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For safety reasons you are advised NOT to take the underground from the airport to Mexico City with luggage or valuables.

Take a taxi instead. Either purchase a taxi ticket from the authorised Taxis office in the airport or visit this page for Mexico City authorised taxis for tourism and airport transfers. The authorised taxi kiosk (Sitio 300) situated both inside the baggage reclaim area and just outside this area will sell you a ticket for the journey you specify. This ticket must be given only to the taxi driver of an authorised taxi recognisable by the yellow stripe and image of a plane. On reaching the exit door to the airport you will most probably bump into a man who will attempt to take your luggage and your ticket to the taxis which are literally only a few steps away! Please surrender your ticket only to the authorised taxi driver! The price of these authorised taxis are about 2 1/2 times normal authorised metered "sitio" taxis.

There are cheaper safe taxis that the airport staff use in their daily transport to and from the airport but the visitor will not see them unless he knows where to look. To reach them you need to take the overhead bridge in area D of the airport. At the taxi stand you will find the typical old Volkswagen Beetle taxis that have no front passenger seat. This taxi is suitable for 2 persons only.

Once in Mexico City and you wish to travel by taxi rather than by bus or metro a few simple precautions must be taken in order to avoid unpleasant experiences. Although taxi crime has diminished over the years, there is still a serious problem. Taxi metered tariffs are low by European standards and are often more convenient than other forms of public transport. Authorised taxi tariffs are either by meter or a fixed charge according to the zone you are travelling from and to.

It is not advisable to take an unauthorised taxi in Mexico City or hail a taxi as you would do in England. This could be dangerous. Sometimes tourists are kidnapped in unauthorised taxis that have been stolen. The victim enters a taxi and shortly after the start of the journey an armed collaborator will also jump in. The taxi will then move from one cash machine to another forcing the victim to withdraw money with his credit card.

In Mexico City you will see an abundance of taxis all vying for your custom and attracting your attention. As a precautionary measure our experience is to say no, even though you need a taxi (see below for our suggested strategies for taking a taxi).

There are different categories of Taxis which are easy to distinguish:

Independent Taxis in Mexico
In Mexico City, these are painted green and white and the new style taxis are white with a bright red stripe. The new white and red taxis are all 4-door cars. Eventually all taxis will be red and white, although for the time being, you will see a mix during the transition process.

1. Green coloured Volkswagen Beetles with the front seat taken out. These are very common. As a general rule these should be avoided but if you must taken these try one of our strategies below to ensure it is safe.

2. Other makes of car are also acting as unauthorised taxis; these too should be avoided.

3. If you are stuck and need to hail a taxi then check that it has a valid taxi license plate. Authorised taxis will have the letter "L" followed by a number. The "L" stand for "libre" (free). These might have a green or red stripe along the bottom of the car. There is also an "L" followed by a number painted on the bodywork of the taxi. To avoid any risk make sure the number on the taxi license plate matches the number on the bodywork of the taxi. As an additional precautionary measure all authorised taxis have an identity document with a photo of the owner. This should also be checked to see if the number matches the number on the bodywork of the car and that the photo is actually of the person behind the wheel! Beware, not ALL taxis with a red stripe are authorised (look out for the "L" and follow the advice above).

4. In practice it is not easy to do this every time you need to take a taxi so here are a few other suggestions.

a. If you are in your hotel or in a restaurant, ask them to call you a taxi. This again will cost about 2 1/2 times the price of a normal metered "sitio" taxi. Journeys in these taxis are not normally metered. In this case make sure you agree on a fixed price before starting your journey. Alternatively make your way to the nearest taxi rank.

b. If you are already in the city you may call a "sitio" taxi, a taxi from an authorised taxi rank. Examples of these are:
Servitaxis, Tel.: 5566 1060
Sitio Parque México Tel.: 5286 7129; 5286 7164
Taximex Tel.: 5519 7690
Taxis Radio Unión Tel.: 5514 8124.
Alfredo Taxi Tel.: 0445519185129; 0445510145827

c. If, when you need a taxi, you are not in a restaurant or hotel or near a taxi rank and cannot phone here are a few suggestions that might be found useful to avoid falling into traps.

Go to a place where taxis are dropping off people. Say "no" to taxis that attract your attention, it will be much safer if you take the initiative. After seeing a taxi drop people off approach the taxi and ask if it is free. Then say that you want a metered journey, ask the driver to show you the meter. At this point he would normal switch the meter on (it will show the minimum charge, it does not start at "0"). Meanwhile you would have had time at least to see his license identification card. Say where you are going and only then enter.

Another possibility is to approach a policeman nearby, express your anxiety about taking a taxi and ask him to indicate one. They are often willing to do so. On one occasion we asked a policeman at night and he actually waited and hailed a taxi for us, made the relevant checks and we were put at rest. They understand your situation, they understand the risks and they are able to identify a genuine taxi.

Taxis in other cities are usually a lot safer.


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