Mexico        Rêve Mexicain en français
Sea, ground transportation
 Page updated on 03.10.2015
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This chapter is about sea and ground transportation available in Mexico.

By bus

It is the real way of transportation in Mexico. Mexico has a very well developed bus system. Many extra modern bus lines have services between Major cities in Mexico. The service is frequent and the schedules are respected.
The bus companies offer different classes of service :

DELUXE (de lujo or ejecutivo) : they offer the most common routes: they are fast, modern, with air conditioning and bathroom – The companies are: ETN, ADO-GL, UNO, Primera Plus, Tap, Estrella de oro diamante or crucero or plus, Pullman ejecutivo or dorada or de lujo etc...

First class : (primera clase) : comfortable, with bathroom: they offer routes to big cities. The companies are: Cristobal Colon, ADO, Pullman de Morellos, Estrella de Oro primera, Pacifico, Omnibus de Mexico, Flecha Amarilla, Lina dorada, Pullman primera clase, greyhound, etc..

Economic direct (directo économico) : Ado économico, AU, Cuenca, Sur, Pullman Lasser

2nde class (segunda clase) : They offer routes between small towns and villages and some times in town transportation. You can’t predict the quality of comfort and security. The companies are : Herradura de Plata, Estrella Roja, etc…

When traveling in Deluxe or first class buses, you have to buy your tickets at the window.

In big cities, bus companies are all located in a bus station (Terminal) that could be outside the city, so you would need to take a taxi to go there. In Major cities there are often two bus stations, one is called “Central de autobuses” the other one “ terminal de autobuses”.
Except for second-class autobuses, you will be able to make reservation since these companies have a computerized system. For half a day trip, just go to the bus station. For longer trips, book 24hours ahead.

You can do it through Internet : http://boletotal.mx/ or by phone : 01- 800-009-90-90 or in Mexico City (55) 51 33 51 33 – Logon to this website to find schedules, name of the bus Company and prices, as well as links to hotels. It is by FAR, the best way to find the right prices, the right departure places (especially in Mexico City), the duration of the trip and the name of the company.

Be careful to get the departure RIGHT BUS STATION. Mexico city is a big city. This website advises you to book one day ahead.

Fees : Deluxe buses are 12 to 20% more expensive than First Class. Second Class buses are 10 to 20% less expensive than First Class.

You can travel by night without any trouble. In every bus station, at any time, you will find a coffee house and very clean bathrooms.

Ask for a receipt for your luggage in the baggage compartment. Keep your valuables and documents with you. In some buses, you won’t be given receipts so keep your bags with you if they are not too big but be aware that there is not a lot of space (except the first rows seats).

It is very difficult to give schedules and destinations because of the constant changes but you could consult the websites of the largest bus companies :

ABC : www.abc.com.mx (Baja California and north-west)
ADO : www.ado.com.mx ou www.adogl.com.mx
Estrella Blanca / Flecha Roja / Futura /Elite / Transportes Chihuahenses / Transportes del Norte / Turistar : www.estrellablanca.com.mx - (all these companies are part of the same group : Estrella Blanca)
Estrella de Oro: www.estrelladeoro.com.mx
Estrella de Roja: www.estrellaroja.com.mx
ETN: www.etn.com.mx, 01 800 8000 386
Ómnibus de México: www.odm.com.mx
Parhikuni de Michoacán : www.parhikuni.com
Pullman de Morelos: www.pullman.com.mx
UNO: www.uno.com.mx   
Flecha amarilla : www.flecha-amarilla.com.mx   (very often unserviceable web site). Same than primeraplus-
Turistarsur : www.costaline.com.mx (Pacific coast and Mexico city)
TMT-Caminante : www.tmt-caminante.com.mx
Greyhound : for Tijuana/Mexicali/Nogales/Cd Juarez/Nuevo Laredo/Reynosa/Matamoros - www.greyhound.com.mx or 01 800 710 88 19.
Noroeste : www.turisticosnoroeste.com - (614) 411 57 83 or 01 800 400 1234 (transport for the north of Mexico)
VIN + / Autovias : www.viaplus.com.mx ou www.hdp.com.mx - 1 800 622 22 22 - northwest of Mexico, Michoacán, Jalisco, Colima. Good company, First class.
Primera Plus : www.primeraplus.com.mx - 1 800 375 75 87 - for the North, Northwest including Pacific Coast. Good company, First class.
Purhépechas : www.purhepechas.com - second class - Only for Michoacan state.

