A ride on the Mexicable (and more!)
Every time I come to Mexico City (which isn’t that often every 2-3 years on average), I meet up with my fellow Metroloco friends, and visit the public transportation options that are new since the last time. So, just like when I rode on the Línea Dorada, or when I went on the Metrobús 4, this time we visited a few newer things that I hadn’t seen yet. Get ready to follow along!
The first thing we did was go to Indios Verdes, from where many bus services depart, including the Mexibus. In looking for the official site, I realized that the best I could find was this Governmental site; it turns out that the 3 current lines, and the 4th line currently under construction, are each operated by different service operators, and that there is no unified site for it with a clear map of all the routes and so on. This map is the best I could find at the moment:
As you can see, there’s no Indios Verdes on this map; that’s because the 4th line is still under construction. However, even though the 4th line isn’t yet fully operational, there are buses that leave from Indios Verdes and go along Insurgentes up into the State of Mexico, all the way to the Mexicable with no intermediate stops yet, so that’s what we took. Along the way, I saw several stations that looked almost ready; however, I think the major work that still needs to be completed is for the separate confined lanes that it will take. In any case, we were lucky enough to end up in a bus all by ourselves on our way there! Private service!
We then arrived at the Mexicable station at Santa Clara. In order to ride both the Mexibús and the Mexicable, you need to buy a rechargeable card. One of my friends paid for all of us to get on to the Mexibús, but once we got to Santa Clara, I bought my own card:
Each one of us got a different one; I think I got one of the prettier ones. I love Teotihuacán!
Here is outside the station, including the soon-to-be-opened connection (pedestrian bridge) to the Mexibús station:
And here is my first view I got while walking up the stairs to where the actual cablecars are (note: there is also an elevator for those who need it):
After each paying for our cards and entering the station, I took this picture of the network map:
At which point a security guard came up to us and said “no pictures inside the stations, only from inside the cars”.. Ok there, Mr. Security Paranoia, fine. So, sorry if there are no more pictures from inside the stations! Pretty ridiculous since it’s easy to find lots of pictures from inside the stations on the Internet, especially from when it first opened.
So we then hopped into the next cablecar. The route to the next station takes about 7 minutes according to the map (I didn’t time any of the intervals, but they seemed accurate). This one guy hopped into our car at the very last second, and so had to endure 7 minutes of transport geeks analyzing every detail we saw. He hopped out and ran to the next car when we reached the next station, ha!
The first interval is very long, because it ends up going over a highway.
Many of the stations had murals painted on them. I really liked this one, so much so that I bought a postcard of it at the gift shop! More on that later.
At the 4th station, because of a turn in the network shortly after, we had to disembark our car and get into a new one; basically, it’s 2 cablecar networks connected together, not just one. We went all the way to the last station at La Cañada, but decided to stay in the cablecar and just ride all the way back; my friends told me that when Mexicable opened, they rode it for fun and got off at La Cañada, but it’s a pretty sketchy neighbourhood and they were witness to some pretty sketchy stuff, so we decided that it was safer to just stay in it and head back.
Once we got back to Santa Clara, we stopped in the tiny gift shop. It was so tiny that we couldn’t even all fit at the same time! Because of the security guard nonsense, I didn’t take a picture, but trust me, it was tiny! I didn’t have a lot of money on me so I declined to buy the stuffed cablecar mascot or the Mexicable-branded umbrella, but I did get myself a postcard of the fantastic Quetzalcoatl mural:
After leaving the Mexicable, we hopped back onto the Mexibús, back to Indios Verdes. I was able to use my brand-new card this time!
Metrobús Línea 7 – Reforma
Once at Indios Verdes, we got onto the latest Metrobús line, Line 7 – Reforma. I’m going to have to add it (and a few other lines!) to the site! The unique thing about Line 7, and the reason I wanted to ride it instead of Line 5 or 6, which I also have never been on, is that Line 7 has nice double-decker buses!
Here’s a picture of one of the many versions of the official map that you can find in the Metrobús network. Every time they’ve added new stations or lines, they have replaced some, but not all, of the maps found in the different stations. Personally, I find this one pretty good; it’s a bit busy and somewhat unclear in the central part, especially around Hidalgo – Juárez – Reforma, but at least the use the icons! I’ll put together a more complete critique of this map and the new “Mobilidad Integrada” map soon, though.
We were getting hungry, so we got off at Chapultepec, and grabbed some food.
Museo del Metro
After eating, we took the metro from Chapultepec until Mixcoac (transferring at Tacubaya), where we visited the Museo del Metro. It’s a small museum that is located in what was originally going to be another exit from the station, but that didn’t end up being completed. It has a permanent collection with pictures and artifacts from the different construction phases, some archeological artifacts found while building some of the lines and stations, a collection of tickets (they release new commemorative tickets practically every month), and a whole section on Lance Wyman! For those who don’t know, Lance Wyman was the designer of many of the original icons for the Mexico City metro, as well as the designer of the Washington, D.C. map, among many other graphic design achievements in his long career.
And of course, I couldn’t resist stopping in the small gift shop, and buying myself some souvenirs; I have to go back for a t-shirt, though!
All in all, it was a fun and informative day. My friends are fountains of knowledge on all things transportation in Mexico City. And, it just so happens that one of them is the designer of the new map! I’ll talk about that soon like I said, but here’s a taste of his work, a copy of his map that he printed out for the rest of us, with a few details that didn’t make it into the official one: