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Bus from Oaxaca to Mexico City

Bus from Oaxaca to Mexico City — Second Class is Luxury for Vagabonds MEXICO CITY, Mexico- “Wow, this is nice, huh?” I spoke to my wife from inside of the Fosa bus company’s waiting area in the second class bus station of Oaxaca City. There was a separate waiting area for people who were waiting [...]

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Bus from Oaxaca to Mexico City — Second Class is Luxury for Vagabonds

MEXICO CITY, Mexico- “Wow, this is nice, huh?” I spoke to my wife from inside of the Fosa bus company’s waiting area in the second class bus station of Oaxaca City. There was a separate waiting area for people who were waiting for this company’s next bus to Mexico City, it had seats and dust, and slightly less grim than the common waiting areas in the other parts of the station. I sat down in an empty seat and leaned back, then I was reminded that this was the same bus company whose bus broke down the last time we were on it en route between Tuxtla and Salina Cruz. But the big sign over the ticket window read “First class service,” I tried to argue, but I knew that we were in a second class bus station and was confident that we would receive first class service of lower class transport. I take it.


The day before departing from Oaxaca City I went to the second class bus station to scope out the prices. 230 pesos, nearly $20, to Mexico City — six and a half seat hours away. This price seemed steap, so I went to the first class station — Ado bus line — to check it out, as I could not imagine a first class bus charging much more than this. “10 more pesos and I can ride in total and complete luxury,” I thought to myself. I thought wrong. 480 to Mexico City in a rolling, luxury class airplane cabin. I retreated to the class of my birthright, now happy to lie down the 230 pesos.

“It is a first class direct bus,” the rep selling the ticket let me know, and then he did not hesitate to validate his statement: “There is a bathroom on board.”

Now knowing what elements differentiate bus classes here, I looked forward to a ride to DF not needing to hold it. Though I had already been to the first class station in Oaxaca, seen the first class Ado buses (even rode on one from Salina Cruz to Pochtula) and I knew that the Fosa bus that I was getting on would not match it — though I also knew that the service that I would be receiving would be more than completely adequate.

Sign for first class bus in the second class station in Oaxaca City

Second class bus transport in Mexico is the equivalent of first class, executive service in Central America and most of the world. These buses are truly decked out — AC, bathrooms, seats that have not recently been peed on, and the services are more or less direct.

I say more or less here as the guys selling the ticket will tell you that there are no stops prior to your destination, but then you find yourself in a bus sitting in some podunk city picking up more passengers who invariably will ride in the aisle, trying when they can to use your shoulder as a seat. But so be it, for half price over Ado service — saving $20 — I take it.

The first class Ado bus station was full of foreigners and rich, vastly lighter skinned Mexicans, it had a squeaky clean floor, everything was white washed and sparkling bright, The place shone like a brand new airport. The second class station was old, dusty, full of people in ratty clothing and busted up cowboy hats milling about, the common classes of Mexico entering and departing Oaxaca through a plethora of gates from a plethora of different second and third class bus companies. Though if I had not previously known of the class system that differentiates bus services in this country, I would have this referred to this place as a “bus station” without the additional adjective, as it was no worse than the hundreds of other bus stations that I have been in throughout the world.

As we waited for our bus to depart, I took my daughter Petra for walk. She loves bus stations, seemingly because there are lots of people just sitting around with nothing much else to do but play with her. She ran up to a young woman and jumped into her arms. The lady smiled and asked Petra the basic questions a traveler receives all around the world — where are you from? what is your name? how old are you? — which she answered herself in Spanish. She then jumped down and ran off to the next group of people to repeat the scene (and to snag some free food — Petra learned early on that if she points to someone’s food and looks cute enough chances are they will give her some). Petra meeting people gives me the opportunity to talk with people as well. As we walked through the station together, I lost count of the people I met and the conversations I had.

In the first class bus station we were stared through, as though we were a family of matterless apparitions. As such class goes.

Traveling second class means meeting the people

I do not understand why people would want to visit a country just to avoid the people. If you are afraid of Mexicans then coming to Mexico is probably not the best of ideas. I cannot fathom why someone would want to pay more money to experience less. Riding lower class transport means riding at ground level, jammed in with “the people,” it means touching people, being touched, pushed, snarled and smiled at, talking with strangers, getting good and dirty within a culture, within a place. Traveling cheap is not just to save money. In my opinion, the second class buses of Mexico are pretty posh, comfortable, nice — it is only in relation to the first class buses that I can consider myself enduring any sort of paltry discomfort in the name of traveling cheap. In actuality, I too travel in luxury, but world travel has been gentrified to the point where a person can now be shuttled through a country without ever touching the ground.

First class buses allow you to stay in your little bubble and easily float through a country, untouched, unfazed. As such is tourism.

Tourism is the mechanism through which people can visit places without needing to deal with the people who live there.

Sure, you may meet tour guides, hotel workers, bar girls, and ticket vendors, but the smiles you receive all too often come complementary with a purchase. I do not understand why someone would want to go to a foreign country — replete with preemptive ideas of adventure, serendipity, and exploration — just to hang out with a bunch of people from their own culture (or one all too similar to it) on first class buses, overpriced hostels, and on tours. Backpacker bars and hostels — unless trying to get laid — seem like pretty boring places to me. But, then again, from working at hostels in various regions of the world, it seems as if this truly is the prime directive of modern travel: pay to look at something, say “that’s cool,” get drunk, get laid (psst, an ugly dude can easily hook up with a pretty girl in a hostel if they are the last man standing). I’ve seen it; I’ve experienced it. In this scenario thinking twice about paying double price for a bus ticket, a grungy dorm bed that costs more than a nice private room in a less trendy hotel, and expensive drinks in the hostel bar is a moot point: this is not excess, it is part of the modern travel experience.

