Mexico City Metro

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Mexico City Metro
Mexico City Metro.svg
FE-10 06.jpg
Mexico City Metro
Native name Metro de la Ciudad de México
Locale Mexico City
Transit type Rapid transit
Number of lines 12[1]
Line number 1-9, 12, A, B
Number of stations 195[1]
Daily ridership 4,616,264 (2013)
Annual ridership 1.624 billion (2015)[1]
Website Metro de la Ciudad de México
Began operation 4 September 1969; 46 years ago (1969-09-04)[2]
Operator(s) Sistema de Transporte Colectivo (STC)
Number of vehicles 390[3]
System length 226.5 km (140.7 mi)[1]
Track gauge 1,435 mm (4 ft 8 12 in) (standard gauge) (2 lines); and roll ways along track (Rubber-tyred metro) (10 lines)
System map
Mexico City Metro System Map (2013-03-01).png
Metro México 2015

The Mexico City Metro (Spanish: Metro de la Ciudad de México), officially called Sistema de Transporte Colectivo, often shortened to STC, is a metro system that serves the metropolitan area of Mexico City, including some municipalities in Mexico State. It is the second largest metro system in North America after the New York City Subway. In 2015, the system served 1.623 billion passengers,[1] placing it as the ninth highest ridership in the world.

The inaugural STC Metro line was 12.7 kilometres (7.9 mi) long, serving 16 stations, and opened to the public on 4 September 1969.[2] The system has expanded since then in a series of fits and starts. As of 2015, the system has 12 lines,[1] serving 195 stations,[1] and 226.49 kilometres (140.73 mi) of route (including the recently opened Line 12).[1] Ten of the lines are rubber-tyred; instead of traditional steel wheels, they use pneumatic traction, which are quieter and cope better with Mexico City's unstable soils.

Of the STC Metro's 195 stations,[1] 24[citation needed] serve two or more lines (correspondencias or transfer stations). It has 115 underground stations[1] (the deepest of which are 35 metres (115 ft) below street level); 54 surface stations[1] and 26 elevated stations.[1] All lines operate from 5 am to midnight.

At the end of 2007, the Federal District government announced the construction of the most recent STC Metro line, Line 12, which was built to run approximately 26 kilometres (16 mi)[4] towards the southeastern part of the city, connecting with Lines 7, 3, 2 and 8. This line opened on 30 October 2012.[5]


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Original "Plan Maestro" for the Mexico City Metro.

By the second half of the twentieth century, Mexico City had serious public transport issues, with congested main roads and highways, especially in the downtown zone, where 40 percent of the daily trips in the city were concentrated. 65 of the 91 lines of bus and electric transport served this area. With four thousand units in addition to 150,000 personal automobiles peak hours, the average speed was less than walking pace.

The principal promoter of the construction of the Mexico City Metro was engineer Bernardo Quintana, who was in charge of the construction company Ingenieros Civiles y Asociados (Spanish for Civil Engineers and Associates). He carried out a series of studies that resulted in a draft plan which would ultimately lead to the construction of the Mexico City Metro. This plan was shown to different authorities of Mexico City but it was not made official until 29 April 1967, when the Government Gazette ("Diario Oficial de la Federación") published the presidential decree that created a public decentralized organism, the Sistema de Transporte Colectivo, with the proposal to build, operate and run a rapid transit of subterranean course for the public transport of Mexico City.

On 19 June 1967, in the crossroad of Chapultepec Avenue with Avenida Bucareli, the inauguration ceremony for the Mexico City Metro took place. Two years later, on 4 September 1969, an orange train made the inaugural trip between stations Zaragoza and Insurgentes, thus beginning uninterrupted daily operation up to today.

Mexico City Metro train in Bellas Artes station, decorated with images related to the city.
Templo Mayor of Tenochtitlan, prior to Spanish conquest. Displayed at Zócalo station.

First stage (1967–1972)[edit]

The first stage of construction comprised the construction and inauguration of lines 1, 2 and 3. This stage involved engineers, geologists, mechanics, civil engineers, chemists, hydraulic and sanitation workers, electricians, archaeologists, and biologists; specialists in ventilation, statistics, computation, and in traffic and transit; accountants, economists, lawyers, workers and laborers. Between 1,200 and 4,000 specialists and 48,000 workers participated, building at least one kilometer of track per month, the fastest rate of construction ever for a subway.[citation needed]

During this stage of construction workers uncovered two archaeological ruins, one Aztec idol, and the bones of a mammoth (under exhibit in Talismán station).[6]

By the end of the first stage, namely on 10 June 1972, the STC Metro had 48 stations and a total length of 41.41 kilometres (25.73 mi): Line 1 ran from Observatorio to Zaragoza, Line 2 from Tacuba into the southwestern Tasqueña and line 3 from Tlatelolco to Hospital General in the south, providing quick access to the General Hospital of Mexico.

