Most of the buses I've been on in Baja California have been comfortable and clean. On occasion, a bus will break down and the delay could be considerable due to the distances between towns. When stops are made, you will find food for sale by local vendors. Some caution should be exercised in eating from cart vendors - if you have any doubts about how long the food has been there, or about the quality of preparation, best to settle for a candy bar or something "reliable," or try a restaurant if there is time.
Some of the buses stop more often than others. If you are interested in intermediate stops, inquire first. However, I would guess that the drivers would not hesitate to drop a passenger off at any requested spot - but you would have to have some idea of where you were going. These are not "tour buses!"
While taking the bus, you may be surprised at some point to see a man crawling out from a baggage compartment after the bus stops. This is just a legal stowaway - the alternate driver who has been "below" sleeping. They set up one of the baggage compartments as a sleeping accommodation, with the only access being through the baggage door on the side of the bus.
On the longer trips, expect to be assigned a seat when you purchase your ticket ("boleto"). If two people are traveling together, and want to sit together, make certain you are assigned adjoining seats (the ticket seller may simply assign sequential seats which do not necessarily adjoin each other).
In your dealings with bus personnel, be prepared for Spanish only. The bus operations are not tourist oriented.
Old downtown terminal at Calle Comercio and Avenida Madero - serves numerous local bus lines.
New Central Bus Terminal ("Central de Autobuses") in the La Mesa area (eastern Tijuana) - on Boulevard Lazaro Cardenas at Boulevard Alamar.
Telephone: 86-9515 (Tijuana) (From the U.S.: 011-52-66-86-9515)
Autotransportes de Baja California (ABC) (Website: www.abc.com.mx/home.aspx)
Tres Estrellas de Oro
Telephone: 26-1701 (Tijuana) (From the U.S.: 011-52-66-26-1701)
Fares (Summer 1994):
Los Angeles to Tijuana - $18 one way and $29 round-trip
San Diego to Tijuana - $4 one way and $7 round-trip
Greyhound Bus Lines runs numerous buses each day from both Los Angeles and San Diego to the Central Bus Terminal in Tijuana. A few of these may stop at the old downtown terminal instead. Check on which terminal the bus arrives at before committing yourself.
Fare (April 1997): $51US one way
(This price is based on a peso price of 396 pesos and the exchange rate at the time. The $US price will be more stable than the peso price.)
My estimate is that there are at least five buses traveling in each direction per day. The trip takes about 22 to 24 hours. I am not aware of any essential differences between the two bus lines operating on this route (ABC and Tres Estrellas). There will typically be two drivers working on each bus, and their intention is to keep the bus moving quickly to its destination. They are amongst the fastest and safest (in my opinion) drivers on the Baja highway.
Received January 14, 2000 from Roz Trübger:By the way we've just come back from a month of using the buses in Baja and, whilst Aguilla are still excellent, ABC buses have definitely gone downhill since we were last there two years ago!