Transportation, Mexico City
Looks like there's a lot of info out there about the dangers associated with taxis in Mexico City and particularly those from the airport. In my experience it seems that passengers who have just arrived at the airport are viewed as 'fair game' by a lot of transport companies, I guess it's because often people are tired from long journies and haven't adjusted to their surroundings so are a bit disorientated. When I was young the long journies didn't bother me much, but these days I seem to fall into the 'exhausted' category if I travel more than 8 hours or so. If you're like me then do yourself a favour and organise your airport transport before you even get on the first leg of your flight. There's a few 'nicer' taxi companies operating out of Mexico City Airport, a few which have reputable looking sites (if you can trust a company by the website!). Do some research before you fly, book your taxi or other form of transport before you arrive, try to get a meet and greet if you can. Even if you only do this for the airport to hotel part of your journey and take a punt with the local taxis from then on, it'll be worth every penny, in my opinion. If you're travelling to Mexico City airport take a look at Mexico Airport Transfers, I was quite happy with their price and service - maybe it was more than I'd have paid if I took a regular taxi, but it was still less than in New York or London, and was better than being robbed half way to the hotel. But as mentioned, do your own research, but do yourself a favour, book in advance and take the stress, and risk, our of getting to your hotel.
In mexico city i used the metro almost every day because its sometimes far easier than facing the traffic with a car. I am tall, tanned but not dark skinned and blue eyed - not your average "mexican" looking at all and some how i have managed to get to this point without ever having a bad tale to tell, whilst using buses, the metro.. or grabbing a cab on the street whilst in a rush, no problems ... however.. i would not advise anyone to get a street cab, always get a taxi sitio, that can come and pick you up from your home or hotel especially at night and if you are with children. I always use sitios at night even though they are more expensive, but in a city like mexico, you need to know that you will arrive safely especially at night or as a tourist, unfamiliar with the streets. I picked up green VW cabs many times before with no problems but im sure that iv just had good luck on my side. There are many fake taxis, us living here can sometimes know by the license plates and know how to use more caution, but dont ruin your trip by taking a street car to save cash and ending paying big.
I find the metro so easy to use and great for getting around although at night i have been alone and its not very nice - the metro can be deserted and with the time it takes from station to station, if you end up in a carriage, travelling alone... you can be an easy target. I doubt that anyone at night will help you in the metro if it means endangering there own selves. Keep your things close to you, and when people come begging, selling or performing in the metro - dont get your wallet out and give anyone a taste of what you have with you. If anyone asks your help, or wants to show you the way, especially exiting the metro, be cautious - it could well be a trap. Like i say, i have up until now, never had any personal bad experience in the metro - but i have many friends that have had very close calls and been assulted or mugged - many mexicans say that the metro is too dangerous and for that reason they dont use it. I think its fairly safe to say that the metro is not scary - it gets crowded and hectic, but you wont fear for your life down there!
METRO BUS is something that you will see in insurgentes avenue.. a bus that crosses around 20kms of the city through insurgentes avenue stopping abit like a metro car at every and all stops along the route. Metrobus can get very crowded and i have had money stolen twice on the few occasions that i have used it. In popluar stops, the bus gets so crowded that its very easy for pickpockets to take your money so what out and only use this service when its not rush hour madness.
I've taken the bus in/out of Mexico City several times. Be VERY careful to keep track of your bags and yourselves. Before handing your bags over to just anyone, be 110% sure that they are authorized representatives of the company you're dealing with!
Again, I took green and white street cabs for the five years i lived in mexico city almost nightly in the early hours of the morning to get home from my girlfriends house.
I never got robbed or had any problems.
HOWEVER, my flatmate was robbed in taxis seven times in six months, twice at gunpoint and twice with a knife.
so i guess i was just lucky! (or he wasnt)
my friend's mother received us at the airport. she was the first mexican lady i've met when i left the airport. then my friend decided to drive instead of her mom. she drove us to my hotel in zocalo, city centre and that was supposed to take 20 minutes as maximum. but because of the traffic jam, it took us 2 hours! that was hell-ish!!!
the locals would prepare a snack meal or have something to drink during their long drive journey, as they might end up stuck in the traffic for 3 hours.
rush hour is noon and 4-5pm and also around 8-9pm so i noticed. so be prepared to get stuck. honest don't rent a car. it's a waste of time, especially if the metro sysem is more efficient and faster.
I have read the same question, about taxis in "Mexico city Forum" over and over, so I decides to add this information.
In Mexico city there's something that we call "Taxis Piratas" (fake taxis) this are the ones that make the bad reputation for taxis in mexico, because this ilegal or fake taxis are the ones that criminals use for robbery or kidnapping,etc. The best way to avoid this fake taxis is, not taking any taxi in the street that offer his service, specially the white and green VW.
To find a safe taxi, you should ask your hotel for a safe taxi or go to a "Sitio de taxis", this are like small terminals or taxi stands, this areas are for approved taxis only. I have travel alone in this taxis and found them very safe and convenient, yes a little more expensive, but safety has it's price, and it's worth it!
Here are some Photos of "Sito de taxis" the colors and sign are differents, depending on the area, but here are some examples of the signs that can help you find them.
