Bus / combi fares in Lima

Here’s a question: What are the fares I’m supposed to pay for the busses / combis in Lima?

I’ve been in Lima for a few days now, taking combis to various places, and I can’t seem to figure out the fares. I’ve been paying S/. 1.00 for almost every trip, long, short, or in between. It’s not a big issue because 1 Sol is not a lot of money (~0.35 US$), but I’m just curious.

Here’s some examples:

  • I took a combi from the “Ovalo” in Miraflores to “Naciones Unidos” @ “Zorritos” in downtown Lima, about a 45 minute trip during the day. I gave the boletero S/. 1.00 and he accepted it.
  • On the way back from “Zorritos” I took the exact same route (Arica – 28 Julio – todo Arequiiiiipaaaaa) but in a different company. Since I didn’t have S/. 1.00 on me, I gave the boletero S/. 2.00 and he gave me S/. 0.60 change I believe.
  • The next day I took a combi from the “Ovalo” again going up Arequipa, but I told the boletero that I’d be jumping out at “Javier Prado”, so this trip was less than half the distance of the previous one. Again I gave the boletero S/. 1.00 and he accepted it, no change.

On the short trips, I see many of the locals give the boletero some change that is less than S/. 1.00, but I don’t know how much. I’ve asked “cuanto?” a few times, but the boleteros just look at me confused and I end up giving them my 1 Sol as usual. I’m kind of leery to ask, because the rates that are posted inside the combis are actually much higher, usually starting at S/. 1.50 and up to S/. 2.80 or something like that. Plus, I don’t want to look the part of the dumb gringo who doesn’t know his way around.

Again, it’s just small change, but I’m just curious as to what everyone else is paying. When in Lima, I guess I like to do like the Limenians 🙂

3 thoughts on “Bus / combi fares in Lima

  1. With the hike in gas prices in 2007ish, 1 sol fares went up to 1.20, and generally stayed that way when gas prices went back down.

    Unless you are unfortunately lower-working class and live an insane distance up a hill and travel to work dozens of kilometers you’ll never have to pay more than S/.1.20

    So you’re prices are 1.20, 1.00 and 0.50

    0.50 will take you a few blocks, or between rush hours, a decent way along a main avenue if you ask to pay “cincuenta” before you get on the bus.

    1.00 will take you long ways between districts, and can get you from Miraflores to the edge of Lima if the route is direct.

    1.20 gets you longer distances such as Surco to Lima buy going out to Javier Prado and then around La Victoria. Or Chorrillos to Lima.

    It’s not unusual that they’d try to charge you S/.1.20 for a S/.1 journey, and common that they’d forget to give you your change if you don’t ask for it. Just as in Cusco, people pride themselves in getting away with cheating you – don’t be afraid to remove the cobrador’s personal items from his person and hold them out the window or door until you get your correct change. It works, I’ve tried.

    The prices on the window are what they want to charge but the public refuses to pay, opting instead to pay what they always have. The 1 to 1.20 change provoked a lot of almost violent confrontation.

  2. slang for cincuenta also is china/o i forget exactly but as stuart said a few blocks you should only pay cincuenta. Also as stuart says people pay what they always have. I stayed in lima a few months before and when i knew shorter routes should only be a china that would be all i give. If he made a fuss i never usually say much or if he asked where i was going id say the street or unas cuadras… only once i paid 2.20 i think I went from san borja to almost comas…

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