Verditos (the green VW bugs that serve as taxis in Mexico City) enjoy dubious status around the Districto Federal. Also known as vochos, they’ve earned an unfortunate reputation as vehicles for muggings, kidnappings, and general mistreatment of Mexicans and foreigners alike.
Despite the risks involved, if you’re a savvy traveler, you can still manage to catch a safe ride in a vocho. Here are some tips, courtesy of long-time Mexico City resident Chancho Volador:
1. If you can, try to take a vocho that has just dropped someone off and with a driver who’s at least 70 (don’t laugh – it increases your chances of running away in case of trouble).
2. Preferably take a green taxi if you know where you’re going and that your destination is safe. Be aware of the streets the driver takes – you don’t want to end up in a blind alley in Azcapotzalco in a vocho.
3. Make sure the cab has a visible number (written in big black letters on the car) and the driver displays a license (showing his/her photo and ID details).
4. Vochos with an “S” number plate – “S” meaning “sitio” – are generally safe – but will not stop for you in the street. Get them at a taxi stand or call ahead.
I wonder how a taxi adventure would play out in a vocho? I’d like to think I’d be able to persuade a taxista to take me to his favorite taco instead of emptying my wallet…