“Vasco, Vasco, Vasco” is shouted repeatedly by the bus conductors everywhere in Goa, to mark the destination of the passing bus. India’s bus system can feel really chaotic but it’s not impossible to use and has quite extended routes even to the smaller villages, although there are not many tourists using them. Be prepared to allocate enough time for the trip, as the speed of travel is not great in these crowded buses. The main reason for not using local buses is, that there are no routes or timetables available, at least not online. But it’s the cheapest mode of transportation in Goa and you can enjoy local way of travelling while paying almost nothing.
Buses – local, express and airport shuttle
Local buses in Goa are typically old and rusty ones, and traveling can be quite slow. There is the driver and the conductor, whose job is to open the bus door and collect bus fares. It may be hard to know which guy is the conductor from all the locals, but eventually someone will collect money from you. The destination (starting and ending point) is normally written in both English and Konkavi on the bottom right corner of the windscreen.
Express busses are those which won’t stop in every bus stop and go between major cities. They leave normally from the biggest stations. Goa has at least 14 major bus stands: Panaji, Margao, Ponda, Vasco, Mapusa, Saquelim, Bicholim, Assonora, Cuncolin, Canacona, Shiroda, Honda, Marcela and Curchorem.
Airport shuttle bus goes between Galangute and Panjim to the Dabolim airport. It’s operated by state owned Kadamba Transport Corporation. Cost is around 100-150 INR.
Look for more information (rates and timetable) here.
Fares typically vary between 5 and 40 INR (0.06-0.5 EUR) depending on the distance and whether you are using local or express bus. One time we also had to pay for our backpacks (30 instead of 20 INR for two person).
Here are some examples of what we paid:
- Majorda to Margao and Margao to Majorda – 10 INR each
- Margao to Margao bus station – 8 INR each (we probably paid too much, but didn’t really care)
- Margao to Carmona – 15 INR each.
How to use
For the local buses there are no ticket booths, so you only have to walk in and sit (or the stand) in the right bus and the conductor will collect the fare at some point during the trip. Sometimes during the rush hours it was impossible for him to squeeze through and to collect, in which case we paid while leaving the bus.
There are few bus stops, that also can be found from Google Maps, where you can wait for the bus, or alternatively just hail and ride where ever you see a bus. When the bus stops, state your desired destination and the conductor either welcomes you in, asks to wait for another bus or hopefully gives some indication from where the correct bus leaves.
More information about bus travel in Goa: