Mexico City Rapid Transit Metro News

Mexico City’s extensive public transport system may seem overwhelming at first, but it is a fast and cheap way to get around once you get the hang of it. For a city with a population of over 20 million, efficient public transport is essential, and the Metro alone transports around 5 million people every day, the ninth-highest ridership of any metro system in the world.

The Metro began operation 50 years ago and is now in need of some repairs. Many of the trains themselves are old and grimy, while some stations lack modern amenities and can be dangerous at night. The newer and nicer Metrobús, a fixed-route bus network, opened in 2005. Wi-Fi was introduced across the country in 2018. Using these two systems, you will be able to move easily between all the city’s main attractions.

Mexico Metro Map

How to Ride the Mexico City Metro

The Metro is a mostly-underground system of trains made up of 12 color-coded lines covering over 120 miles of track. The network map is relatively simple and the stations are well-signposted, so you shouldn’t have too much trouble finding your way even if you don’t speak Spanish. However, there are no announcements on the train or on the platform, so you need to keep track of where you want to get off.

Fares: All fares cost 5 pesos, or around 25 cents, and are cash only. You can buy a paper ticket at the ticket booth inside the station or a smart card (tarjeta) for 10 pesos. The card can be recharged with up to 120 pesos at a time and can be used for multiple people traveling together. Then, you will need to tap the card or feed your ticket into the barrier to enter. You do not need to tap again to exit.

Routes and Hours: The 12 Metro lines criss-cross the city, but in the Roma and Condesa neighborhoods you are likely to be closer to the Metrobús. The Metro operates until midnight every day, starting at 5 a.m. on weekdays, 6 a.m. on Saturdays and 7 a.m. on Sundays and public holidays.

Service Alerts: Metro trains run every couple of minutes, but there can be delays during peak hour. You can receive notifications through the Moovit app or the Metro CDMX Twitter account.

Transfers: Transfers between lines within a station are free. If you leave the station you will need to tap on again or use another paper ticket to transfer to a new train or the Metrobús.

Accessibility: Accessibility in the Metro system is limited. Most stations have escalators and some have lifts. There are reserved seats in every carriage for people with impaired mobility. Guide dogs are permitted to enter the Metro. You can find a list of stations with elevadores (elevator) and other aids on the Mexico City government website.
You can plan your route using Google Maps or the Metro website.

The Mexico City Metro, also known as Metro de la Ciudad de México, is the second-largest metro system in the Americas. It is second only to the New York subway. The average daily ridership is estimated to be 5 million passengers. The subway authority Sistema de Transporte Colectivo (STC) operates the metro with funding support from Mexico’s federal district (DF), the Transport and Communications Ministry (SCT), and the Mexico City government.

Also, Read:

Current network

The system comprises 12 lines that span 225 km and cover 195 stations (126 underground, 53 at-grade and 16 elevated). Table 1 provides the network details.