ETN : all forums will advise you about this company : good service and well organized for a few more pesos. Do not hesitate to take this company for the long distances.

You can also consult the web site in order to obtain the complete listing of the bus companies in Mexico.

Bus stations in Mexico City :

NORTH / TERMINAL CENTRAL DEL NORTE – av. de los 100 Metros # 4907 – CP 07760 - MEXICO DF - (55) 55 87 15 52 or 53 68 81 71, Metro : Terminal de Autobuses Norte - Consultez le site du Terminal Nord pour la liste des compagnies de bus et les horaires/tarifs : www.centraldelnorte.com.mx.
SOUTH / TERMINAL CENTRAL DEL SUR - av. Taxquena # 1320 – CP 04200 - MEXICO DF - (55) 56 89 97 45  -  Metro : Taxqueña
EAST / TERMINAL DE AUTOBUSES DE ORIENTE – Calzada Ignacio Zaragoza # 200 – CP 15440 MEXICO DF – (55) 55 22 54 00 -  Metro : San Lázaro
WEST / TERMINAL DE AUTOBUSES PONIENTE– Sur # 122 esquina Rio Tacubaya – CP 01130 MEXICO DF – (55) 52 71 45 19 - Metro : Observatorio.

Each Terminal has tourist information kiosk, taxis, ATM, post office, bar and snacks and luggage facilities.

Bus to visit touristic cities :

A few touristic cities have organized bus called "Turibus" (bus for tourists) in order to visit the city without stress (MexicoMérida, Puebla & Veracruz - www.turibus.com.mx). In other cities, the tramway (Tranvía) is used instead of bus.

tramway of Cuernavaca By train

Few train trips are possible since the privatization in 1990. The only interesting (and a spectacular trip) is the very popular train Chihuahua al Pacifico (El Chepe), from Los Mochis to Chihuahua, named Copper Canyon Train (www.chepe.com.mx), which runs through the Sierra of the Tarahumaras (highly recommended). Reservations, (614) 439 72 12 or 1 888 484 16 23, informations thru electronic mail :chepe@ferromex.com.mx.

It is crossing the Sierra of Tarahumaras.

Left picture : tramway of Cuernavaca

You could also try the Tequila Express from Guadalajara to Tequila; tour duration : about 9 hours. You can buy tickets in different places in the city. Reservation : (33) 388 90 90 or 90 99, 01-800 503 97 20 - www.tequilaexpress.com.mx (the train runs only on week ends).

By car

There are 4,2 million drivers per day in the Capital !

There is a good network of roads. It is very convenient to drive to nice sites and small cities or remote villages. The unleaded (sin plomo) gas is sold by the liter. There are two qualities : magna sin (green pumps) and premium (red pumps) is more expensive. Ask for magna (price of 9 pesos the liter in April 2011). The gas (gasolina) is sold by the federally run oil company : PEMEX. It is always advised to fill your tank at every opportunity because of the distances and the few numbers of gas stations in some parts of the country. You’ll have to pay cash as the gas stations are not self serve so tipping is customary. You can find maps in some bookstores and newspaper stands. Don’t drive after dark for safety reasons.
A network of toll highways covers large sections of the country (more than 6000 km). Log on to the web site www.capufe.gob.mx to find out information concerning the prices of the tolls and the distances.
In case of a breakdown, you could call the Green Angels (los angeles verdes) who patrol roadways throughout the country with their green trucks. This network was developed by the Ministry of Tourism. The crew is bilingual. In case of emergency, in Mexico City : 078 or 01 800 987 82 24 - 24H/24. Services offered include vehicle mechanical aid, tourist information, and medical first aid. You can find a similar service at the toll booths (not if you run out of gas).

The lights are located after the crossing like in USA. A right turn on red is not allowed. The speed is limited to 110 km/h on highways, 80 to 90 km/h on main roads and 50 to 60 km/h in town.

Tourists can import a vehicle for 180 days maximum. You need to obtain a temporary vehicle importation permit when entering the country. The permit fees can be paid only with a credit card and you need to show the documents of the car (current registration), your passport and driver license and the F.M.E. Your insurance won’t cover you, so arrange for a policy with full coverage issued through a Mexican insurance company. Take contact with Banjercito 01 800 712 3772, or The Customs, 01 800 4636 728 or 01 800 712 3772. Log on to the web site : www.aduanas.gob.mx or www.banjercito.com.mx or www.paisano.gob.mx.

