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Old Feb 17, 07, 3:16 pm   #1
 
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Subway from airport in Mexico City?

I'm going to Mexico City for a few days next week and wonder if it's safe to take the subway from the airport into the city? All the guidebooks I read seem to say don't do it, but was wondering if it's that big a deal? I'll be arriving around noon and heading to zona rosa without much luggage.
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Old Feb 17, 07, 5:21 pm   #2
 
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When you exit the secured area into the common area walk to the right, all the way to the end and there are taxi stands. There are, I believe, three windows for three different levels of taxis. I usually take the middle level taxi to Zona Rosa and it comes out to about $24.00 US.

Well worth it unless you are on an extremely limited budget.
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Old Feb 17, 07, 8:53 pm   #3
 
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Originally Posted by ORDinaryGuy View Post
I'm going to Mexico City for a few days next week and wonder if it's safe to take the subway from the airport into the city? All the guidebooks I read seem to say don't do it, but was wondering if it's that big a deal? I'll be arriving around noon and heading to zona rosa without much luggage.
I took the subway from MEX to the bus station in the south of the city at night last year. Never even thought twice about safety. YMMV.
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Old Feb 17, 07, 10:43 pm   #4
 
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Buy definition...

Doing anything in Mexico City, and not even thinking twice about safety, is extremely foolish. The city is one of the most dangerous I have ever visited. Take a good taxi and forget the subway.

In general, try to arrange for taxis with the hotel. Be extremely careful where you walk at night. I would suggest you focus on Zona Rosa if you are staying nearby. Condesa is nice also. Many nice restaurants.
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Old Feb 18, 07, 10:49 am   #5
 
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Doing anything in Mexico City, and not even thinking twice about safety, is extremely foolish. The city is one of the most dangerous I have ever visited. Take a good taxi and forget the subway.

In general, try to arrange for taxis with the hotel. Be extremely careful where you walk at night. I would suggest you focus on Zona Rosa if you are staying nearby. Condesa is nice also. Many nice restaurants.
I just last year started the first of a series of visits to M.C. after about 2 decades, so maybe things have changed and I'm naive.
What dangers have you experienced?
Is there relatively high incidents of crimes against tourists in Mexico City vs. elsewhere in the world? Is this more common along subway lines?
I am planning to return to Mexico City this spring. Although I do use what I consider common sense safety, I am interested in learning others' experiences with dangers in the City before my 2nd trip.
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Old Feb 18, 07, 12:09 pm   #6
 
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I just last year started the first of a series of visits to M.C. after about 2 decades, so maybe things have changed and I'm naive.
What dangers have you experienced?
Is there relatively high incidents of crimes against tourists in Mexico City vs. elsewhere in the world? Is this more common along subway lines?
I am planning to return to Mexico City this spring. Although I do use what I consider common sense safety, I am interested in learning others' experiences with dangers in the City before my 2nd trip.
Yes, things have changed in the interim, and not for the better. Outside of Bogata Columbia, Mexico City has the highest abduction / kidnapping rate in all of Central and South America. In the months I worked there in 2002, every single native I met had a horror story of kidnapping and violence to tell.

One of the taxi drivers that took me around on tour said that the city has deeply degraded in the prior 10 years. The real issue is that criminals troll for tourists, and mark them as targets. The subway is just a bit too open to really be safe, and although crowds will help, you could be marked for a target. Having said that, some folks can blend in so well, no one would think of them as a target. But if you have bags, its going to be very hard to completely blend in. Thus the airport taxis.

Ask the hotel for guidance on this. They don't want you to get into trouble, and are hugely helpful.

It is sad really. The city has a lot of very exciting things to offer, but I was nearly mugged twice in a few months of just walking around. Only Columbia and Johannesburg struck me as more unsafe places to be. I tried to blend in, but could tell I was not entirely successful.
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Old Feb 18, 07, 1:58 pm   #7
 
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Yes, things have changed in the interim, and not for the better. Outside of Bogata Columbia, Mexico City has the highest abduction / kidnapping rate in all of Central and South America. In the months I worked there in 2002, every single native I met had a horror story of kidnapping and violence to tell.

One of the taxi drivers that took me around on tour said that the city has deeply degraded in the prior 10 years. The real issue is that criminals troll for tourists, and mark them as targets. The subway is just a bit too open to really be safe, and although crowds will help, you could be marked for a target. Having said that, some folks can blend in so well, no one would think of them as a target. But if you have bags, its going to be very hard to completely blend in. Thus the airport taxis.

Ask the hotel for guidance on this. They don't want you to get into trouble, and are hugely helpful.

