Should You Use the Mexico City Metro?

I had no problem with the Mexico City Metro. I used it three times in my three days there and actually thought in terms of space, people’s attitude and understanding the Metro in Mexico City was better than the London Underground.

I’d read online beforehand that…

  1. It would be cramped
  2. Not to go on at peak time
  3. The guys were so creepy they brought in separate carriages for women.
  4. Not to take baggage on there
  5. It’s for locals, taxis are for tourists

But at 5 pesos a journey (23p) I couldn’t bare to leave it alone.

Mexico City Metro system

My journeys

  • Chapultepec to Isabel la Catolica
  • Zocalo to Auditorio
  • Auditorio to Terminal Area

1. How cramped is cramped?

The amount of space you have on the Mexico City Metro is vast compared to London. The ceiling is a lot higher and the Mexicans don’t push as much as we do. This was kind of annoying when you want to get on the Metro, as you can see there’s space, but that’s just the rushing Londoner in me trying to get out, and on.

I don’t know how many people it carries in comparison, but there’s a lot more room down there so although it’s busy, it’s not cramped.

There were usually seats available – the formation depends on the line you get. As soon as an oldie got on, everyone would offer their seat up. I found the seats to be strangely slippy in the trousers I had on, I was all over the place with the stopping and starting so I preferred to stand up.

2. Going at peak time

Two out of my three journeys on the Mexico City Metro were at rush hour and yes it was crammed, but definitely not something to avoid. Like all cities it’s going to be busy and you need to know where you’re going so you can just go with the flow when you’re down there.

3. What about these women’s carriages?

Mexico City Metro system

They did have separate women’s carriages, at the front. I got on one of these at rush hour and found myself surrounded by women doing their make up, really wanted to take a photo of the locker room situation but with my backpack on I didn’t feel quite as agile as normal.

To get on one of these carriages you first have to pass by the police officer on the platform who decrees whether you’re a woman or child. Pass, and you’re on. I noticed they had women-only buses too. I think it’s a great idea, but sad that they had to bring it in. Dirty boys.

4. Baggage and public transport, will they ever get on?

Woe betide anyone who takes any sort of luggage on the London Underground, so I was expecting all kinds of grief. I took my backpack off on the platform so it was a little more inconspicuous and I just shuffled it on. I wouldn’t recommend it on your back, the journey is too rickety, and you’ll definitely annoy people if you double the space you take up. Keep it at your feet like a small child, on the down low.

Mexico City Metro system

5. Any problems with the locals?

I did get looked at, but not overly. I was pretty much a head taller than 90% of the people on there, whiter and blonder than 98% and the only person to be wearing a big backpack: of course people are going to look, men and women included. Give them a smile and they can do with it what they want.

I took a taxi from the airport to my accommodation and it was 249 pesos (£11.50). I did the same journey by Metro on the way back and it was 5 pesos (23p).

Just one criticism…

Every stop on the Metro line has a representative image, depending on what that area is famous for. Yep, nice idea. Trouble is, the image is huge and the writing is really small so when you’re sat down unless you’ve memorised all the logos or you’ve got brilliant eyesight, you can’t see where you are. Am I getting old?

women on the mexico city metro

Buying your ticket

There are no automated machines on the Mexico City Metro, at least there weren’t on my lines. I had to queue up at a real life person and buy the 5 peso ticket in cash from them. Even when I queued behind 6 or 7 people the queue went down in seconds. You can also buy tickets in bulk, which would’ve been a good idea.

To get on the Metro in Mexico City you simply put the ticket in the machine and walk on through. It doesn’t come back out again and you don’t need it at the end of your journey.

If you’ve got any questions about the Mexico City Metro let me know in the comments box below and I’ll do my best!

As I’ve said, my journeys were fine, a pleasure even, but just keep your wits about you and if you feel uncomfortable, get off!

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  1. by Emma Copland on October 19, 2014  10:01 am Reply

    My boyfriend is half Mexican and we are hoping to visit his family over there next year. This post is so useful, I love taking public transport in other countries but I am always a little wary of how safe it will be. Great to hear that you had such a nice experience.

    • by Vicky on October 25, 2014  10:59 pm Reply

      Hey Emma, yeah, I thought it was fine. I'd never really analysed transport in another country before but anything I read about Mexico City said not to use the Metro so I thought I needed to write this in defence.

  2. by Arianwen on November 7, 2014  9:15 am Reply

    Great post! I had a good experience too. A local guy was quick to jump to my aid when I looked a bit lost. I avoided getting the metro straight after my flight landed but in retrospect I think I'd have been fine. Mexico City in general felt a lot safer than I expected.

    • by Vicky on November 7, 2014  6:29 pm Reply

      Saw the other day CNN had voted it the second most dangerous subway in the world! Ridiculous!

  3. by Callie on December 26, 2016  5:17 am Reply

    How long did it take to get from the airport to the city center? Flying into Mexico City in a month and looking into the cheapest way to get into the city.

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