AAA and CAA members can buy the insurance on line logging on to the website : www.csaa.com.

In case of accident, keep calm, polite and call the police.
The driver could be taken into police custody until the conclusion of the investigation. If no result, he could be detained and the vehicle could be impounded. If there are seriously injured people, the driver could be arrested until the responsibilities of each person are established.

In Mexico City it is imperative to respect the rule for reducing air pollution: You can’t drive on certain days based on the last digit of the license plate of your vehicle. The vehicles with a foreign license plate can’t be driven in D.F on Friday.

Rental cars

It is not difficult at all to rent a car if you have a valid drivers license, passport and an international credit card (age limit : minimum 25 year old; sometimes 21).
You can rent a car in every airport or agencies downtown or in some hotels or bus stations. Book several days ahead. If you book before going, you should save a little bit (IVA). Double check the options” limited or unlimited km depending on your trips. It is an excellent way to visit sites, markets or to fairs in remote places not reached by bus.

Here is the listing of International rental cars companies :

ALAMO – 55 52 50 00 55 – International airport of Mexico, 55 57 86 92 14 - 01 800 849 80 01, www.alamo.com
AVIS - 55 55 11 22 28 – International airport of Mexico, 55 57 62 32 62 - 55 88 88 88 - 01-800 288 88 88, www.avis.com
BUDGET – 55 55 66 88 15 – International airport of Mexico, 55 57 84 30 11 - 52 71 43 22 - 55 66 68 00- 01-800 700 1700, www.budget.com.mx
DOLLAR – International airport of Mexico, 55 25 99 11 11, www.dollar.com
EUROPCAR – 55 52 07 55 80 – International airport of Mexico, 55 57 86 82 64/65 - 01- 800 201 20 84 ou 01 800 00 39 500, www.europcar.com
HERTZ – 55 55 92 83 43 - International airport of Mexico, 55 57 62 83 72 - 01-800 709 50 00, www.hertz.com
NATIONAL – 55 57 03 22 22 – International airport of Mexico, 55 57 86 90 26 - 01 800 716 66 25, www.nationalcar.com
THRIFTY – 55 5207 1100 - International airport of Mexico, 55 57 86 82 68 - 57 86 94 86 or 87 01 800 021 22 77, www.thrifty.com

The 01 800 numbers can be used outside Mexico City.

To rent a car is expensive in Mexico : about 900 to 1100 Mxn$ per day for an economic car with unlimited mileage and all insurances included. It is a good idea to double check that the insurance policy includes the collision damage waiver and is still valid.

In town transportation

A lot of buses and minibuses run throughout the cities. Transportation is easy, cheap (one peso) and you never wait too long. Taxis are equipped with a meter, especially in Mexico City; if not always negotiate the price ahead. In the airports and bus stations, you have to buy tickets at the official taxi counter. (“transportation terrestre”). Fees are based on a zone system. Consult the map at the counter for more information; these taxis are yellow and white vehicles with a plane logo on the door. There are also collective taxis with fixed price, which drop off passenger by turns.

You can also use colectivos or peseros for in town trips or vicinity trips. They charge a bit more than the bus but less than the taxi fares. They drive on established routes and you need to wave at the driver in order to get the bus to stop. You’ll pay when leaving depending on the distance of the trip.

When using taxis and especially at night, it is recommended to take taxis at reserved places (“sitios”) in-town or authorized taxis in the airports and bus stations. Don’t take a chance with a pirate car !
In general taxis fares are reasonable and are cheaper inland than in the tourist resorts. Most of the hotels will be able to call a safe taxi and give you the fare for your trip or expedition. Tipping is not customary.

In big cities with a lot of traffic like Mexico City and Guadalajara, the subway is the fastest way of traveling. The subway is very popular in Mexico City (Average of 4 millions of passengers per day with 175 stations and 11 lines).
Click to www.metro.df.gob.mx for the map of the subway in Mexico City.

Ferry service

Many ferries run between Baja California and the Mexican mainland.
For information, consult : www.bajaferries.com (In Spanish) - 01 800 012 8770 (from Mexico).


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