It is sad really. The city has a lot of very exciting things to offer, but I was nearly mugged twice in a few months of just walking around. Only Columbia and Johannesburg struck me as more unsafe places to be. I tried to blend in, but could tell I was not entirely successful.
Sad, indeed.
But also intriguing. Can you expound upon being "nearly mugged twice"?
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Old Feb 18, 07, 6:44 pm   #8
 
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Common Sense.

Leave all of your credit cards and especially your ATM card in the hotel.
Bring only the cash you need for the day and always, always stuff a twenty or two in your shoe.

Don't stray off of the beaten path and don't take advice nor talk to "friendly" strangers. When they do approach you let them subtlely know that you are on to them after all they are not the ones that will kidnap you. They are looking for the quick fix. The kidnapers are either insiders or green taxi drivers.

If they try to stick you in a green taxi calmly but sternly say, "No quiero taxi verde" wherever the hell you are.
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Old Feb 20, 07, 2:06 pm   #9
 
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If you do end up taking the subway (or just in general actually), have a decoy wallet with you containing MXN100 or 200 that you can give away in case you get mugged. Always a good idea to at least have something you can give "them".

Note that according to the official website line 5 (the line at the airport) is currently being worked on, and that there is no service at all on weekends on its northern half - so in theory you should be OK, as you need to take it "south" from the airport. But you never know...
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Old Feb 21, 07, 9:40 pm   #10
 
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I ended up taking a taxi from the airport (240 pesos). Since then I've relied on the subway for all my travels in the city. It's clean, cheap and easy to figure out. I have stayed in the main part of town, but so far I've felt very safe.

My only complaint is that for tonight's restaurant I got a cab from the hotel. It ended up just being some driver that the bellman knew. I felt safe but he didn't know where he was going. After a long circuitous route we got to the restaurant. What a ripoff. I ended up figuring out where the nearest metro station was and getting back that way.

thanks for all your help! I'm having a great time!

Last edited by ORDinaryGuy; Feb 22, 07 at 10:03 pm..
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Old Mar 2, 07, 10:07 am   #11
 
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I worked a number of months in Mexico City. I would not recommend using the subway. I would stick to hotel taxis (Turistico) cabs or the licensed yellow airport cabs.

In regards to safety it is a scary place at times. I was lucky and had no issues. One of my employees who grew up in Peru who was also working with me and speaks fluent Spanish was mugged twice. The first time they tried to kidnap him; he fought it off and instead they robbed him. The second time he was shopping in the market with his wife that he had brought to Mexico City for the weekend. 3 guys ran up to him - one pulled a knife, one grabbed him from behind and restrained his arms, the other put his hands in his pockets and took his money, watch, cell phone, and wallet.

All I can say is be careful.
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Old Mar 10, 07, 5:31 pm   #12
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I am a onetime native who regularly visits family in Mexico, D. F. - and I recommend "don't do it." Thera re taxis and shared taxis (vans) for which you purchase tickets at the kiosks. Do not at all use a pirate taxi or accept an offer from a shill.

And as others have said, in the city do not use a green VW taxi - "Gracias, no quiero un perico" makes you seem more familiar with a city. (Thanks, I don't want a parrot - that's what we call the green "vochos.")

BTW, I think Bogotá has cleaned up its act more than la ciudad de México; sad, but true. Just keep alert and ask for local knowledge before you do anything.

If you frequent tourist venues or ride public transport a lot: a decoy wallet isn't bad some pesos in small bills, and some of the sample credit cards that come with the unsolicited credit card advos you get in the mail will fill one up nicely; don't wear upscale clothes or accessories, refrain from displays of wealth (e.g. fancy cameras,) act like you know where you are going and are confident. (Pop into a store or shop to look at your map.) Don't fight if you are robbed - robbers are desperate, you merely lose some material possessions as opposed to maybe get stabbed.

Obviously, if you have a company limo fetching you, you can ignore this information.

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Originally Posted by ORDinaryGuy View Post
I'm going to Mexico City for a few days next week and wonder if it's safe to take the subway from the airport into the city? All the guidebooks I read seem to say don't do it, but was wondering if it's that big a deal? I'll be arriving around noon and heading to zona rosa without much luggage.
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Old Apr 15, 07, 8:35 pm   #13
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Maybe all the theives were in church this morning, but i did take the subway from my hotel (the IC a 2-minute walk from the entrance to the Aditorio station) to the airport. I had a small satchel weekend bag and my normal messenger bag, nothing big or heavy, or flashy looking (and I removed all my elite tags until I arrived in the terminal). I was dressed in blue jeans, cotton shirt with a tan jacket, and as a middle-aged male could pass as a very Euro-Spanish looking person.

