How is Public Transport in Mexico? All the Spanish you need to get around!

Don't Miss This Spanish Public Transport Vocabulary!

What's public transport in Mexico like? Do we really have chickens traveling with us like Hollywood makes it out to be? What kind of trains and buses do we have in Mexico City, Cancun and other regions? 

In this video, you will learn about all that and all the Spanish you need, to catch any type of public and non-public transportation in Mexico like a local, and never get lost! 

I am Paulisima, Spring Spanish teacher and your local transportation guide of this episode. 

¡Empecemos!(Let’s begin!)

1. Caminar (Walking)

In Mexico City, the nicest, most sought-after neighborhoods are highly walkable! Caminar es una de mis actividades favoritas. Es la forma en la que me transporto más frecuentemente. (Walking is one of my favorite activities. It is the way I move around more frequently.) ¡Atención! Nuestras aceras y carreteras no son las mejores conservadas del mundo, así que, ¡atención! ¡Caminen con cuidado! (Attention! Our sidewalks and roads are not the best kept in the world, so pay attention! ¡Walk carefully!) 

¿Escucharon? ¡Aguas! (Did you hear that? Literally, water, but it just means “attention”!) ¿Por qué decimos aguas? (Why do we say “waters”?) It's actually an interesting story. 

2. Metro (Metro)

¡Ya hice todo un video sólo sobre el metro! ¡Chéquenlo!(I’ve already made a whole video about the metro. Check it out!) Pero de todas formas, vengan conmigo a ver cómo es una estación con correspondencia. (But anyway, come with me to see how is a station with correspondence.)

When you buy your tickets, you can say just the number of tickets you want. 

Uno por favor. Dos por favor. 
(One please. Two please.) 

Aquí puedes recargar tu tarjeta de movilidad integrada. (Here you can top up your integral mobility card.) Algo importante del metro de la Ciudad de México: (Something important about Mexico City’s metro:) Expect people offering all kinds of merchandise. From chewing gum, to roses, and chocolate bars. When it is really crowded, you might hear an officer saying:

“¡Recórrase!” O “¡Aváncele!” 
(“Scoot over!” Or “Keep walking!”) 

They mean you should scoot over. 

Otras dos cosas muy importantes: (Two other very important things:) Do respect the designated area for women and children, and don’t be surprised if you see locals eating inside the “metro. It’s not allowed actually, but people still do it.

3. Metrobus (Metrobus)

It is a bus-rapid transit system that has served Mexico City since 2005. 

No te puedes perder subirte a los autobuses de doble piso de la línea siete que recorren el maravilloso e icónico Paseo de Reforma. (You cannot miss getting on the double-decker buses on line seven that runs along the wonderful and iconic Paseo de Reforma.) Ticket is 7 pesos. Vas a necesitar la tarjeta de movilidad integrada. (You’re going to need the integrated mobility card.) Don’t be surprised if someone asks you to let them use your card. They’ll give you cash, and you can ask other people to do the same for you. 

Disculpe. ¿Me deja pasar? Le pago. 
(Excuse me. Would you let me in? I’ll pay you.) 

There are clear indications, so I don’t think you’ll get lost, but just to make sure, you could ask if you’re going in the right direction. Like this:

Disculpe, aquí estoy bien para…

(Excuse me, am I fine here for…), and then you insert the direction you’re going to Indios Verdes? 

(Indios Verdes station)

Disculpe, ¿aquí estoy bien para Tepalcates?
(Excuse me, am I fine here for Tepalcates?)

You might hear officers saying: 

“Detrás de la línea amarilla”. 
(Behind the yellow line.)

Aquí en Spring Spanish, tenemos más videos sobre otros medios de transporte. Chéquenlos: (Here at Spring Spanish, we have more videos about means of transportation. Check them out:)

4. Autobús (Bus)

En México, casi toda la gente le dice “camión” al autobús. (In Mexico, almost all people call the bus “camión”.) 

There are some smaller ones that people call “microbus” o “micro”. La verdad es que yo no uso el camión ni el micro. (The truth is that I don’t use the bus nor the “micro”.) It’s just that they would make smaller routes, and for me, if I’m going to be 20 or 30 minutes in a bus, I much rather walk. 

Vas a necesitar cambio, y normalmente el mismo conductor cobra o hay una persona al lado del conductor que cobra. (You are going to need change, and normally the same driver charges or there is a person next to the driver who charges.)

Dato curioso: En México es muy común que la gente use el tiempo que pase en el camión, en el metro, o en otro tipo de transporte público, ¡para maquillarse! (Fun fact: In Mexico, it is very common for people to use the time they spend in the bus, in the subway, or in another type of public transport, to put on makeup!) Don’t act surprised when you see this! 

What do you say to exit el camión (the bus)? Check out this lovely chunk of Mexican Spanish: 

¡Bajan! 
(Going down!)

Simple. ¡Bajan! Which means something like: they come down, but don’t worry about direct translations, you don’t need them! Actually, it would only slow you down. 

At Spring Spanish, we use an efficient way to learn, it’s called Conversation Based Chunking. To get you started, you can now download your free copy of the Spanish Chunking Kit. The link is in the description! 

5. Combi (Small bus)

Si eres turista, lo más seguro es que no vayas a ir a partes de la ciudad que no están bien conectadas. En las zonas más alejadas del centro de la ciudad, una forma muy común de transporte es la combi. Si tienen la posibilidad de evitar las combis, ¡evítenlas! (If you are a tourist, the safest thing is that you will not go to parts of the city that are not well connected. In the areas furthest from the city center, a very common form of transport is the “combi” (small buses). If you have a chance to avoid “combis”, avoid them!) Avoid them at all costs! I think most “combi” users would tell you the same thing. I’m sure that if they had another option, they’d go for it. 

Aunque no pasa todos los días, cada cinco minutos, sí pasa desafortunadamente, que asaltan dentro de la combi. (Although it does not happen every day, every five minutes, it does happen unfortunately that they rob people inside the combi.)

6. Cablebus (Cable-bus)

This is completely new, and it’s part of the effort of the government of Mexico City to provide dignified and efficient modes of transport for people who have been historically left out. ¡Y está padrísimo! (And it’s so cool!) 

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