Santiago’s public transport is operated by the Chilean government as “Transantiago”. Inaugurated in 2007, it had some difficulties meeting user requirements. Since then it has slowly been upgraded to improve travel times and comfort.
The official website is unfortunately only available in Spanish (http://www.transantiago.cl), but you can still find your way to your destination using the Transantiago “mapa” or Map. You can even find a more detailed one in any Kiosk, just ask for the “Mapcity”. This will set you back about $8 or 6€.
This charge card is what allows you to pay any of your trips on public transportation. It can be purchased in most kiosks or Bip centers for approximately 3 USD. You can recharge it at any metro station or corner store with the Bip logo.
There are two kinds of buses. Local buses with the colour of the local area in which they operate and main buses that operate between local areas. The fares are also different. Local buses will be cheaper than main buses and transferring from one type to another will mean paying a small transfer fee. The bus fares are quite cheap though, between 0,80€ to 1€.
Clean and efficient, the Santiago metro is one of the most extensive metro systems in South America with 5 lines and more than 100km of route. A couple million people use it every day. During rush hour, be patient if a few trains go by before you can actually get on them. Transferring is easy enough. When you get off a train in a transfer station, you will see a sign that says something like “Cambiar a Linea” followed by the number of the line you want to transfer to. If you need to find your way, there are big maps in every metro station. Remember you need to use your “Tarjeta Bip” card to get on.