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Tourist trap: Spain's 'airport bus' to nowhere

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Tourist trap: Spain's 'airport bus' to nowhere
Photo: Georgie Pauwels
14:43 CET+01:00
Tourists who take Madrid's bus 114 to the 'airport' often come in for a nasty surprise at the end of their journey.

The electronic displays of buses on Madrid's line 114 read 'B° Aeropuerto'.

But passengers hoping to arrive at the Spanish capital's Barajas Airport are in for a rude shock. Instead of turning up at the terminal doors they are dropped off in a largely industrial neighbourhood some 40 minutes walk from the nearest departure lounge.

The reason? Bus 114 from Madrid's Avenida de America bus station doesn't go to the airport. It ends up at Airport District (Barrio del Aeropuerto).

The end of Madrid's 114 bus line is a long way from the Spanish capital's Barajas airport.   

Passengers are forever making the mistake, drivers on the 13.8-kilometre (8.57-mile) route told Spain's ABC newspaper.

"I don't know why no one told us anything," one irate couple told the paper when they found themselves stranded at their surprise destination with just two hours before their flight.

"They pay us, so it's our fault," a driver told ABC. "It happens four or five times a week," he said, adding he had tried to raise the issue with management without success. 

And the problem gets even more complicated, as the driver explained.

"No one in their right mind would think of having three buses (leaving Avenida de America bus station) with such similar names — one going to the airport (line 200), one to the airport neighbourhood (line 114), and another (line 115) to Barajas (the town which shares the name of the airport)."  

But the city's metropolitan transit authority insists buses are clearly marked and information is available. They admitted to ABC there was some room for confusion but said "we can't control all passengers". 

Meanwhile passengers keep turning up at the wrong place.

"This would never happen in my country," Swiss tourist Martina Spittler said at the surprise end to her journey.

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