Second stage (1977–1982)[edit]

No further progress was reached during President Luis Echeverría's government, but during José López Portillo's administration, a second stage began; the Comisión Ejecutiva del Metro (Executive Technical Commission of Mexico City Metro) was created in order to be in charge of expanding the STC Metro within the metropolitan area of Mexico City.

Works began with the expansion of Line 3 towards the north from Tlatelolco to La Raza in 1978 and to the current terminal Indios Verdes in 1979, and towards the south from Hospital General to Centro Médico in 1980 and to Zapata months later. Construction of lines 4 and 5 was begun and completed on 26 May and 30 August 1982, respectively; the first one from Martín Carrera to Santa Anita and the latter from Politécnico to Pantitlán. Line 4 was the first STC Metro line built as an elevated track, owing to the lower density of big buildings.

Third stage (1983–1985)[edit]

This construction stage took place from the beginning of 1983 through the end of 1985. Lines 1, 2 and 3 were expanded to their current lengths, and new lines 6 and 7 were built. The length of the network was increased by 35.29 kilometres (21.93 mi) and the number of stations to 105.

Line 3 route was expanded from Zapata station to Universidad station on 30 August 1983. Line 1 was expanded from Zaragoza to current terminal Pantitlán, and line 2 from Tacuba to current terminal Cuatro Caminos. These latter were both inaugurated on 22 August 1984.

Line 6 first route ran from El Rosario to Instituto del Petróleo; Line 7 was opened from Tacuba to Barranca del Muerto and runs on the bottom of the Sierra de las Cruces mountain range that surrounds the Valley of Mexico by its west side, outside of the ancient lake zone; this made possible Line 7 to be built as a deep-tunnel.

On the morning of 19 September 1985, an 8.1 Richter magnitude earthquake struck Mexico City. Many buildings as well as streets were left with major damage making the transportation on the ground difficult, but the STC Metro was not damaged because a rectangular structure had been used instead of arches, making it resistant to earthquakes, thus proving to be a safe means of transportation in a time of crisis.[citation needed]

Fourth stage (1985–1987)[edit]

Fourth stage saw the completion of Line 6 from Instituto del Petróleo to eastern terminal Martín Carrera and Line 7 to the north from Tacuba to El Rosario. Line 9 was the only new line built during this stage; it originally ran from Pantitlán to Centro Médico, and its expansion to Tacubaya was completed on 29 August 1988. For Line 9, a circular deep-tunnel and an elevated track were used.

Fifth stage (1988–1994)[edit]

For the first time, a service line of the Mexico City Metro ran into the State of Mexico: planned as one of more líneas alimentadoras (feeding lines to be named by letters, instead of numbers), line A was fully operational by its first inauguration on 12 August 1991; it runs from Pantitlán to La Paz, located in the municipality of the same name. This line was built almost entirely above ground, and to reduce the cost of maintenance, steel railway tracks and overhead lines were used instead of pneumatic traction, promoting the name metro férreo (steel-rail metro) as opposed to the previous eight lines that used pneumatic traction.

The draft for Line 8 planned a correspondencia (transfer station) in Zócalo, namely the exact center of the city, but it was cancelled due to possible damage to the colonial buildings and the Aztec ruins, so it was replanned and now it runs from Garibaldi, which is still downtown, to Constitución de 1917 in the southeast of the city. The construction of line 8 began in 1988 and was completed in 1994.

With this, the length of the network increased 37.1 kilometres (23.1 mi), adding two lines and 29 more stations, giving the metro network at that point a total of 178.1 kilometres (110.7 mi), 154 stations and 10 lines.

Sixth stage (1994–2000)[edit]

Assessment for line B began in late 1993. Line B was intended as a second línea alimentadora for northeastern municipalities in the State of Mexico, but, unlike line A, it used pneumatic traction. Construction of the subterranean track between Buenavista (named after the old Buenavista train station) and Garibaldi began in October 1994. Line B was opened to public in two stages: from Buenavista to Villa de Aragón on 15 December 1999, and from Villa de Aragón to Ciudad Azteca on 30 November 2000.

Seventh stage (2008–2014)[edit]

Plans for a new STC Metro line started in 2008, although previous surveys and assessments were made as early as 2000. Line 12 first service stage was planned for completion in late 2009 with the creation of track connecting Axomulco, a planned new transfer station for Line 8 (between Escuadrón 201 and Atlalilco) to Tláhuac. The second stage, connecting Mixcoac to Tláhuac, was to be completed in 2010.