I would not do this on a weekday since the crowds would be too unweildy, but there was no sign of anything threatening at any of the transfer or end stations. The biggest issue is the distance one must walk between lines since it appears the planners of the system never quite managed to build one station on top of another! Also, by mid-May through October, the subway would also be sweltering.

Travel time was quite good. I just missed a Line 7 train so it was about 5-minutes for the next one, then two stations down to Tacuaya where I transferred to the main cross-city Line 9. Since this is the station where this line originates heading east I was able to get a single seat in the corner of the car where I could stack my main bag and hold onto my messenger bag. Being 11:15a Sunday, there were no great crowds, just lots of families and couples. in less than 20-minutes we had arrived (last few stations above ground) at the Pantitlan terminus from which there was another long walk to Line 5 which runs past the airport. Lots of stairs but no escalators, so this is where even small/medium roller bags may pose a problem. (I think it took me longer to walk from the Airport station exit to the Intternationa check-in area, than the full time of travel on the subway!)

Being the end of the line/start of the line, there was a train waiting when I finally climbed to the platform for the Yellow line and it too was pretty much empty. The Terminal is the second airport station (the first stop after Pantitian is the first, for the airport hangers) and signs lead you to the proper exit which puts you at ground level about 50-yards from the Domestic wing of the Terminal where construction is going on. Again, I felt no safety issues on this stretch since you are not near any of the residential areas that you'd be if you take the other exit and the only people hanging around were construction workers.

I would still not recommend doing this if you've never ridden the Mexico City subway system and thus are not familiar with it. And particularly going from the airport to the city centre at night, or during peak travel times where the crowds are fierce and it is hard going even without bags. But having oriented myself to the city and both bus and subway riding, I figured it was worth a go heading in the other direction. (The $25 I saved by not taking a cab went towards the better part of a nice bottle of Scotch at the Duty Free.)

In the case of the OP, he could take either the same line I did (9), or Line 1 from Pantitlan, then transfer to Line 3 to get to the Zona Rosa. Go to the very end of the domestic terminal, cross the roadway and follow the walkway along the side of the construction fence to the subway entry. There is a ticket booth (taquilla, not to be confused with tequila) where you can buy a single ticket or multiples. One ticket will get you all the connections required. Take the Yellow line to Pantitlan, then take a long, long walk to either the 1 or 9 lines. Both terminate here, so you can only go in one direction.
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Old Apr 16, 07, 10:45 am   #14
 
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The biggest issue is the distance one must walk between lines since it appears the planners of the system never quite managed to build one station on top of another! Also, by mid-May through October, the subway would also be sweltering.
Yeah, it's what happens when try to biuld a subway under a former lakebed. The original 3 (lines 1-2-3) have connecting stations on top of each other, but on all subsequent lines there is a high chance of a long walk. In Pantitlan, though the most convoluted station in the system, all lines are actually relatively close to each other. At Instituto del Petroleo (lines 5/6), you have to walk for almost 1km!!! At Consulado (4/5) the distance is almost that, too.

But keep in mind that pretty much from now until early June is the hottest season in MEX - after that the rainy season starts, and it does cool down.
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Old Aug 19, 09, 11:03 am   #15
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Looking for an update on this thread.

Specifically, I am trying to ascertain the safety for a middle-aged white man (plainly not a local), who speaks some Spanish (of the Castellano variety) but far from fluent, traveling solo with a standard roll-aboard carry-on to take the metro from the airport to either Zocalo or Polanco (not yet determined) on a November Saturday in the early afternoon (touch down at 12.38pm).

I have never been to Mexico and am not familiar with the DF Metro per se but surely it cannot be rocket science for someone familiar with metro systems in various locales (Paris, London, Moscow, Budapest, New York, Chicago, Buenos Aires, Bangkok, etc...) to do one's home work in advance to determine the route to take and avoid looking lost/disorientated.

My question is purely a safety one. I am not concerned about issues of (dis-)comfort due to heat, length of walks, stairs to climb, etc... Nor am I terribly worried about pick-pocketing but armed robbery or assault would be more of a concern.

In addition to what is written here, I have also looked at what guidebooks say about it. They all say that it should be avoided at rush hour or late at night or if you have bulky luggage. In other circumstances, however, they seem to imply that it is a reasonable alternative to official taxis.

Maybe I am completely misreading this but, while they will not say that it is 100% safe, I cannot but be struck by the difference in tone between what they say about roaming taxis (where the message is a clear and categorical: do not do it under any circumstance) and what they say about the metro from the airport, where the message seems to be: keep your wits about you but, all things considered, it should be OK.

Am I hopelessly optimistic and naive and is this "wishful reading" or does that seem a reasonable assessment?
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