Getting to know how to move yourself around the city is not as hard as it may seem! Once you figure out the transportation system you’ll have the city in the palm of your hand.
Often, when I get to a new destination, I challenge myself to learn the transportation system. I find it as a great way to save money on cabs and as a great way to get to know the locals and the city.
You should know that even though Mexico City is a huge metropolis, it is not that difficult to move around, especially to the business areas and main attractions of the city.
The subway, also known as the underground or metro system, ranks fourth globally in number of passengers transported and third in the number of trips made. Its great strength is the ability to transport over 5 million passengers idailly to various sectors of the city; its daily challenge is to grow at the pace of the growth of one of the world’s largest city. The trains can transport up to 50 thousand passengers per hour, in both directions.
Ridden by about 4.4 million passengers on an average weekday, it has 195 stations and more than 226km of track on 12 lines. A nine car train can mobilize 1,530 users. Trains arrive every two to three minutes during rush hour. At 5 pesos a ride, it’s one of the world’s cheapest subways.
Beware of the rush hour when platforms and cars can become alarmingly packed (roughly 7:30am to 10am and 3pm to 8pm). At these times the front cars are reserved for women and children, and men may not proceed beyond the “Sólo Mujeres y Niños” sign.
Always watch your belongings, so you can stay clear of pickpocketing. If you are a woman, don’t try to be brave, you’ll feel better in the cars designated for women and children.
The metro is easy to use. Lines are color-coded and each station is identified by a unique logo. Each platform operates in only one direction and on one line, so it’s not complicated to learn how to use of the metro. Just follow the name of the last station on the line you are wanting to go on. Pay attention to the logo or icon of the station you want to go to, you’ll easily see it from the car even if it’s crowded.
In rush hour make sure to start walking to the door one or two stations before your stop, otherwise you may miss it.
You can buy paper tickets at the ticket window or buy a card that you can use also use on Metrobus and some local buses. If you are using a paper ticket, feed it into the turnstile and walk in, you don’t need to keep the ticket, like you do with other metro systems in the world.
If you need to change trains look for “Correspondencia” (transfer) signs. Maps of the vicinity around each station are posted near the exits.
Aides from the metro, you can use the Metrobus which is a bus system that has 5 lines that go to different sectors of the city. Line 1 runs along Insurgentes Avenue (30 km). This avenue is the largest street in the city and runs from south to north and north to south. It is used by 480 thousand passengers a day. line 4 is the one that goes to the International Airport, stopping at both terminals.
Other means of transportation in the city includes buses, peseros and trolleybuses. There are thousands of peseros in the shape of small buses painted white/gray and green, which are practical and help you to get everywhere in the city, combined with the help of the metro and metrobus. The trolleybuses only run on certain roads. Most are ejes, which are priority roads. The trolleybus you most likely use is the one that runs along Eje Central Lazaro Cardenas and leaves you in the heart of down town.