The Guadalajara Subway | Mexico | Living in Mexico

The Guadalajara Subway

Just when I get to thinking how primitive Mexico is, I get handed a surprise. Here's one: Guadalajara has a subway. Just like any other major city of four million people.

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It has nice, modern stations, complete with the prerequisite graffiti.

Much of Guadalajara lies inside the Anillo Periférico—the peripheral ring highway. The subway consists of two lines. Line One runs through the center of the city, connecting to the periférico in the north and the south. Line Two begins at Line One in the center and runs east almost all of the way to the periférico. So the whole system looks like a "T" laid on its side.

It really doesn't go anyplace gringo tourists would like to go: neither Zapopan nor Tonolá nor Tlaquepaque. But it gets heavy use, so it must go where lots of tapatios (Guadalajara residents) want to go.

System access is by tokens.

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About the size of a nickel, they have three deep grooves stamped into each side. The token slot on the turnstiles have teeth that match the grooves, making use of slugs virtually impossible.

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It's a typically inventive Mexican solution for dealing with typically inventive Mexicans who circumvent regulations. They know their own.

The subway was always crowded when I used it.

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Although trains ran frequently, crowds quickly formed along the platforms. The crush getting off and on would be familiar to any New Yorker or Tokyo-ite.

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Tokens, not magnetic stripe tickets. Old-fashioned trains. Bolted rails, not welded. So it's not up there with BART or the Paris Metro.

But a token costs four pesos—36 cents. I'll take the Guadalajara deal anytime, thanks.
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