Public transport/Bus service details in GAN Island (Addu atoll), Maldives

Any destination I visit, I make an attempt to use their public transportation system, instead of hailing taxis. Public transportation is lot cheaper and gives better pulse of a destination than taxi. On my visit to Gan Island, Maldives, I made an attempt to check if I can use public transport instead of availing taxi service arranged by hotel.  I was told there is a bus service but not much details were available- like timing, fare, stops etc.

Upon my arrival, I decided to take a chance. We arrived at GAN airport at 8.20 AM so had all the time in the world. We only had hand baggage so we started walking. Couldn't see any bus or bus stop near airport so kept walking.

We walked a bit till Bank of Maldives ATM, near Feydhoo harbor. 9 AM is too early in the day by Gan island standards- very few people on the roads and most shops closed. There was no sign of any bus or bus station. We walked a few hundred meters further north on the link road. Asked at a shop about bus and they said bus will come. Then I spotted the bus coming in opposite direction, headed towards airport. Figured that it will go close to airport, may be stop for  a while, turn around and we should be able to catch it on its way back. Waited close to 30 minutes and it arrived.

Above: The tickets- cost between 10-20 MVR (INR 50 to 100) depending on distance
Below: A city bus passing through...

Our stay was at Cress Lodge, but due to language problem couldn't communicate well with the conductor. So we eventually agreed to buy a ticket till last stop and I can get down wherever I want. The ticket was 15 MVR (USD 1) per person. (Taxi fare would have been 12-15 USD minimum). The bus went mostly on the link road, but upon entering the last island (Hithadhoo), it left link road, turned interiors to stop at a school/university. This Sharafuddin school/Maldives University campus was next to Cress Lodge, but I missed spotting it. Then the bus went further to Elhe Didi Magu and I realized that I am moving far away from my hotel. So decided to get down at next stop and walk back to hotel.
The public transport bus route in Gan Island
Later in the evening, during our walk spotted the bus again at Sanam Cafe.

The ride on the link road is very scenic
Had an opportunity to talk to bus crew- they said there're a total of 6 buses plying in Gan island. I tried to explain him I meant number of buses and not trips, but he insisted there're 6 buses. Spotted them all at a depo near Feydhoo harbor later. Their white bus leaves from Sanam Cafe at 7 AM, 9 AM, 11 AM, 1 PM etc, This would mean from the other end (500 meters from airport) you should be able to get a bus at 8 AM, 10 AM, 12 Noon, 2 PM etc. With six buses, they can run them at a gap of 20 mins in each direction, so that potential passengers get more frequent buses- however looks like they are scheduled in such a way that one may have to wait up to an hour for a bus.
The depot where all buses are parked
So below is what I found about Bus service in Maldives' Gan Island
  • Yes, bus service is available in Gan island Addu city and you can reach your hotel/destination for one tenth the taxi fare.
  • However frequency is too low, once an hour or less. No pre-defined time table, bus details not available online or on google maps, thus hard to depend on it fully
  • Locals do not seem to use the bus much. Almost all family has a car or at least a motor cycle, hence their dependency on bus is very little. Only school students, some tourists and even fewer locals use bus. When I boarded there were just about 6-8 passengers in a 40 seater bus-on every single occasion
  • The bus type selected seems like an unfit. The bus is a big one with push back seats meant for inter city commute. As a city bus, it would have been better to deploy a smaller mini bus with less seats but more frequency

  • Bus doesn't go all the way till airport. Stops some 500 meters short. Rest needs to be walked
  • I was told no bus will ply on Friday (Holiday for Muslim countries)-these two points I couldn't personally verify
  • If you've early morning flight (like Srilankan UL120 to Colombo at 9AM), depending on bus to reach airport could be risky. It is possible but bit tight.
  • There're not much options in Gan Island, Maldives- either use bus or hire a taxi. No tuk-tuk (Rickshaw), No Bike taxi, no train. Ferry is an option if your destination is not connected by road.
  • Frequency is the worrying part. Bus takes roughly an hour to cover 16+ kms one way. So if you miss the bus, next bus could be about an hour away-you might be able to manage either with some local help or with sheer luck.
  • On the road side look for signs like these- these are the designated bus stops. But I had confusion- what if I want to go to opposite direction- because I couldn't find a bus stop sign on the opposite direction. But looks like the bus would stick to same route on both directions. Take help from your hotel staff or from anyone local to locate nearest bus stops
On the day of our return, around 7 AM, spotted two buses running back to back, but they didn't stop for us- drivers waved hands saying they can't pick us up. May be they were on a training ride or something



Similar posts: Bus service details in countries around the world * Copenhagen Zone System * Exploring Srilanka using public transport *

3 comments:

Appreciate your efforts and interests to comment. Comments may be moderated due to increased spam. Will ideally respond to comments within few days.Use Anonymous option if you don't wish to leave your name/ID behind- Shrinidhi

Powered by Blogger.