Whenever friends come over from the UK to visit me, the first thing I advise them to do is to buy one of several travel cards offered by bus operating company, Avanza.
These are sold on board buses and they can save you a sizeable amount of money. For example, the seven-day (7D) card costs just €32 and allows unlimited travel throughout Benidorm, neighbouring resorts such as Altea as well as excursion trips to places like Guadalest and Fuentes del Algar.
If you are planning a longer stay, then choose the simple Avanza bus card (BonoBús), pictured above. It costs €2 plus an initial top-up fee of either €10 or €20. Each time you use the card, €1.40 will be deducted from your balance. You can top up you balance at any time on any bus.
A single journey on all routes (excluding bus numbers 21, 22 and 23 which serve the Villajoyosa area) costs €1.40 if you use BonoBús, This represents a saving of 15 cents per journey. This does not sound like much, but if you are on a tight budget, as so many of us are these days. it’s important to watch the pennies.
See the full list of tariffs here.
A great deal for the over-65s and the disabled.
For ex-pats living in Benidorm, I would highly recommend the Gold Card (Tarjeta Oro), which brings each journey price down to just €1.09.
These personalised cards are only available from the city hall. You will need to show your passport and other documents such as your Padron, plus two passport photos.
Once you’ve filled out a form, you’ll need to go to a bank to pay €4, bring the receipt back to the Ajuntament de Benidorm and within a couple of weeks you should get a notification that your card is ready for collection.
You can then load it on any of Benidorm’s buses with €10 or more. Don’t top up for more than €20 because if you lose the card, you can say goodbye to the credit balance that was on it. The same, of course, applies to other cards that can be topped up.
Please observe bus etiquette
The buses operated in Benidorm by Mexican company Avanza are kept immaculate—more so since the pandemic— and Spanish people, by and large help maintain this levels of cleanliness by not treating them as garbage trucks.
Unfortunately, some holidaymakers tend not only to drop their litter in them, but also behave disrespectfully by shouting and singing and putting their feet on seats. Also, men try to board buses bare-chested and get stroppy when drivers order them to put on shirts.
A few years back I wrote a column for an English weekly in Spain about tourists behaving badly on buses. It was sparked by a trio of middle-aged Brits who were bellowing out I’ve Got a Lovely Bunch of coconuts. They annoyed the hell out of me and the rest of the passengers, and I commissioned a Californian artist friend of mine, Shell Fisher, to do an illustration to accompany the article.
More about Avanza
According to its website (in Spanish) Avanza is the largest private operator of urban transport services in Spain, with a presence in more than 40 cities with a fleet of more than 2,000 vehicles. It is part of Mobility ADO, a multinational company of Mexican origin, specialising in global mobility.
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