Current network of the Mexico City Metro

Line – 1

Colour – Pink

Route – Pantitlán to Observatory

Length (km) – 16.65

Total stations – 20

Surface stations – 1

Underground stations – 19

Elevated stations – 0

Trains – 51

Line  – 2

Colour – Blue

Route – Four Roads to Tasqueña

Length (km) – 20.71

Total stations – 24

Surface stations – 10

Underground stations – 14

Elevated stations – 0

Trains  – 45

Line  – 3

Colour – Olive Green

Route – Green Indians to University

Length (km)  – 21.28

Total stations – 21

Surface stations – 4

Underground station – 17

Elevated stations – 0

Trains – 58

Line – 4

Colour – Light Blue

Route – Santa Anita to Martin Carrera

Length (km)  – 9.36

Total stations  – 10

Surface stations – 2

Elevated stations – 0

Underground station – 8

Trains – 13

Line – 5

Colour – Yellow

Route – Polytechnic to Pantitlán

Length – 14.44

Total stations – 13

Surface stations – 9

Underground station – 4

Elevated stations – 0

Trains – 17

Line – 6

Colour – Red

Route – The Rosary to Martin Carrera

Length(KM) – 11.43

Total stations – 11

Surface stations – 1

Underground station – 10

Elevated stations – 0

Trains – 18

Line – 7

Colour –  Orange

Route – The Rosary to Barranca del Muerto

Length – 17.01

Total Stations – 14

Surface stations – 1

Underground stations – 13

Elevated stations- 0

Trains – 26

Line – 8

Colour  –  Green

Route – Garibaldi to Constitution of 1917

Length – 17.68

Total Stations – 19

Surface stations – 5

Underground stations – 14

Elevated stations – 0

Trains – 29

Line – 9

Colour – Brown

Route – Pantitlán to Tacubaya

Length – 13.03

Total Stations -12

Surface stations – 0

Underground stations – 8

Elevated stations – 4

Trains – 33

Line – A

Colour – Purple

Route – Pantitlán to La Paz

Length – 14.89

Total Stations -10

Surface stations – 9

Underground stations – 1

Elevated stations – 0

Trains – 33

Line – B

Colour – Green over Silver

Route – Aztec City to Buenavista

Length – 20.28

Total stations – 21

Surface stations – 11

Underground Stations – 6

Elevated stations – 4

Trains – 32

Line – 12

Colour – Golden

Route – Tláhuac to Mixcoac

Length – 24

Total stations – 20

Surface stations – 0

Underground Stations – 0

Elevated stations – 20

Trains – 30

Rolling stock and technology

The rolling stock fleet comprises 355 trains, which include 291 nine-car trains and 64 six-car trains. The station platform length is 150 meters. There are 332 trains with rubber tires and 23 with steel tires. The trains operate at a maximum speed of 100 km/hr.

The fleet consists of 13 models. Table 2 indicates the train features and Table 3 indicates the car features.

For Line 2, advanced technology trains with an asynchronous traction system (AC motors) and automatic train control (ATC) signalling system are used. Cars have gangways between them and side bench seats along the corridors, allowing an up to six per cent increase in passenger capacity.

About 30 per cent of the cars have a traction-braking system of electromechanical JH (camshaft). The rest of the cars have a traction-braking system with semiconductor and electronic control, which can recover energy during braking.

Power system

Power is sourced from an overhead catenary pantograph at 750 V DC. The operating height of the pantograph is 6.42 metres. Spain-based Telvent has upgraded the electrical infrastructure on Lines 1, 2 and 3, as well as the lighting, power and traction circuits. The company has supplied integrated control, protection and metering systems to monitor the electrical infrastructure.

Fare system

Single-trip magnetic-stripe paper tickets and prepaid contactless smart cards are used for fare collection. About 60 per cent of the passengers use the single-trip tickets. In December 2013, the fare increased from MXN3 to MXN5 per trip, still one of the lowest in the world.

In February 2012, STC announced launched an integrated smart card based on the Calypso standard for the metro and the city’s Metrobús bus rapid transit system.

Capital projects

Line 12 (Golden Line)

The line spans 24 km from Tláhuac in the southeast to Mixcoac in the west, covering 20 stations. When it opened in October 2012, the line was expected to have a ridership of 437,000 passengers per day. However, it has remained out of service since March 2014 due to safety issues.

The line was developed by a consortium including Mexico’s construction major ICA, France-based Alstom and Mexico-based Cicsa. Alstom provided 1.5 kV DC overhead electrification and Urbalis communications-based train control (CBTC) system. Spain-based Construcciones y Auxiliar de Ferrocarriles (CAF) has provided 30 seven-car Type FE-10 steel-wheel trains under a 15-year public service provision (PPS) contract valued at EUR1 billion and including maintenance.

Of the total project cost of USD1.9 billion, DF provided USD537 million and the Mexico City government provided the remaining USD435 million.

While the builders of the line denied responsibility, the Treasury Inspector’s Office disqualified three of the five firms overseeing the works on Line 12. The firms, namely Empresas de Estudios Economicos y de Ingenieria (EINSA), Lumbreras y Tuneles (LYTSA) and Ingenieria, Asesoria y Consultoria (IACSA), will be barred from any contract offered by entities of the government of Mexico City (GDF) for two years.

