frequency is higher than 1h.
The interface is not as simple as Google Maps but after a couple of usages it should be ok, here is what you can do:
I understand this is not an easy task and there is already a project to improve the digitalization of the bus service in Alicante and also add more lines to make it more usable. More about that in this press note in Spanish.
Another option is to go to the bus stop itself and point your phone camera at the QR code in the stop’s info post. It will redirect you to a page that tells you all the next buses coming to that stop.
The Alicante Bus network is thick. Anywhere you are in the city there is a nearby bus stop.
There are more than 30 lines to cover the city and its neighbouring cities.
There are tricks to know what bus you should get like using Google Maps and the Alicante Bus official app for android only.
There are a few night bus services at Alicante. The lines with night services are:
All buses are reasonably new and have AC or hitting on all year around.
The indoors are comfortable and have USB power plugs to charge electronic devices.
Alicante has also TRAM services that are underground in the city centre. Some places the TRAM can get you are San Vicente, Campello and Benidorm. There is an entire article about the TRAM in Alicante by clicking this sentence.