Navigating Public Transportation in D.F.

Mexico City is HUGE and getting around the city can be a bit daunting at first.  But if you are willing to do just a bit of navigating with maps, you can save a ton of money (not to mention Mother Earth) if you take public transportation over taxis or buying your own car here.  The list below is certainly not exhaustive and due to the endless possibilities involved with transfers, variations in routes, and your starting/stopping point, you’ll have many options.

The Breakdown: .

METROBUS – these are the bright red buses that have their own lane on major roads (like the 19 mile long Insurgentes line).  There are 6 lines in total.  You need to buy a card for 16 pesos initially that you will load with funds.  There are no in-person ticket windows at these stations so you will add your funds via the electronic stands before you pass through the turn styles.  You can add as little as a peso at a time.  (6 pesos per ride)

METRO- This is the underground subway (although some sections of your ride will be above ground).  There are ticket offices where you can buy your tickets from a person in advance.  You can choose to purchase one ticket at a time or load money on a card that you can scan before going through the turnstyle.  I have found the metro to be the fastest way to travel when going long distances.  Twice a week I take the brown line from Central Medico to Chabacano and then transfer to the blue line to arrive in Tasquena about one hour later.  There are 12 lines in total.  (5 pesos per ride)

BUS – There are 4 main terminals but many, many individual stops offered in all parts of Mexico City.  You’ll find the buses vary in size and color….many are light green, others are the purple and white cdmx type.  The furthest destination is always listed on a electronic sign on the front of the bus or on a small sign that sits in the corner of the front windshield.  Bus drivers will always help clarify if their route includes the stop you need. Several of the buses are “gratis” or free but when they do charge, it will be anywhere between 4-9 pesos depending on the line.

RENTAL BICYCLES – You can rent bikes through four different membership plans through ECOBICI -single day, 3 days, 7 days, or one year.  There are set prices for each registration level (single day is 90 pesos, one year is 400 pesos) as well as your fees for ride time, after the first 45 minutes, which are free.  All the info you’ll need is on this site, available in either English or Spanish –

The last thing I will say about Mexico City is how overwhelmingly helpful people have been when it comes to helping newbies navigate the transporation services here.  The first time I bought my metrobus card, someone stopped to show me how. When I have asked people for guidance on directions, correct routes, how to purchase cards, etc. they are typically happy to share their knowledge.  It does help to know a little bit of Spanish to communicate, but do not hesitate to ask fellow riders, bus drivers, or ticket sellers (when they don’t have a long line) for what you might need.  Happy travels!







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