Germany’s TUV Rheinland, the company in charge of safety certifications for Line 12 repairs stated that none of the trains were compatible with the tracks and will have to be completely replaced. As of February 2015, CAF was awaiting the go-ahead from Mexico City to repair the subway cars on Line 12. The repairs are based on recommendations from an ongoing investigation by French engineering and consulting group Systra to replace the wheels and adjust the primary suspension on the trolleys.

In June 2015, the Secretary of Public Works and Services in Mexico City (Sobse) announced the completion of Phase 1 and launch of Phase 2 of the project to renovate Line 12. During this phase of works, railway sleepers, rail profiles and track ballasts will be replaced. In total, some 19,500 metres of track ballasts will be replaced with larger ballasts that will provide better support. A total of 29,000 railway sleepers and more than 1,300 tonnes of rail profiles will also be replaced. This material has been imported from France and Spain, respectively.

Mexico City’s government currently expects to have the metro back at full capacity by November 2015. The estimated cost to fix the entire line (including trains) is MXN450 million.

System improvement

The metro system requires 127 new trains on Lines 1, 3, 5, 7 and 9, which will cost MXN30 billion. Line B (green over silver) needs four new trains costing MXN7.2 billion. Another MXN1.3 billion will be invested for railcar maintenance and MXN500 million to extend the FM-86 trains from a six to nine-car configuration.

In February 2012, STC announced plans to invest USD3.03 billion to renew and upgrade the rolling stock. In November 2013, it reported that 30 per cent of all trains were broken down and out of service. The trains remaining in rotation have mechanical problems three times more often than in 2007. Poor ventilation causes temperatures to significantly increase in some tunnels.

In December 2014, STC announced plans to acquire 45 trains, upgrade 150 escalators, and acquire 19 elevators. In November 2014, Alstom secured a USD343-million contract to modernise 85 rubber-tyred trains deployed on Lines 4, 5, 6, 7, and B as well as upgrade the MP68 and NM73 fleets with new doors and braking systems. The work will take four years to be completed and the company will maintain the trains for a further four years.

As of March 2015, STC was planning to launch an international tender to purchase 45 nine-car trains for Line 1. The contract is valued at USD646 million.

System expansion

In July 2014, SCT announced plans to extend four lines by 45 km at an investment of MXN18 billion.

The first extension to be undertaken will be that of Line 12. The line will be extended by 3.8 km from Mixcoac to the Observatory station with one intermediate station. The Observatory station will provide an interchange for Line 1 and Line 9. The extension entails an investment of USD520 million and is expected to open by end-2016. Once completed, Line 12 will span 26.1 km and cover 22 stations.

In February 2015, ATC issued tenders for the extension of Line A to La Paz Chalco at an investment of MXN11 billion by 2017. In addition, Line 4 (Light Blue) will be extended to Ecatepec and Line 9 (Brown) to the Observatory station.

Funding in 2015

The Mexico City capital budget for FY2015 has allocated funding for the following metro projects:

Extension of Line 12 from Mixcoac to the Observatory station with one intermediate station – MXN1 billion
Repair of the existing section of Line 12 – MXN883 million
Design, building and maintenance of 30 trains operating on Line 12 – MXN1.18 billion
Procurement of 45 train cars for Line 1 and maintenance of rolling stock on Line 2 – MXN2.55 billion

Earlier, in May 2014, the SCT provided MXN2 billion to the Mexico City government for Line 12 extension.

Recent developments

In August 2016, STC awarded CAF México a EUR164-million contract to supply 10 pneumatic-tyre trains for Line 1 of the Mexico City Metro. This contract is part of the vehicle and infrastructure refurbishment programme implemented for the metro system. The first units are scheduled to be delivered in the first half of 2018.

In July 2016, Mexico City invited bids from consultants to supervise and co-ordinate metro Line 12’s underground extension from August 2016 onwards. The scope of works includes monitoring and controlling costs, allocation of resources and quality control.

