Safety issues
Everything you'll ever want to know about public taxis in Mexico city, what to avoid, and what they look like

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The safety issue
As most people who read a bit about Mexico City will have noticed, taking taxis in this city is not considered safe in all situations.

'the most frequently reported crimes involving tourists are taxi robbery'

report by the mexican government

The most important piece of advice that should be taken in mind when looking for a taxi is that YOU should chooce the taxi. It should be you who decides which one to take, it should not be the taxidriver that takes the initiative. There are about 80.000 taxis in Mexico City, doing a total of around 780.000 rides a day. The change that you exidentally pick that one taxi with a driver with bad intentions, is quite small. However, when you get in a taxi that offers its services to you unasked for, the chance for trouble is higher.

Furthermore, it is generally considered safer to order a cab by phone, or take a taxi from a taxi stand (these taxis have an S on their number plate, which stands for Sitio, standplace). You will not be able to stop these taxis anywhere on the street, so you should find a stand first.

To order a cab by phone is considered the safest option. This however does not work when you need to take a cab right this moment.

So what do you do when you walk on the street, need to take a cab, have no time to call one, and cannot find a taxi stand?

You hail a cab. However, you should be critical in your choice. Mexico city is crowded with cabs, and in most places you will not have to wait long before a number of cabs pass by.

When hailing a cab, there are some things that can be done to inccrease the safety:

  • Try to take one of the newer cabs. The white ones with the red stripe are the newest type.
  • It is generally not thought to be the best idea in the world to take one of these small green cabs from the Volkswagen Sedan type (the beetle). Besides the fact that they only offer place to two passengers, they are notorious for being unsave.
  • Only take cabs with a number plate that starts with an L. These cabs have a permit to function as a taxi, and are registered. Other people also drive around with cars looking like cabs, but without the L, they are just cars painted green. Take a look at the pictures to find out what the different types of taxis look like.
  • Check if the taxi displays the drivers I.D., which should correspond with the license plate of the car
  • Check if the license plate number is painted on the doors of the cab. Also, if you want to be sure, check if the cab is equipped with a meter. These are both good signs that you are dealing with a ligitimate taxi.
  • ONLY go with the taxi when you have a good feeling about it. When you do not like the look of the car, if the taxi driver does not seem a nice guy, or any other reason, just wave of the cab, and wait for another one. When you are already driving in a taxi, and you have the feeling something is wrong, quietly ask the driver to drop you of right wwhere you are. This could for example be advisable when you have the feeling that your cab is being followed, or when you think that your driver is taking a different route than he should.
  • Never take a taxi if there is already another passenger inside.
  • Try to have some money ready to pay the taxi driver. Do not show if you are carrying large amounts of cahs.
  • At night, or in ‘bad areas’, it might be wise not to hail a cab on the street at all, but to make sure you can call one (or have someone bring you home of course). This is the safest option. In general, most Radio Taxi Companies will be able to help you, but it might be a good idea to bring a couple of numbers.

If this advice is taken, taxi travel can mainly be done without any problem. Although there are many stories of people beign robbed in taxis, one should rmember that on 780.000 rides a day, 10 robberies is a very very small percentage.