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The only way that I am aware of for making a reservation on the bus is to book the travel through Anavilma's travel agency. Most people just show up a little early and buy tickets. Sometimes on and around holidays, two buses are used because of the demand.
Purchase early during the same day of travel. Don't wait until one hour before the bus departs. They do NOT sell in days in advance at the terminal window. I tried it one time. They might now days but I doubt it. I don't know about travel agents either. PanaChief has a new terminal one block on the left before you turn right for the main terminal. Maybe check with them. I don't know their policies.
A friend of mine took the midnight bus from David to Panama City back in 2015. The policy then was a ticket can be reserved a maximum of 24 hours in advance.
And if the midnight bus fills up, they run a 1:00 AM bus. If that fills up, a 2:00 AM. The night my friend traveled he had to take the 3:00 AM bus.
Does that midnite bus from the terminal leave precisely at midnite or at 11 or 11:30pm? Anybody know.....Or do I have to drive down there twice?
If its full they will leave early. They tell you to be there an hour before the departure time.