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The "Metrobus" along Insurgentes Avenue
The city government had this brilliant idea of building this weird thing called Metrobus..... it's a long bus in fact, and it originally covered a fixed straight route along our longest avenue, Insurgentes, which goes across the entire city from the very north to the very south tip. There are many stops along the avenue and the stations somewhat ressemble a small open-air metro station. Nowadays lines 2-3-4-5 have been opened, which run along several avenues (Benjamin Franklin, Xola, Cuauhtemoc, Vallejo in the northern part of the city, etc.) connecting the city from east to west and which have the same operation system as the 1st line. One of the newest ones - Line no. 4 - takes you from Buenavista, close to downtown, to the airport. There are special buses with luggage space and a non-stop service to the airport, and regular buses which do stop along the way.
In order to use this bus you must buy an electronic card (looks like a credit card, see my previous tip about the metro card and it looks just the same) which costs $10 MXN (less than $1 USD) and then add/charge the amount of money you want in it depending on how many trips you're going to make. Each 1-way trip costs $6.00 MXN (2014) regardless of the distance you'll be traveling (NOTE: the fee to go to the airport is higher). A free transfer between lines is allowed as long as it's done within 2 hours of boarding the bus for the first time. There are machines located at the entrance of each station where you can both purchase and/or recharge cards.
This bus runs at street level on the central lanes of Insurgentes, Xola and other avenues, stops only on each assigned station and must respect traffic lights as regular vehicles do. The special lane where it runs was specifically designed for the Metrobus and no other vehicle -except for ambulances - is authorized to use it. When the Metrobus was introduced they banned the regular buses which would stop every 5 meters on the right-most lane of the street, causing chaos and traffic jams. Supposedly the traffic is more efficient now (yeah right), and since each station is located at a corner you can easily cross the first 3 lanes - when the traffic light allows you to, of course - and get to the middle of the avenue where the Metrobus station is located. There are pedestrian traffic lights now in every corner (I know this is normal in many countries but not here!).
You can find more information and see a map with all of the Metrobus lines & stations at the website provided below (in Spanish only). Also, keep in mind that most part of the day and especially in central areas/stations these buses get EXCESSIVELY crowded (the Metrobus transports over 300,000 people everyday) and it's almost impossible to board them. Sometimes you have to wait for 4-5 buses to pass by before you can hop into one. It really is a hassle to use these buses so if you can avoid it, all the better. Use them only if it's really necessary and there aren't other means of transportation available in the area.
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Modeled after the London double-decker buses, the Turibus is a great way to get around Mexico City and enjoy the major attractions. There are two routes, one covers Reforma Avenue, all the major museums and downtown. The second route covers the southern part of the city.
You can get on and off as many times as you want during the day and rates are affordable, between $10 and $14, depending on the day of the week. The top deck is open and you have a 360 degree view, the cost includes a pre-recorded guide available in six languages, there are no bathrooms on the bus and it is recommended that you take precautions against the sun.
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In and out DF by bus!
If you're coming from another town in Mexico maybe the bus is your best alternative, because it's cheaper than renting a car and paying the high toll fees they charge in some of our highways/roads (some of which are in not-so-good conditions), not to mention the fuel, all of which makes travelling by car somewhat expensive. Also, even though we already have several budget airlines operating and offering cheap flights within the country, sometimes the distances aren't that big so flying isn't worthwhile and the bus is much cheaper.
The bus service in Mexico is highly reliable and takes you mostly anywhere, it's not expensive and it's fairly safe. We have 4 bus terminals in the north (Central Camionera del Norte), south (Central Camionera del Sur), east (TAPO) and west (Observatorio) of the city. All of them are next to a metro station, so they are very easily accesible if you want to catch a bus from Mexico City to another town in Mexico (including the Teotihuacan Pyramids).
If you're coming into Mexico City and you don't want to ride the metro after arriving at any of these bus stations, take safe/authorized taxis and avoid hailing one at the street: these latter may be dangerous as there are many people in these terminals - especially tourists - so it's more probable that thieves search for victims around here.
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I didn't take this tour but it sounded great.
Its a first class bus for tourists that stops at many of the major tourist sites in Mexico & Guatemala. There is also one stop in Belize City (Belize) and Copan Ruins (Honduras).
Offers daily departures, a flexible schedule that you can create a totally personalized itinerary. You are also allowed to make unlimited changes to your schedule. There is a free on-line guide and free activities
I've been to most of the areas covered and the regular (Mexican buses) do offer coverage Mexico. there are also great options in Guatemala (tourist and local buses are easy) and Copan.
However, this is a nice option if you want an easier trip with drop offs and pick ups at your hostel and additional tourist type information. Its also a good way to meet other travels.
Prices are of course higher than the local (Mexican bus) will be.
