Gringo : Tourist Information [Text] : Transportation

Taxis -- de Ruta y Especial.

  1. Difference Ruta/Especial
  2. Ruta Fares
  3. Hours of Service.
  4. Sardinas.
  5. Various Routes.
  6. Taxis vs. Busses.

  1. Difference between Route Taxis and Especial Taxis.
  2. Taxis especiales :

    What most gringos say is a taxi -- one you hire to take you to a specific place -- is here called a "special" taxi, un taxi especial. These are the guys who flock around you after you emerge from the pedestrian corridor walking into Mexico/Tijuana from San Ysidro. There you are at the sea of taxis beside the island of tacos. "Taxi, amigo?" they ask, offering to whisk you away to Revolution Avenue for only five or seven dollars. These are also the guys on every corner of Revolution Avenue, waiting to whisk you back to the border or other pLaCeS....

    From the border you can go to the beach -- Playas de Tijuana -- for maybe ten dollars, or Rosarito for twenty. Anywhere else in town from five dollars AND on up, depending on the distance. CECUT and Plaza Rio should be only five. Of course, remember that prices change (upwards) as time goes by! And, paisans, don't forget to tip if the driver's good.

    If you want to get to an exact place, with a minimum of trouble and crowding, and don't mind paying, un taxi especial is the way to go. (One of my best friends here, and in fact the first I made, back in March of 1999, was a taxista especial, who worked nights from in front of Plaza Viva Tijuana on the pedestrian route from the border to downtown. Last I heard he had changed to a seafood restaurant somewhere along Matamoros boulevard.)

    Los taxis de ruta :

    But when a Mexican in Tijuana says the word "taxi" or talks about riding in "los taxis," he or she usually does NOT mean an especial. They are talking about the "route taxis" -- los taxis de ruta.

    Taxis de ruta are fleets of sedans and station wagons (the wagons can hold two or three more passengers than a sedan). They run on set routes all over town. Every route has its name and colors (some colors duplicate in different routes -- ojo!). Most -- not all -- routes radiate from downtown Tijuana ("el centro") and reach into the various suburbs and colonias of this sprawling city. If you walk around downtown and see lines of people waiting on different blocks to crowd into lines of taxis, well, you've just seen a route-taxi boarding zone. There are dozens of these boarding spots within a block or two of Revolution.

    Taxis in each route ("ruta") are painted with a particular color scheme, and each route can be called by two names: its destination and/or its colors. For example, to get to his girlfriend Maria's house in La Mesa, Gringo Michael takes the Red & Blacks -- los rojo y negros (or more simply "the reds" -- los rojos) -- which leave from 4th and Constitution and run out "the boulevard" (Agua Caliente Blvd., which then changes its name to Diaz Ordaz Blvd.) to La Mesa, 5 & 10, ending up at Presa or Clinica 27. These are most often referred to as los rojos.

    Another line which Michael used to take when he lived in Playas, the cream & yellow taxis to the beaches, are most often referred to by their destination: taxis a las playas.

    Confused? Email us

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  3. Fares
  4. Ah yes, the cost. Here is where the taxi de ruta wins hands down over the especial. Most rutas are seven and a half pesos in the daytime, and more after nine or ten at night.

    EXCEPT: if you can't get a taxi filled with paying customers, you will have to all agree to pay more. When Michael first moved to Tijuana, he lived at the beach and came home late from work, ten, eleven, even twelve midnight. If there were only three or four riders for the beach, well, they would each have to pay ten, fifteen, sometimes twenty pesos apiece.

    EXCEPT #2: Longer routes like Rosarito (from Madero between Third and Fourth) charge more than a dollar.

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  5. Hours of Service.
  6. Depending on demand and profitibility and custom, the taxi co-ops run many hours; some go all night and all day.

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  7. Taxis de Sardinas (?!)
  8. Well, you should be able to imagine this: a typical American station wagon, front seat, back seat, and tailgate. In the front, the driver and two passengers. In the back seat three, or often, four passengers crammed in tight. In the back/tail, two or three passengers. Add in peoples' bags and boxes, and voila! A Sardine Taxi -- un taxi de sardinas.

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  9. Various Routes.
  10. There are too many ruta-taxi routes to put on one page. And your best bet is to find out for yourself, or from someone, like us, who can find out for you and email you or write it here. But, for starters, just for example's sake, consider these:

    Tijuanenses: Please SEND US your Favorite TAXI routes. We want to post as many as possible.

    If I tell you there are hundreds of others, would you believe it? Well, hundreds of other taxis. Thousands. On dozens of routes.

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  11. Taxis vs. Busses.
  12. Why take a taxi de ruta instead of a bus? Good question. Multiple answers. Michael sometimes takes the bus, sometimes takes the taxi. He tells us that his reasons, and reasons his friends tell him, are as follows.

    Busses usually aren't as crowded -- except at rush hour. That's why he will take the bus. Well, that and it's easier to read or write on a bus. And he & Dano always be readin'n'scribblin' yes.

    But then, taxis are usually faster, and there are more of them. Since they are smaller they can manouver more quickly through that famous Tijuana traffic, and they don't stop unless someone wants to get on or off (same as a bus, but with fewer seats, fewer stops, eh?).

    The price difference is only one and a half pesos (Mexican), like fifteen cents (busses are five-and-a-half pesos, most route taxis cost seven pesos) WATCH OUT PRICES ARE ALWAYS CHANGING!!!!! Except late at night, when taxis cost more. But there are no busses running late at night.

    Michael says repeat that: There Are NO Busses Running Late at Night. Not all route taxis run 24 hours, but some do, if they can get a car full -- otherwise you pay more.

    But the chief reason is speed, and the vast number of routes that the taxis de ruta run.

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