What does spending a little more money matter when it overflows from your bank account? It doesn’t.

What sort of world am I traveling in that $50 a day is now considered a cheap budget?

In a world that has been explored and mapped to the point of saturation, who needs to bother with self-touting discovery? The maps have been made, what else is there to do now but party all over them? Sit down in those nice cushy bus seats, lean back, watch a movie in English, and float away to the next city, the next hostel, the next lay, the next bar, the next tour. Take home pictures and foggy memories of the semi conscious chick with smeared makeup and googly eyes who took your ugly ass into the hostel bathroom. Travel is entertainment, be comfortable and enjoy the show — we are kings of the road.


Filed under: Bus Travel, Mexico, North America, Tourism

About the Author:

I am the founder and editor of Vagabond Journey. I’ve been traveling the world since 1999, through 90 countries. I am the author of the book, Ghost Cities of China and have written for The Guardian, Forbes, Bloomberg, The Diplomat, the South China Morning Post, and other publications. has written 3691 posts on Vagabond Journey. Contact the author.

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VBJ is currently in: Trenton, Maine

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  • Dave from The Longest Way Home February 3, 2011, 1:00 am

    All too true. So long as the bus moves, then I’m happy. I funny story from The Philippines, is that it took nearly a year for me to figure out there were first class buses there! Ha ha. I was sitting in dusty old rural buses and didn’t know any better.

    They don’t call them first and second there. It’s Rural, and or / the really expensive ones. Strangely and unlike many other places, the people kept pointing me to the older local buses.

    There’s air-con on these second class buses, when the driver wants to turn it on. It stops for toilet breaks, and going in a public toilet or along the road is much better than a wet floor, door handle 1st class bus for me.

    The price difference is 1/3 more. I took one 1st class once. It had a toilet, air-con and that was about it.

    Though I will admit to taking a 1st class train in Pakistan, my first and only time paying for it. Well, it was 50+ hours of travel and in emergency rule. Not so luxury like. But, it did allow for sleep and stories with undercover military types. Worth the $35 by a lot 🙂

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    • Wade | Vagabond Journey.com February 3, 2011, 9:08 pm

      Funny the different types of people you meet on different types of buses. But, I too, have the same criteria when it comes to buses, and that is that it moves haha. Good call about using bathrooms that are not on the bus — these are truly use at your one risk in any scenario. I actually prefer buses without bathrooms as they stop for breaks, whereas the first class airplane buses just keep rolling on.

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  • dave February 3, 2011, 11:04 pm

    i have been traveling off and on to Mexico for the past 10 years and have been amazed at the transformation of the bus system. My first trip I mostly used the luxury {lugo} buses. Walking through the bus terminal all the ticket seller were shouting Joven ,joven trying get my attention. back then most of the ticket seller working the counter were young /good looking females. I felt like a movie star. I traveled mostly in central/southern part of Mexico and this was a very common experience. These buses would usually run with half full , with a 3rd of the passengers young middle class females. I wondered how the stayed in operation with such low volume.

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    • Wade | Vagabond Journey.com February 4, 2011, 6:23 pm

      Right on, it is truly amazing how advanced these buses are in Mexico when contrasted to the rest of the world. Even the second class buses beat Greyhound by far.

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  • Rebecca February 7, 2011, 5:48 pm

    Loved the bus system in Mexico – so reliable. Can’t remember what class I rode in, but it was the best bus system I’ve used.

    Your daughter Petra is quite an asset! She sounds like a total cutie.

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    • Wade | Vagabond Journey.com February 8, 2011, 11:43 am

      Thanks Rebecca,

      Much appreciated, will tell Petra she has an admirer haha.

      Yes, these buses in Mexico are excellent.

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  • Joel March 13, 2011, 1:02 pm

    Thanks for all this info. Me and my girlfriend are about to head to Mexico City from Oaxaca and were debating on what but to take. Now we know!

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  • Lawrence August 22, 2012, 12:37 am

    I was trying to figure out what this “Fosa Bus” happened to be; I had never heard of it. Then I looked at the photograph and realized the author of this blog mis-read the script lettering used by the bus company. The correct name is FYPSA, which stands for Fletes y Pasajes, S.A. de C.V. It is indeed a second class line, though I believe the route to Mexico City uses the company’s best equipment. The company has its own terminal in Mexico City, just slightly east of TAPO (which is the main bus terminal for points east). The address is calle 15 #5, on the corner of calzada Ignacio Zaragoza, col. Moctezuma, and close to the Balbuena metro station.

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  • Ken Ramsey January 26, 2017, 9:15 am

    After reading the recommendations below, I went to the FYPSA station. It was 6:30 am in the morning and it looked deserted. There were no passengers, and the attendant told me that he had no bus at 7 am so I will have to wail till 8:00 am for the earliest bus. I decided to go to TAPO instead. From there I took the bus from SUR or AU lines. Of course I missed the 7am bus so I had to wait till 9 am for the next bus. Both companies operate from the same station in Oaxaca. They are at least 200 pesos less compared to ADO (which is considered the first class bus service). I was very impressed with SUR and AU buses and their customer service. Also, the good thing about them is they do stop at small stations to pick up passengers. It allows you opportunity to go for a bathroom or pick up a quick snack. I liked it that way compared to non-stop buses. And overall journey may take half hour longer but who cares when you can see small places. I used same buses to return back to Mexico City. I was tempted to try out buses operated by Section 22 (a teacher’s union) notorious for standing up to the State Govt. However, they only have one bus leaving at night around 10:30 pm. If you walk around the Zocalo, you would see their tables in one corner next to temporary white banners posted on the street for protest.

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