Construction of Line 12 started in 2008, assuring it would be opened by 2011. Nevertheless, completion was delayed to 2012. Free test rides were offered to public in some stations, and the line was fully operational on 30 October 2012. With minor changes, Line 12 runs from Mixcoac to Tláhuac, serving southern Mexico City for the first time. With 24.31 kilometres (15.11 mi), it is the longest line in the system.

Line 12 differs from previous lines in several aspects: no hawkers are allowed, neither inside the train nor inside the stations; it is the first numbered-line to use steel railway tracks; one must have a Tarjeta DF smart card to access any station, since Metro tickets are no longer accepted.

In the book Los hombres del Metro,[citation needed] the original planning of Line 12 is described; although it was to begin at Mixcoac as it does today, Atlalilco and Constitución de 1917 stations of Line 8 were to be part of Line 12. The same map shows that Line 8 would have reached the Villa Coapa area and that it would not have had a terminal at Garibaldi, but at Indios Verdes, linking with Line 3. In addition, the book shows that Line 7 would have terminated at San Jerónimo. None of this plans have been confirmed by the Mexico City government.

In 2015 mayor Miguel Ángel Mancera announced the construction[citation needed] of two more stations and a terminal for Line 12: Valentín Campa Salazar,[7] Álvaro Obregón and Observatorio, both west of Mixcoac; these are to be built by 2016. With this Line 12 will be connected to Line 1 and provide a new metro access to the Observatorio zone, which will become the terminal for the intercity train between México City and Toluca, planned to complete in 2018.[8][9]

Lines and stations[edit]

Mexico City Metro system diagram as of 2013

Each line offers one service only, and to each line a number (letter if feeding line) and a colour are assigned. Every assigned colour is present on square-shaped station logos, system maps and street signs, and neither colours nor numbers have been changed. Line B is the only exception to colour assignment, as green (upper half) and grey (lower half) are used, producing thus bicolour logos and signs. Grey only may be used to avoid confusion with line 8, which uses a similar green.

Each station is identified by a minimalist logo related to the name of the station or the area around it. This is because, at the time of the first line's opening, Mexico's illiteracy rate was high.[10][11] As of 1960, 38% of Mexicans over the age of five were illiterate and only 5.6% of Mexicans over the age of six had completed more than six years of school.[12] Since one-third of the Mexican population could not read or write and most of the rest had not completed high school, it was thought that patrons would find it easier to guide themselves with a system based on colors and visual signs.[citation needed] The design of the icons and the typography were the creation of Lance Wyman, who also designed the logotype for the 1968 Summer Olympic Games at Mexico City. The logos are not assigned at random; rather, they are designated by considering the surrounding areas, such as:

The logos' background colors reflect those of the line the station serves. Stations serving two or more lines show the respective colors of each line in diagonal stripes, as in Salto del Agua. This system was adopted for the Guadalajara and Monterrey metros, and recently for the 2005, 2009 and 2011 Mexico City Metrobús. Although logos are no longer necessary due to literacy being now widespread, their usage remained.

Line Northern/Western terminal[2] Southern/Eastern terminal[2] Total stations[2] Passenger track[13] Inauguration[2]
  Line 1 Observatorio (W) Pantitlán (E) 20 16.65 kilometres (10.35 mi) 4 September 1969
  Line 2 Cuatro Caminos (N) Tasqueña (S) 24 20.71 kilometres (12.87 mi) 1 August 1970
  Line 3 Indios Verdes (N) Universidad (S) 21 21.28 kilometres (13.22 mi) 20 November 1970
  Line 4 Martín Carrera (N) Santa Anita (S) 10 9.36 kilometres (5.82 mi) 29 August 1981
  Line 5 Politécnico (N) Pantitlán (S) 13 14.44 kilometres (8.97 mi) 19 December 1981
  Line 6 El Rosario (W) Martín Carrera (E) 11 11.43 kilometres (7.10 mi) 21 December 1983
  Line 7 El Rosario (N) Barranca del Muerto (S) 14 17.01 kilometres (10.57 mi) 20 December 1984
  Line 8 Garibaldi/Lagunilla (N) Constitución de 1917 (S) 19 17.68 kilometres (10.99 mi) 20 July 1994
  Line 9 Tacubaya (W) Pantitlán (E) 12 13.03 kilometres (8.10 mi) 26 August 1987
  Line A Pantitlán (W) La Paz (E) 10 14.89 kilometres (9.25 mi) 12 August 1991
  Line B Ciudad Azteca (N) Buenavista (S) 21 20.28 kilometres (12.60 mi) 15 December 1999
  Line 12 Mixcoac (W)[5] Tláhuac (E)[5] 20[5] 24.11 kilometres (14.98 mi) 30 October 2012[5]
  • Colours according to the official STC icons.

