A guide for getting your Medellín transit card
You may be reading this and wondering what the hell is a Cívica, how do I get one, and how does it work? Cívicas are free reloadable transit cards that you can use throughout the whole metro system-Metrocable, Metro, Metroplus, Tranvía, and bike share. Getting a Cívica allows you save time, money, and transfer more easily between different forms of transit. You can get your Cívica, with your Cédula de Extranjería, if you are a foreigner who has been granted a visa for more than 90 days, a Colombian citizen with a Cédula de Ciudanía or your passport. For more information on navigating Metro de Medellín and understanding mass transit in Medellín, you can read one of my earlier posts, “A guide for understanding Medellín's transit system”.
You can get a Cívica by going to customer service points where you can get a Cívica at one the following metro stations: San Antonio, Niquía, Itagüí, and San Javier. They sometimes have tables set up at other stations where you can get your cívica for the first time in other metro stations, such as Estadio or Caribe, so be on the lookout for those. To get a Cívica you need to bring an acceptable ID (passport or cédula), wait in line, fill out a form, which includes your name, address, etc., the person inputs your data into the system, and they make you a personalized card with your name on it. And then BAM, you have a Cívica. Then you can add money to it at different metro stations, Gana or online. While a Cívica is free, they do track its use and use this demographic information to inform changes with transit.
I would recommend trying to get a Cívica if you are going to be here for more than a week. Having a Cívica saves you so much time waiting in line to buy metro cards that once you use are not reloadable and it saves you money as you transfer between different forms of transportation within the metro system, i.e. if you transfer from metro rail to the tram or Metrorail to metrocable you don't have to pay extra. You can use your Cívica on metro rail, metrocable, metroplus buses, Encicla-bike share in Medellín, some private buses which accept Cívica if they are going to or from a metro station and on the tram. The Metro de Medellín is working on getting our whole system and people to use Cívicas, so as the future goes on, it will be more and more important to have one of these cards as time goes on. Side note, getting a Cívica was one of the first things I did my first full day here in Medellín.
When my family came to visit, I added extra money to my card and shared my Cívica with them, as we went through the turnstiles and it saved us so much time and headaches constantly buying metro tickets. Moreover, since the Cívica is personalized if you lose it or it is stolen, you can call the helpline and block the card. However, if your card is lost or stolen, you will pay I believe $3.000 COP to replace your card. Also, your card will not work if it has not been used within one calendar year, so that is something to keep in mind.
Also depending on your estrato (economic class), or other factors you may be able to get a special Cívica. You can get a special Cívica if you are a student who attends school in the metropolitan area, a person who is 60 years of age or older (Adulto Mayor), a person with reduced mobility (PMR), etc. thismeans you will pay less than a person whose Cívica profile indicates they are a frequent traveler.
If you are resident of the Valle of Aburrá, as of October 2018, you can apply for your first personal Cívica online, submit a scan of your identity document either a photo or a PDF, if you are disabled (PMR-Persona con movilidad reducida) you will need to submit an electronic copy of medical documentation to qualify for your first Cívica. Here is an article from the Metro de Medellín website in Spanish which details this new development. You would then either visit www.metrodemedellin.gov.co or www.civica.com.co, click on the banner which invites you to personalize your Cívica for the first time. You would then input your personal data into a form, define your user profile (frequent user-standard user, PMR-person with reduced mobility, or Adulto Mayor (adult who is 60 years of age or older), attach the required documents and choose one of the six designated places where you can pick up your card. The Metro de Medellín will review your information and request, and if it is complete, they will make you a card and send it to the place you designated as where you want to pick up your card. Then once your card is ready for pick up, you will receive an email confirming that your Cívica is ready for pick up, instructions to pick up your new Cívica, and the times when you pick up your card.
For more information about navigating the public transit system in Medellín, you can check out an earlier blog post of mine, “A guide for understanding Medellín's transit system”.
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