Transportation, Mexico City
At present, it is still considered extremely unsafe (kidnapping/robbery risk) to use the regular taxis -- usually the small green ones. Don't hail a taxi from the street, rather call one in advance or take one from your hotel.
Ok, my friend who lives in Mexico City (that's her in the photo) says she was robbed by a taxi driver. The bad thing is she was with two other people, her aunt and a male cousin. When the male cousin resisted the cab driver hit him in the face with his gun. So the government reports about avoiding those green and white taxis are true. They are definitely dangerous even though I have taken them every time I was in Mexico City without any incident.
Also, be careful of pickpockets in the Airport. When I was leaving I sat my backpack down, took my camera out of my shorts pocket and put it in a side pocket of my backpack, looked up and noticed this mexican kid (16 or 17) watching me intently. Since I was about to check in I didn't think he'd have a chance to really do anything. Somehow in the 15 minutes it took me to get through the line at the airport he got the camera. It had all my film from the past few days which is the only bad thing. So don't underestimate their skill and speed.
I should not have to warn you about the Metro (subway). It is funny because living there I got used to traveling in the stations. When Alma (my wife) went to visit I told her to be careful and as we went down the steps I began to pick up the pace and by time we hit the bottom step I was at a brisk walk. She had a little trouble keeping up at first. Everyone walks extremely fast and the Metro gets almost impossible to board at rush hour.
One other thing which I always tried to do was get out of the city before dusk.
Be careful with the taxis! Just take those ones that have got a picture I.D. outside at the door, and also check if the driver is the man on the photo. The green VW taxis are considered generally unsafe. The best way is to take a taxi at one of the registered taxi stands.
The Traffic!! Never before had I seen so much traffic!
This city is just so busy, 24 hours a day it seemed to me. At every traffic light children would appear to wash your windscreen or to sell some flowers or a newspaper.
Do not take a cab in Mexico without having one ordered for you. You can tell any restaurant or hotel that you want a 'taxi seguro' or safe taxi. You often will get a Tourist car from a hotel which will bear a tourist taxi shield in the window. ASK what it will cost to go to your destination -- it will always be higher than a normal taxi but it is much better than losing your valuables or your life. While it is rare that you'd be kidnapped it has happened. Restaurants will call a taxi sitio. Get a description and the number of the cab. Only get into that cab. ... From Zocalo US citizens are safe walking about 2 blocks east on Tacuba to the Holiday Inn. (see photo) There you will be placed into a taxi that will not be too expensive but will be safe. Do I know people who've been robbed? Yes. DO I LOVE Mexico City? YES. Do I feel safe? Yes! Once you've spent weeks in the City and speak very good spanish if you want to take a cab on the street then that is your decision. I know people who do and who have not yet been robbed. But be aware this does happen and for me - a rather fearless visitor I don't wish to take the chance.
About public transportation you have to be careful with Taxis, Subway and bus,NEVER take too much money with you, just the necessary or hide it.
About food, never eat on the streets and be careful with vegetables, some stablishments dont desinfect them properly, like lettuce.
The Metro is probably the safest way for the tourest to travel in Mexico City. (There are 'guards' at the various stations who keep an eye out on the passengers.) But even so, don't let your guard down. Keep any bags you may be carrying close and in front of you.
Men in Mexico City seem to love whistling at women and making comments. Don't be too alarmed - they're usually harmless. Again, be careful and use common sense.
About taxis in Mexico City - lots of locals don't even like them. If you find however that you must take a taxi, try to call a taxi service to have one sent to pick you up. Most taxis are green VW Beetles. The driver should ALWAYS have his information card with his photo displayed - if he doesn't, you ought to reconsider getting in the cab.
Late night taxi riding should be avoided. There are many taxi stands (sitios) that are much safer as they register arrivals and departures. Flagging down a taxi after 11 o'clock at night (especially in the dowtown section) could mean a free three hour tour of the city with your eyes closed) and at the minimal cost of whatever the ATM says your limit is (three hours because they will wait until after midnight to take out more money). Be careful. use basic safety tips such as no flashy jewelry and walking in the middle of streets so you can see in doorways, etc. and you should be OK. It isn't as bad as many people seem to think, but it is pretty bad on the whole.
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.
I took the subway from the airport (lines 5 - to Pantitlan - 9 - to Tacubaya - 7 - to Polanco - and 1 - Chapultepec -Pantitlan). It actually looked very dangerous to me. I am used to travel alone in big cities, but these 4 subway lines did look unsafe. I was surprised, because I had read on the internet the subway is the safest way to move in the city, and it's "modern''. It was absolutely not ''modern'' (for my standards at least). The line 1 was crowded (although it was Sunday, so no ''rush-hour''). At Chapultepec I had to stay in a line of about 50-60m to buy a ticket, and 80%-90% of the the individuals around me reminded me the ''Scarface'' movie, I think I was the only non-mexican looking person there. On the other lines, at almost all stations there were beggars (mostly children) getting in, and people selling stuff or performing different acts - but that would be no problem for me. However, I did have the impression that somebody may have pulled out a gun at any time.. I do not have photos from the area, because I tried all I could to keep a low-profile, and not to show that I was tourist.
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)
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.
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.
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!