Monday, November 5, 2012

Combi Complaining Time

I use combis a lot because they are cheap and go almost everywhere from my house, most importantly to Qantu. I really feel like making a pro/con list for them.

  • cheap
  • relatively fast
  • There is a new one every five to seven minutes 
  • There are more and more large buses as opposed to mini-van sized cars

  • Most are small and uncomfortable to sit or stand in.
  • The drivers can decide to pick you up or not and if they are late for their time punch they will not stop for you.
  • People will bring any and everything onto the bus including very odorous things.
  • If they are ahead of schedule they will stay at a paradero (stop) for up to 8 minutes just to pass time not giving a toot about whether you need to be somewhere on time.
  • If you don't say "baja" at the right time you will not be dropped off and the stop may be passed
  • Paying with anything larger than a 10 sole bill will make the cobrador (the person who takes the money) angry and annoyed. 
So as you can see I tend to get more annoyed with combis than I am happy with them but I did the math and by not using a taxi twice a day I save 163 soles a month so it's a necessary evil. I wish I could say that I can look forward to having larger combis in Lima but that is not the case because I definitely took some very uncomfortable combis to Miraflores from La Molina. There are definitely more large buses but I will have to make do with what they have. The good thing is that there are plans to expand the Metropolitano which is Lima's version of the "L" (elevated train in Chicago). It's nice and fast and has a bus system as well. Woohoo for modernization and more safe methods of traveling around the city!

Something I think someone who wants to make money should do is ride every single combi there is in Cusco and map it's route and the make a Guia T like they have in Buenos Aires. It would increase ridership and decrease accidental rides. The only problem is that there is constantly construction in Cusco so routes tend to get changed at any point. 

In the meantime, I have to go catch the Huancaro combi.


  1. I can SOO relate, Amy! =) Just the other day, I had a combi first -- there was no cobrador, so I was super confused. Apparently, in those scenarios, you go up to the front (trying not to fall over yourself) and pay the driver, which makes me nervous because he has to multitask while driving. Eek! =P

    I don't know about Cuzco, but there are some combis that people avoid here because they often have (odorous) animals traveling with their owners. =P

    And I soo agree about combis being way cheaper than taxis. How much to taxis cost in Cuzco? In Huancayo, the minimum is 3 soles, but it can be as much as 6 soles throughout the city. How about combis? Here, they recently raised the price to 90 centimos. Then we have colectivos (like taxis but with a set route) that charge 1 sol.

  2. Yikes, I hate it when the cobrador asks the driver to change a sol or a bill for monedas. It is super dangerous. The cobrador should just wear a change dispensor. I know they make them. All combis cost 60 centimos but I have a feeling they will be upping the price soon.

    As for taxis, 3 soles in the minimum and if you are going all the way to the end of Cusco it can cost up to 10 soles if it is late.

    The only colectivos we have are to the Sacred valley and cost between 3 and 5 soles.

  3. Wow! It's about the same price and even a little cheaper there! =) Surprising!!