Transfers to other systems[edit]

Annual Passenger Ridership
Year Ridership  % Change
2002 1,396,408,190 -
2003 1,375,089,433 -1.55%
2004 1,441,659,626 +4.84%
2005 1,440,744,414 -0.06%
2006 1,416,995,974 -1.65%
2007 1,352,408,424 -4.56%
2008 1,460,144,568 +7.38%
2009 1,414,907,798 -3.20%
2010 1,530,352,732 +8.16%
2011 1,594,903,897 +4.22%
2012 1,608,865,177 +0.88%
2013 1,684,936,618 +4.73%
2014 1,614,333,594 -4.19%

The Mexico City Metro offers in and out-street transfers to three major rapid transit systems: the Mexico City Metrobús bus rapid transit system, the Mexico City light rail system and the Ferrocarril Suburbano (FSZMVM) commuter rail. None of these is part of the Sistema de Transporte Colectivo network and an extra fare must be paid for access.

Metrobús Line 1 was inaugurated in 2005. According to the 1985 STC Metro Master Plan, Metrobús Line 1 roughly follows the route planned for STC Metro Line 15 by 2010, which was never built. Every transfer is out-of-station, but the same smart card may be used for payment. All five lines (Line 5 to be built during 2013) offer connection to at least one STC Metro station. STC Metro stations that connect to Metrobús lines include Indios Verdes, La Raza, Chilpancingo, Balderas, Etiopía/Plaza de la Transparencia, Insurgentes Sur and others.

The sole light rail line running from Tasqueña to Xochimilco is operated by the Servicio de Transportes Eléctricos and is better known as Tren Ligero. Line 2 terminal Tasqueña offers an in-station transfer, but an extra ticket must be purchased.

In 2008, the Ferrocarril Suburbano commuter rail, commonly known as Suburbano, was inaugurated with a sole line running from Cuatitlán to Buenavista as of 2013. STC Metro offers two in-station transfers: Line B terminal Buenavista to the Suburbano terminal of the same name, and Line 6 station Ferrería/Arena Ciudad de México into Suburbano station Fortuna. An extra fare must be paid, and a Ferrocarril Suburbano smart card is required for access.

Fares and pay systems[edit]

Rechargeable card in use.

Until 2009, a STC Metro ticket cost MXN $2.00 ( 0.10, or US$ 0.15 in 2009); one purchased ticket allowed unlimited distance travel and transfer at any given time for one day, making the Mexico City Metro one of the cheapest rail systems in the world.[21] Only line A's transfer in Pantitlán required a second payment before 13 December 2013. In January 2010 the price rose to MXN $3.00 ( 0.15, or US$ 0.24), a fare that remained until 13 December 2013; a 2009 survey showed that 93% of citizens approved of the increase, while some said they would be willing to pay even more if needed.[22] The price for a single day ticket is currently MXN $5.00. A discounted rate of MXN $3.00 is available upon application for women head of households, the unemployed, and students with scarce resources.[23] Mexico City Metro offers free service to the elderly, the physically impaired, and children under the age of 5 (accompanied by an adult).

Tickets can be purchased at booths. STC Metro rechargeable cards were first available for an initial cost of MXN $10.00. The card would be recharged at the ticket counter in any station (or at machines in some Metro stations) to a maximum of MXN $120.00 (around  6.44, or US$ 7.05 in 2015) for 20 trips.[24]

In an attempt to modernize public transport, in October 2012 the Mexico City government implemented the use of a prepaid fare card, or stored-value card, called Tarjeta DF (Tarjeta del Distrito Federal, literally Federal District Card) as a payment method for STC Metro, Metrobús and the city's trolleybus and light rail systems, though they are all managed by different organisations.[25] Servicio de Transportes Eléctricos manages both the Xochimilco Light Rail line and the city's trolleybus system. Previous fare cards that were valid only on STC Metro or Metrobús remained valid for the system for which they were acquired.[26]

Rolling stock[edit]

Schematic of rolling stock used on the Mexico City Metro

As of April 2012, 14 types of standard gauge rolling stock totalling a number of 355 trains running in 6-or 9-car formation are currently in use on the Mexico City Metro. Four manufacturers have provided rolling stock for the Mexico City Metro, namely the French Alsthom (NM-73, 79), Canadian Bombardier (MP-86, FM-95A and NM-02), Spanish CAF and Mexican Concarril (NM-83 and FM-86) (now Bombardier Transportation Mexico, in some train types with the help of Alsthom and/or Bombardier).

