Getting Around Mexico City – Peseros

Quite possibly the most essential transport device in the city – the pesero. Aka the microbus, and translated into English….Green Square Tins on Wheels That May Or May Not Get There. Awww, that’s harsh really! Admittedly, most of them have engines that sound ready to explode, gears that grind like a drill ploughing through granite and a vast number of other unexplained but equally worrisome noises/explosions/banging. And I have been on a couple of peseros now when an axle has not entirely unexpectedly given way.

But somehow, most of the time, they keep going. They get you pretty much anywhere, although getting to grips with the routes available is a serious challenge. It’s ok if your destination in also the peseros final stop (the place will be on a sign at the front of the bus) but otherwise you’ll need a bit of Spanish. As for the fares – dirt cheap, as you’d expect. Most local journeys are 2 and a half pesos, rising to 3 pesos for a medium journey. The max fare is 3 pesos.

But the three most amusing aspects of pesero travel – firstly, rush hour. When all 20ish seats are taken, and there are still another 30 people wanting to get somewhere…yep, there are people hanging out of the doors desperately gripping onto a handle somewhere. Secondly, if you’re standing you don’t want to be taller than 5’10” either. Mexicans are not a giant people and they build things accordingly! I am 6’2″ and if I chopped my head off, my neck would still be pressed against the roof. If I get a seat I’m not likely to give it up….nothing short of a heavily pregnant woman who’s waters have just broken will even cause a twinge of guilt, let alone a gentlemanly streak strong enough to encourage me to offer her my place.

And lastly, the drivers themselves. They come in just two models. The child drivers about 14 or 15 years old, who enjoy seeing how far they can get their pesero to lean and ride on two wheels around corners. It’s a scary trip, but quick! Alternatively you’ll find yourself driven by some old guy listening to 60’s Mexican music, and refusing to top 20mph….

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