Mexico City Transportation
Subway, Mexico City Metro
Yes, Mexico City has one of the finest subway systems in the world. For 2 pesos you can cruise the entire city in rapid efficiency on board quiet, French-designed trains. There are nine lines covering 175 km of track. 4.7 million riders use the system each day!
Stations are clean and attractive; some have special attractions. The Zócalo station, for instance, features huge models of Mexico City during three historic periods; the Bellas Artes station has replicas of archaeological relics; the Pino Suárez station has an actual Aztec temple unearthed during station construction.
Best to avoid rush hours, and be cautious with your belongings. Hours vary but most run 5am-12:30am. Be sure to print our Mexico City Metro Map before you go. Then you just look for the line you want to transfer to (and direction). You will find that taking the Metro is not only cheaper, but much faster than taking a taxi on the over-crowded roads.
Mexico City Bus Stations
Terminal del Norte Metro stop "Autobuses del Norte" (Line 5, yellow). This is the City’s largest bus station. One can get almost anywhere from here but generally specializes in all points north such as Guadalajara, Monterrey, Tijuana. Nuevo Laredo, Mazatlan, Puerto Vallarta, and everything in between. Click here for the a href="http://g.co/maps/9hwny">Central de Autobuses del Norte on a Google map.
Central de Poniente or Observatorio (Av. Sur 122, Colonia Real del Monte). Metro stop "Observatorio" (Line 1, pink). This is Mexico City’s least known bus station and generally limits itself to serving a handful of cities along the west coast such as Manzanillo, Valle del Bravo, etc.
Central del Sur or more widely known as Taxqueña. Metro station "Taxqueña" (Line 2, blue). Departures to Acapulco every 30 minutes or so, it caters to all points south such as Acapulco, Zihuatanejo and Ixtapa, Oaxaca, and Chiapas. See Taxqueña on a gmap.
TAPO a.k.a. Central de Oriente, (Calzada Ignacio Zaragoza 200, Colonia 10 de Mayo). Metro Stop "San Lazaro" (Line 1, pink) services the southern gulf region. Go here if you’re headed in the direction of Puebla, Xalapa, Veracruz, Villahermosa, Mérida, Cancun, and Playa del Carmen. See a map of Central de Autobuses de Oriente.
Mexico City Airport
Airport Name: Benito Juárez International Airport code MEX.
Location: 6.5 km. east of the downtown historic center.
The Mexico City Airport is a fine international facility made finer with the addition of a second major terminal. The Mexico City Airport is now actually two connected facilities. The older but nicely appointed original terminal houses Mexican-based carriers, while the newer terminal (opened in 1993 at a cost of $80 million) has most international carriers (including all U.S. airlines). The older terminal at the Mexico City Airport has now been spiffed up thanks to a major modernization project completed in early ‘98. Improvements in the upstairs gate area include carpeted floors, remodeled restrooms, comfortable seats, and improved concessions. There is also a Hilton Hotel, located above the gate area in the new passenger terminal (see Lodging section in this chapter for details).
Mexico City Airport offers dozens of shops selling an amazing variety of domestic and imported items. An excellent art gallery occupies a portion of the main terminal lobby. The Mexico City Airport has several bars and snack stands, several restaurants, a fast-food court, bank outlets, an excellent visitor info center (including Hotel Association Offices in the baggage claim areas offering local information and hotel bookings), and impeccably clean, shiny marble floors throughout.
From the Mexico City Airport, look for booths inside of baggage claim with a large TAXI sign. AVOID ALL OTHER AIRPORT TAXI SOLICITATIONS. Set rates apply to all areas of the city, with most fares running around $10 U.S. per trip. Tip 10% of the fare if driver handles your luggage.
All cabs are not equal, particularly in Mexico City where several options are available. Outside most hotels and visitor attractions are larger (more expensive!) unmarked sedans with English speaking drivers and guides. These larger sedans can be hired by the hour ($20-30 US) and are perfect for the business traveler with appointments at different locations. Drivers carry cellular phones.
Cruising the streets are taxis of three distinctions - the ORANGE & WHITE fourdoor cabs offering comfort and metered rates; GREEN & WHITE, newer VW bugs with cheaper, metered rates; and YELLOW & WHITE, older VW bugs (soon to be phased out in favor of the green bugs which use unleaded fuel) which offer the cheapest metered rates of all. However, a recent surge in petty crime has caused city authorities to recommend visitors use only “sitio” cabs, avoiding the roaming VW vehicles (see “Safety & Combating Crime” next column).
In any case, cabs are CHEAP by international standards and easy to find. Rates may be higher on Sundays and in the evening after 10pm. Tipping is generally not expected. Always check that the meter is working or running ("ON”) before you drive off. The meter should read “2" (2 pesos) when starting a journey at normal hours.
Strict anti-pollution laws restrict vehicle usage in Mexico City on certain days of the week. The schedule, determined by the last digit on your license plate for out-of-state cars, is as follows:
Monday ........................5 or 6
Tuesday .......................7 or 8
Wednesday .................3 or 4
Thursday ......................1 or 2
Friday ...........................9 or 0
Sat/Sun ...................no restrictions apply.
The schedule is determined by the color band on the license plate for Mexico City residents. This law is strictly enforced and uniformly applied - even to foreign visitors arriving in their own private autos or rental cars. Heavy fines apply (up to $300 U.S. or vehicle impoundment). Note: Vehicles made since ‘93 and that pass inspection can be driven daily.