The maximum design speed limit is 80 km/h (50 mph) (average speed 35.5 km/h or 22.1 mph) for rubber-tyred rolling stock and 100 km/h (62 mph) (average speed 42.5 km/h or 26.4 mph) for steel-wheeled rolling stock. Unlike the rolling stock of other metro systems in the world, the trains do not utilise air-conditioning; instead forced-air ventilation is employed in all trains and the top portion of windows can be opened so that passenger comfort is ensured by the combination of these two types of ventilation. Like the rolling stock used in the Paris Métro, the numbering of the Mexico City Metro's rolling stock are specified by year of design (not year of first use).

In chronological order, the types of rubber-tyred rolling stock are: MP-68, NM-73A, NM-73B, NM-73C, NM-79, MP-82, NC-82, NM-83A, NM-83B, NE-92 and NM-02; and the types of steel-wheeled roling stock are: FM-86, FM-95A, FE-07 and FE-10.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l "Cifras de operación" [Operations figures] (in Spanish). Metro de la Ciudad de México. Retrieved 2016-08-20. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f "Inauguraciones y Ampliaciones en Orden Cronológico Hasta 2000" [Inaugurations and Extensions in Chronological Order Until 2000] (in Spanish). Metro de la Ciudad de Mexico. Retrieved 2016-08-20. 
  3. ^ "Parque Vehicular" [Vehicle Fleet] (in Spanish). Metro de la Ciudad de México. Retrieved 2016-08-20. 
  4. ^ "Sabías Que... Linea 12" [Did You Know... Line 12] (in Spanish). Metro de la Ciudad de Mexico. Retrieved 2013-10-13. 
  5. ^ a b c d e "Linea 12" [Line 12] (in Spanish). Metro de la Ciudad de Mexico. Retrieved 2016-08-20. 
  6. ^ "Etapas de construcción de la red del STC Metro" [Stages of construction of the STC Metro network] (in Spanish). Mexico City Metro (STC). Retrieved 2016-08-20. 
  7. ^ Cruz, Alejandro (15 February 2013). "Ponen Valentín Campa a tren del Metro; nueva estación también llevará su nombre". La Jornada. Retrieved 20 August 2016. 
  8. ^ "Anuncia Mancera la próxima ampliación de la Línea 12 del Metro" [Mancera announces the forthcoming extension of Metro Line 12]. El Sol de México (in Spanish). Organización Editorial Mexicana. 14 February 2013. Retrieved 20 August 2016. 
  9. ^ Robles, Johana (15 February 2013). "Plantean alargar la L-12 del Metro hasta Alta Tensión" [Extension of Metro line 12 to the 'Alta Tensión' area proposed]. El Universal (in Spanish). Retrieved 20 August 2016. 
  10. ^ Marianne Ström, Metro-art in the Metro-polis (Paris: ACR Edition, 1994), 210. ACR Edition is the actual name of this book's publisher, not an indicator of a particular edition.
  11. ^ John Ross, El Monstruo: Dread and Redemption in Mexico City (New York: Nation Books, 2009), 239.
  12. ^ Francisco Alba, The Population of Mexico: Trends, Issues, and Policies (New Brunswick: Transaction Books, 1982), 52.
  13. ^ "Longitudes de las Líneas (KM)" [Line lengths (km)] (in Spanish). Metro de la Ciudad de Mexico. Retrieved 2016-08-20. 
  14. ^
  15. ^
  16. ^
  17. ^
  18. ^
  19. ^
  20. ^
  21. ^ Schwandl, Robert (2007). "UrbanRail.Net > Central America > Mexico > Ciudad de Mexico Metro". Retrieved 16 August 2011. 
  22. ^ "Aprueban usuarios incremento a la tarifa del Metro (Spanish)". Retrieved 28 February 2013. 
  23. ^ "Tarifa Deferenciada de 3 Pesos" [Discounted fare of 3 pesos] (in Spanish). 
  24. ^ "STC: Tarjeta Recargable (Spanish)". Archived from the original on March 16, 2015. 
  25. ^ "Arranca el uso de la TarjetaDF para Metro, Metrobús y Trolebús" [Use of the TarjetaDF for Metro, Metrobús and Trolleybus begins]. Excélsior (in Spanish). 17 October 2012. Retrieved 14 October 2013. 
  26. ^ "STC: Nueva Tarjeta del Distrito Federal (Spanish)". 

External links[edit]