We rarely take taxis when we travel. We prefer to take the subways or buses, depending on the Cities. Mexico City was no different. Our hotel wasn’t all that close to a Metro Station but that didn’t stop us from using the train every day of our visit. All else being equal, if given the choice between taking the City bus or the subway, I’ll always choose the subway. You know where the subway is going to go – and while they can alter the stops (skipping one or more), the train never goes on detour and takes a different road and drops you off god knows where.
The Mexico City Metro is very large, with 12 Lines, and 195 Stations. It is the 11th largest (based on length) in the world with 1.6 billion (yes, with a ‘B’) rides annually.
The frequency was absolutely amazing too – we never had to wait more than 3 minutes for a train any time we wanted to ride. That aspect reminded me so much of Paris. What didn’t remind me of Paris was how crowded the cars got, especially on the weekends. We actually had to wait for the next train a couple times on Saturday since the car was absolutely packed.
Despite the cars operating at more than full capacity, there was still plenty of room for men with huge speakers strapped to their back playing their (or their family members) new music from their mariachi band (mostly – although some people were selling their own rap albums). Honestly, some of the bands/artists were quite good. People were also selling all sorts of small crap – which I assumed they just stole from a store and are now marking a profit off of it. On the train we could buy batteries, gum, candies, postcards and one lady was even selling small bottles of cleaning supplies and toothpaste. What was more surprising is that people were actively buying this crap. One lady we watched on the train bought something from every single vendor that passed. She looked like she was doing her Saturday shopping without ever leaving her train seat. We did not buy anything on the train – my biggest concern was that (even if we wanted something) when we were purchasing it, the vendor’s cohort would then be picking our pockets, etc. This sales practice seems all the norm in Mexico City – no one batting an eyelash (except when the music was so loud and jarring you couldn’t help but close your eyes, so they wouldn’t burst out of your head.
All in all, I would highly recommend using the Mexico City Metro to get around the City. Just like subways in other Cities (or any place with a large number of people in a small/confined area), be aware of your surroundings, keep your valuables secured (in zipped pockets or better yet, locked up in your hotel room or back at home). Don’t flash any sums of money on the train either. There is no reason to have your wallet out on the subway.
There are various subway apps to download, so you’ll always know where your closet station is. Head over to the official Mexico City Metro website to review the maps now. Live like the locals. Take the subway.
What is your favorite mode of transportation while traveling? Do subways frighten you?