Getting Around Mexico City

In Mexico City, expats are often very pleased to discover that public transportation is not only cheap but also very efficient. However, it’s important to know that you may face some dangers when using certain modes of transportation. Fear not, we’ve got the lowdown on Mexico City’s public transportation offerings so you can get where you need to be without worry.

Taxis

You’ll find several different types of taxis in Mexico City. Turismo taxis are easy to spot. They are typically luxury vehicles that you’ll find around nice hotels. They are unmarked and have distinctive license plates. They are more expensive than the others, though they are among the safest to use. You can negotiate your rates with them to and from anywhere except for the airport. Another benefit of these taxis is that the drivers often speak English well and they provide outstanding service. They will also wait for you while you’re shopping or dining or you can call them to come back and get you when you’re finished. Talk about service!

Additionally, there are sitio taxis that are also considered very safe. They are less expensive than the Turismo taxis. Avoid using any green or red VW Beetle taxis. While these libre taxis are very cheap, they are not very safe.

The Metro

Screen Shot 2018-01-16 at 3.25.42 PM.png

In Mexico City, the subway system is amazing. It’s smooth and easy to use, plus it is known for having the lowest fares in the world. It features a massive network of twelve lines. It runs until midnight every night so if you plan to be out later than that, be prepared to find a taxi following the advice mentioned above.

It’s important to take note of the direction you want to go in. Make sure you follow the signs well because, in most subway stations, there is typically only one route map at the entrance. The good news is that the subway stations in Mexico City are all very clean and interesting. You’ll often get a chance to see some nifty archaeological finds that were discovered while the subway lines were being constructed too which is a nice bonus. You can also use the underground passage that runs from the Zócalo station to the Pino Suárez station to bypass the crowds you’ll encounter along Pino Suárez.

The downside of the subway is that it is very crowded during daytime hours on weekdays. In the summer, it’s hot and humid. With the crowds and the heat, it’s most unpleasant during the evening rush hour time. Because of overcrowding, there is often the chance for groping, so some stations have roped off separate lanes for women and children only. The first three cars of each train during peak hours are reserved exclusively for women and children.

If you’re going to be traveling with a large bag, you will not be permitted to carry it onto the train. If you need to carry a larger bag for any reason (like going to the airport), take a different mode of transport instead. Additionally, large crowds make it easy for pickpockets to target unsuspecting travelers. They are extremely stealthy and prey on foreigners. It’s best to carry your valuables inside your clothing (like underwear or bras), and women are heavily advised not to travel alone on the trains.

Bus

Screen Shot 2018-01-16 at 3.26.18 PM.png

The bus makes for a great way to get around Mexico City on the cheap. Buses stop along the major streets, and each bus stop is adorned with maps and the details of the full route. As you may expect, during peak hours, the buses get very crowded. For convenience’s sake, make sure you have the exact fare when boarding the bus. The bus drivers usually have change, but it’s not something you want to leave to chance.

The Metrobus is a newer option that began back in 2006. They have their own lanes and go faster than normal traffic with dedicated stops that are convenient for commuters. These buses are more expensive than the regular city buses, but they are also much cleaner and faster. Of course, during peak hours they still get intensely crowded, though.

If you’re a woman, you have an additional option for getting around in Mexico City. There are many city buses that are only for women. You’ll see a pink placard on them indicating that no men are permitted. This supports an effort to keep men from groping female passengers which is, unfortunately, a large problem in the city. The women of Mexico City have all found this to be a wonderful solution, and for women expats, you’ll feel incredibly safe getting around the city on one of these women-only buses.

Colectivo

Screen Shot 2018-01-16 at 3.26.36 PM.png

For a more comfortable bus ride, you can seek out the colectivo, which are often referred to as peseros or microbuses. You’ll find them on the main roads, picking up and dropping off passengers on their routes. They are speedier than the traditional buses and much more comfortable too. The routes are displayed on cards on the windshield, and most stops are at Metro stations.

If you want to take a colectivo, you should watch the driver as he pulls up to the stop. It’s hard to see if there are any vacancies on this type of bus so the drivers often put their hands out the window and hold up their fingers to indicate how many passengers they can accept.

Tourist Bus

Screen Shot 2018-01-16 at 3.27.01 PM.png

For a more comfortable bus ride, you can seek out the colectivo, which are often referred to as peseros or microbuses. You’ll find them on the main roads, picking up and dropping off passengers on their routes. They are speedier than the traditional buses and much more comfortable too. The routes are displayed on cards on the windshield, and most stops are at Metro stations.

If you want to take a colectivo, you should watch the driver as he pulls up to the stop. It’s hard to see if there are any vacancies on this type of bus so the drivers often put their hands out the window and hold up their fingers to indicate how many passengers they can accept.