We don’t have a car here on Crete. We could rent one (or rent a motorcycle, which was our original plan), but after ten minutes of watching Cretan drivers, no one in his right mind would choose to drive himself, especially on a moto. It’s best to take the bus, and there are lots of buses.
Whether it’s a long-distance bus or local, most buses share these things in common:
- They’re luxurious. They’re air-conditioned. The upholstery is elegant and in good condition. They’re clean, inside and out. They’re quiet. They don’t smell.
- There’s an attendant. Cretan bus attendants are sort of like the flight attendants on airlines (although they don’t serve refreshments :::sigh:::). They answer questions and call out the stops you’ve requested. They also take money, so the driver can concentrate on avoiding abrupt and unintended contact with the Cretan drivers mentioned above.
- They’re inexpensive. A twenty-minute bus ride to the beach costs 1.60€ – about $2.
- They’re frequent. Local buses on popular routes come by about every half hour.
That’s all very nice, but what I found most interesting (and discordant) about our beach bus is that even though it’s an articulated beast that seats over a hundred passengers (and is the largest vehicle on Cretan roads – picture above), even though it has an attendant, even though the upholstery is custom-woven, even though it has A/C and is meticulously clean, the driver pumps his own gas.
When the tank runs low, the driver pulls into the nearest station, hops out, and fills ’er up – while a hundred passengers inside the bus watch. No one gives it a second thought.
Fuel here costs about $10 per US gallon. I’d hate to see his bill.
OMG! $10 a gallon! How can the people afford to even drive their cars? I am not going to complain again. It is about $3.69 here in Kansas!
Linda — Ten dollars is high for Europe (which is more like $8). It might be the island thing. Most vehicles around here (except the motos) are diesel, which is about 20% less expensive. I was quoting the petrol (gas) price. Americans find it hard to believe, but our fuel prices really are inexpensive compared with most of the world.
Jacquie Moon said:
Glad to know the buses are working for you, Tom. Do they have toilets? Jonathan & I will be in Chania for one week late September, and are eagerly following your posts (loved the ones from Spain, too). Stay healthy, Jacquie (from OMSI submarine queuing)
What a coincidence! You’ll love Chania — and the food! Be sure to send reports, and hello to Jonathan!
Jacquie — No, no toilets. The long-distance buses stop at purpose-built facilities (lots of bathrooms, coffee, snacks, chairs and tables in the shade) every couple of hours.
With such a great bus system, who needs a car ? I remember that motocycles are everywhere in Italy and quite a nuisance.
Is it the same in Chania ?
Mapi, our bus today followed a middle-aged, slovenly man on a moto today. He was riding slowly and frustrating our driver. For a mile or two he was talking on his cell phone, then he hung up and slowed down even more to light a cigarette. Finally we had a chance to pass him, and the driver treated him to a loud honk and an appropriate gesture. In other words, yes there are many motos here and some are a pain in the neck.