Travel cheaply, see the city
Taking the bus around is cheap and safe, sometimes it can be very crowded but its a fun experience in itself. Depending on the bus, it will cost anywhere from 2 - 3.50 pesos per ride (20-30 cents USD) so its not much. Try to understand where you want to go and explain it to the driver if you want to make sure you're getting on the right bus, the system can be complicated. Usually I always talked to the driver, or asked other locals in advance the name of the bus I wanted and what direction it was going in.
Mexico City – Guadalajara Intercity
I had arrived from Acapulco at the south bus station but was departing to Guadalajara from the north bus station. I understand that there are two other bus stations in Mexico City, so if traveling by bus you need to have some idea of which destinations are served by each bus station. For this longest segment on my trip, from Mexico City to Guadalajara, I decided to travel using Futura. From what I had heard, they had a good reputation and they didn't disappoint on this seven hour, 470 pesos trip. There were only four passengers on the bus so I'm not sure how they made any money from our trip.
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Bus Station @ MEX Airport
There is a bus station conveniently located at the Mexico City airport. After clearing customs (international arrivals are in Section E of the airport), find your way to the second floor. Look for the food area; just past there you will find ticket counters for several bus companies that will take you to Queretaro, Puebla, etc.
It makes it very convenient to fly into Mexico City and take comfortable buses to other places some one hour to five hours away via bus.
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You'll see these microbuses, also known as peseros, around town and they are often more frequent than the regular buses. After visiting the National Anthropology Museum one morning, I decided to walk all the way down Reforma back to my hotel near the Zocalo. However, after about a half hour, I realized this was a REALLY long walk, so I decided to jump on one of the microbuses that was passing by. The drivers will slow down if you make eye contact with them. It was 4.50 pesos and you can just look for the destination (usually more than one listed) in the front window. Some locals warned me that the drivers are crazy, but I didn't have any problem on my ride.
City buses, like the Metro, are just two pesos for a ride, but they are a little more confusing, so if you don't know the routes, it can be a challenge. However, one commonly used route is along Reforma all the way from the Indios Verdes Metro/Bus Station in the north down to the University in the South (Universidad Metro stop) and running in the opposite direction too. You can ask someone for the correct bus number for your destination, but you can also check the front window of the bus where the destination will be displayed.
Get around with the private buses
When I couldn´t take the Metro - I also took the private little buses which are driving around everywhere.
Just take care that they do not let you pay too much money just because you are a tourist - I am not sure if I did not do that two years ago.
The good thing is they always have a lot of the places they go to on their buses - so just put up your hand and jump in - I´m serious - jump, pay and hold on...
The public buses are cheaper, I guess, but you will see them not as often.
METROBUS is a new system in the city.
This bus will take you from north to south or the other way around - all the stop stations are in Insurgentes Avenue.
The cost of it is around 4 pesos per ticket.
This bus will be helpful in order to move further without taking the metro.
Just avoid it in clock times (8-10am - 6-8pm) they are FULL
Pesero, Microbus & Trolleybus
Microbuses haven an approximate schedule: from 5:00 to 24:00 hrs. The fare varies according to the distance traveled.
Buses only pick up passengers at established bus stops. The price varies according to the distance traveled.
Electric trolleybuses only travel on some avenues and pick up passengers only at established stops.
Turibus - Circuito Turistico
The Touribus is the best way to get to know this awesome city. You can buy one- to three-day-tickets. Three days are most worth it though, as e.g. I myself for the first day did nothing else but a round trip without hopping on and off, but marked the want-to-see-sights for the next two days. This round trip takes three hours - if you're not resting, so you can easily get an impression of how big this city really is. The next two days you can take the Turibus to get to the sites you marked the first day. The good thing about it is, there are stops althrough the city center, so you can hop on or off wherever you want to, although it says, start of the tour is the Auditorio Nacional. Besides there are stops near sites that - without this bus - would take you some time (and nerves) to get there.
Some of the places the bus stops are:
- Museo Tamayo
- Monumento a la Revolución
- Museo de Antropología
Take the bus
Taking the bus in Mexico is both cheap and efficient. There are lots of different companies that drives all over the country. You can take everything from expencive deluxe buses to cheap, bumpy "chickenbuses".
If you plan on covering a long distance by overnight bus it might be better to pay a little bit more for a first-class bus. They don't always go direct, but they have just a few stops. The second-class and other buses stops at every corner, and people come and go all the time, which makes it very difficult to sleep.
All of the first-class buses, and many second-class, have both TV and air condition. Normally they show an old american movie with spanish subtitles.
Buses and Combis
Local bus: fare depends on distance traveled, minimum 3 pesos, about 0.30 dollars, for the first 5 kms.
Volkswagen Combis (referred to as Combis) are very used as colective units with an established route. They usually connect with metro stations and bus stops. Fare depends on distance traveled.
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Mexico City Travel Guide
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