Just after day break on an early December morning we tried to take the Metro (subway) from the airport in to the center of Mexico City. It would have helped at first if we were more fluent with Spanish, but Metro maps were helpful. On our particular trip I found 2 main problems - the 1st & minor problem was apparently at least on some trains certain cars are reserved for women only - my being the only male was probably forgiven as I was obviously a tall ignorant "Gringo" - 2nd problem was more serious as our car packed more and more tightly with each stop - with more & more shop & office ladies packing on on their way to work. As I towered over dozens of well dressed Mexican females grooming their eyelashes, I got pushed farther & farther from the car door. At our stop, my wife was able to push her way out - BUT I WAS TRAPPED BY PACKED WOMEN!! I raised my cane so my wife could help pull me out - but it took 3 station police to literally pull me out of the car!
RECOMMENDATION - READ THE METRO SIGNS CAREFULLY & POSITION ONESELF NEXT TO CAR DOOR DURING ANY RUSH HOUR CROWDING.
My boyfriend and I both had our wallets (travel wallets, belt style, worn under the clothing)stolen on the Metro within 2 minutes. Please, if you ride the Metro keep your hand on your wallet at all times and do not get on if severval people try to push you onto the Metro. Several people pushed us into the Metro and then the Metro was so crowded we didn`t even realize our stuff was gone until it was too late!
Be extremely careful when taking taxis in Mexico city. Never take the white and green taxis on the streets. Always ask the staff at your hotel to call a safe taxi for you, because it's really common that fake taxi drivers rob people, especially tourists.
When getting from the airport be sure to take the taxis sold infront of the airport entrance. But be sure to bargain the price before stepping into the taxi. They tried to charge us for 7 people when we were 3.
There are over twenty million people in Mexico City, so there's always a crowd and traffic can be a problem. I wouldn't recommend driving too much if you can avoid it. Carlos, Laura and I sat in traffic in front of my hotel for at least a half hour and only moved about two blocks!
DO NOT hail a taxi on the street in Mexico City. I was warned by multiple people that this is an unsafe practice. NEVER get into one of these little green Volkswagon Beetle cabs. Tourists have been known to be robbed or kidnapped in these vehicles. If you need a cab, be sure to call for one or get one at a sitio (a taxi stand with a dispatcher). They charge slightly more, but you are much less likely to get robbed. Having a restaurant or a hotel call a taxi is the safest way to do it.
The danger of theft or worst from a taxi ride is a well publicized concern in Mexico City. It is often recommended that you avoid the small "VW beatle" independents. It seems that they are the taxis most likely to be stolen for criminal purposes.
The rule for safety should be to chose your taxi rather that let it chose you. The radio or sitio taxis are slightly more expensive and easier to trace so probably less likely to be stolen, and when you call for one you are doing the chosing. Similarly you can chose the authorized taxis at airports and bus stations which have a good reputation. In other situations, you will find that restaurants, clubs and hotels will happily call a taxi for you or direct you to a driver they know. I still often flag down a taxi on the street although I have read people advising against this. In my opinion, it is certainly safer than taking a non-sitio taxi waiting outside a tourist spot, club or restaurant. Of course, it makes sense to avoid taxis with more than one person inside and to try to glance at the drivers ID hanging from mirror before you get inside for a long trip.
You should assume all taxi drivers are thieves in Mexico City and act accordingly.
Even if we forget about taxi drivers that actually take you in some remote location before robbing you, you still need to be paranoid about cab drivers.
In Mexico, taxis don't have meters and you, as a foreigner, are a relatively easy prey for money-sucking vampires.
Avoid taking cabs if possible. Use the metro instead. If you must take a taxi, ask for someone at your hotel to call one for you and help you in determining the price for your ride.
Never leave personal objects in the taxi if you get out of it expecting the driver to wait for you.
To avoid problems, always expect the worst with cabs and keep a paranoid attitude towards them. They often rip off locals and they almost always try to rip off tourists.
Most of the time you will not have any problems when you take the metro, but you should still take care. There can be lots of people crammed inside there, so take care with your belongings. I know a lot of people that got both themselves and their pockets picked...
Another thing to watch out for is people that are very helpful... If you ask someone for help or directions they will most of the time stop and help you. But if someone stops you and ask if you need help you should be very cautious...
This happened to us once we took the metro. A man approached us and asked where we were going. We told him, and "luckily" he was going the same way. What a coincidence... The only problem was that he was going the complete opposite way of what we were going. He insisted this was the right way, but we knew it wasn't and didn't want to go there. We wouldn't have followed him anyway, no matter how nice he seemed.
He was talking plenty and was so nice and charming. The nicer he got, the more suspicious we got... We tried to get away from him many times, but he kept following us and saying he would show us the right way. In the end we had to go to a policeman and pretend we were asking for directions, and then he disappeared very quickly...
All over the net and in many guidebooks it is written that you should not take the green VW beetles when you want to take a taxi in the city. There are plenty of these taxies everywhere, and they have a very bad reputation. A lot of both tourists and mexicans have been kidnapped, raped, robbed or other things.
Many times the taxies have been stolen, and are driven by criminals. No matter which taxi you take you should always look if they have an ID-card in the frontwindow, and that it fits with the driver. There should also be a number on the taxi that is the same as on the ID-card.
If you want a safe taxi you should take one that is in a sitio, and not hail one on the street. There are also some tourist taxies but these are generally more expencive than the others.
I took a few different kinds of taxies, but I never tried the green VW beetles though. Sometimes I took them from a sitio and other times I stopped them in the street. It wasn't always that they had a ID-card, but I never had any problems. The most scariest time was when the driver had a gun in his hand the whole time, but he got us to our destination and nothing bad happened in any of the taxies.