Mexico City’s latest leap into modernity is in the shape of Line 4 of the Metrobus service. The new line, which went into service this past week, is different in a number of ways from the first three lines. The buses are only two-thirds as long as the articulated ones that run on lines one, two and three, and the stops are like traditional bus stops, whereas the older Metrobus lines have stations accessible via turnstiles. Payment will also be made using electronic cards, but these will be read by a machine on the bus.
The new Metrobus line runs around the Historic Center of Mexico City in a circuit that goes from Buenavista train station to the San Lázaro station, which includes the Metro and the eastern interstate bus terminal, commonly known in Mexico as TAPO.
From San Lázaro runs a non-stop extension to both airport terminals. The stop at Terminal 1 is between doors 6 and 7, and at the new Terminal 2 it is on the ground floor exit, where the taxi service is located.
The airport has for some years been directly connected to the capital’s Metro system – the station Terminal Aérea on the yellow line (Line 5) lies at the entrance to the airport Terminal 1, although it requires a change at the vast and bustling Pantitlán station to get the train into town, and was never practical for any but the savviest of light travelers, or those traveling to the airport to meet someone and returning (with baggage) in a taxi.
The new Metrobus line heads directly towards downtown, and may be useful for people who have a flight lay-over for several hours in Mexico City and wish to squeeze in some sightseeing, or for those who know their way around the city, and can use it as a way to connect to the Metro.
The Metrobuses that run to and from the airport are clearly marked as the airport bus and cost 30 pesos each way – less than US$3, and considerably less than a taxi. It also includes connection to the rest of Line 4 of the Metrobus. The electronic cards needed to travel on Metrobuses are available at convenience stores and other outlets. The regular Line 4 costs 5 pesos per trip, the same as the other three lines.
An interesting thing about it is that the circuit runs along the same route, or a similar one, to that drawn up a couple of years ago for a tram car project which city authorities had hoped would not only solve the public transport problem in the downtown area, but would also be a tourist attraction. Unfortunately – really unfortunately as it was an attractive project – the lowest bid received for the tram car system was above what the city had budgeted for it, and so it was abandoned and an alternative sought. That alternative is evidently the new Metrobus.
See also: Traveling on Metro Systems in Mexico