In June 2016, STC invested MXN140 million for refurbishing four trains, which are currently operating on Line 1. It also launched a tender to procure 10 rubber-tyred trains for Line 1 at an investment of MXN4 billion; and plans to seek an MXN20-billion loan to fund the refurbishment of 323 railcars. The Mexico City capital budget for FY2015 had prioritised purchase of 45 new trains for Line 1; however, due to lack of funds, only 10 trains are to be acquired in 2016. The new trains will increase capacity on Line 1 by 25 per cent.

In March 2016, the following developments were recorded:

STC launched tenders for the supply of 15 new rubber-tyred trains for Line 1.
STC introduced four rehabilitated trains on Metro Line 6 and one nine-car train on Line A.

In February 2016, STC announced plans to seek a loan of MXN22 billion for train maintenance and infrastructure improvements.

In January 2016, STC launched a three-year programme to upgrade 85 per cent of the metro fleet with assistance from Alstom.

Conclusion

The Mexico City authorities and the SCT are keen to upgrade and expand the system despite concerns regarding project delivery, safety, and sourcing of funds. The metro system was given priority in the city’s 2015 capital budget. The additional revenue from fare increase has been earmarked for metro projects. Despite the problems with the opening of Line 12, the government has proceeded with the extension project. It is also making sure that the original line becomes operational by end of 2015 and steps are taken to identify and penalize the responsible parties for Line 12. The government’s handling of the problems with Line 12 and the companies involved will provide valuable experience in determining the implementation terms and conditions for further projects.

Pantitlán – Metro Line 1, Line 5, Line 9 and Line A

This station’s icon represents flags that the Aztecs placed in Texcoco Lake (the lake that surrounded the Aztec’s capital of Tenochtitlan) to aid navigation. The winds in that area were so strong that canoes would end up capsized; the Aztecs places flags there to warn the canoes not to get too close. The name Pantitlán means “between flags”.

Terminal 2 of Mexico City’s International Airport is a short distance from this station, and there is also a CETRAM with many local buses, including Line 3 of the Maximus

Zaragoza – Metro Line 1

Zaragoza station is named after General Ignacio Zaragoza, the Mexican General who led the army that defeated the French at the Battle of Puebla in 1862, an event celebrated on Cinco de Mayo day by Mexicans in the US, and a public holiday in Mexico. The logo represents the statue of Zaragoza that is found nearby.

Several online sources claim that an exhibit dedicated to the Metro called Expo Metro is located near Zaragoza station, but I have been unable any definite evidence of this.

Gómez Farías – Metro Line 1

This station is located in the Valentín Gómez Farías Colonia (neighborhood) of Mexico City, eponymously named for one of the writers of the 1857 Mexican constitution and president of Mexico. The logo represents said constitution, with the date 1857 written in the corner of the document.

To the north of the station is the Federal neighbourhood, so named because its streets are named after parts of the federal government, such as Congreso, Suprema Corte de Justicia, and Correos y Telégrafos.

Boulevard Puerto Aéreo – Metro Line 1

This station is found beneath the intersection of the Circuito Interior and the Calzada Ignacio Zaragoza. The station icon represents this overpass and the structure that surrounds a ventilation vent for the station.

Previously, this station was known as Aeropuerto and had an aeroplane as its icon, as it was the closest to the airport facilities when it was opened in 1969. However, it was no longer the closest after the station Terminal Aérea on line 5 opened in 1981; its name and icon caused confusion, especially among tourists, and thus it was changed from Aeropuerto in 1996.

Balbuena – Metro Line 1

The icon for this station represents flowers from the Jardín Balbuena, a densely-populated neighborhood located to the south of the station.

Moctezuma – Metro Line 1

Moctezuma station is named after the neighborhood in which it is found, itself named after the 2nd to last Aztec emperor, Moctezuma II or Moctezuma Xocoyotzin (Moctezuma the younger). He was the Aztec leader that was taken as a hostage during Hernán Cortés’ campaign against the Aztecs in 1520, and he died later that year, possibly by stones thrown by his countrymen, or possibly killed by the Spaniards.

The icon of the station represents the feathered headdress which supposedly was worn by Moctezuma, which is now found in a museum in Vienna, Austria. There is a reproduction of this headdress in the wonderful Anthropology museum in Mexico City, found near the Auditorio metro.