How to take a combi in Mexico City

A combi is a converted Volkswagen microbus that picks up and lets off passengers along its route. Here’s what you need to know about taking a combi in the outskirts of Mexico City. The exact procedure may differ from place to place.

Hail your combi by extending you arm towards the street, just as you would for a pesero/a or micro. Unless the back is full, you won’t be permitted to sit up front. Don’t embarrass yourself by trying to open or close the sliding door yourself; the driver will do that by pulling a cable. If several people want to board and the combi is almost full, the driver will let you know how many spots are available.

Pharmacy, Mexico City

Pharmacy, Mexico City

Te cobras uno

On outbound combi routes, pay upon boarding. On inbound routes, pay shortly before arriving at your destination. If you’re in the back, pass your money up, saying, le pasas uno if it’s just you, le pasas dos for two passengers, and so on. The passenger closest to the driver will hand your fare to the driver, saying, te pasan uno or te pasan dos; or te cobras uno o te cobras dos (with te, not me.

En … de …

At this point, you should announce your origin and destination to the driver:

  • En la ciento seis, de eje 5. I’m getting off at Eje 5. I got on at Avenida 106.

As you can see, the formula is en + destination + de + origin. This tells the driver both how much to charge you and where to let you off. If you boarded at the start of the line, say de la base. If you are getting off at the end of the line, say en la base.

Now wait for your change to be passed back to you. Once the driver has stopped at your destination, simply stand up as best you can and move towards the door. As before, the driver will pull a cable to open and close the door for you.

La combi

By the way, combi is feminine: La combi.