AOL did a video on my life (!!!) - The kind folks over at AOL/Huffington Post are doing a series on young people in Los Angeles doing cool things with their lives. For some reason they decid...
Wednesday, July 8, 2009
Best Taxis in Latin America:D.F.(Mexico City)
Let me introduce you to Juan Rodrigo Barba Pena,a Mexico City tourist taxi service provider.Rodrigo was our driver and became our friend during a recent trip to D.F.After a negative experience trying to get a taxi at the Volaris airline station in Santa Fe when we got in we were perturbed.Not a good way to start the trip.Rodrigo just happened to be parked outside the station after we quickly exited the other taxistas car, and things just got better from then on.Gracias, Rodrigo!!
You know, there is very little I worry about when traveling in Mexico lindo.False and sensational news stories don't phase this traveler. But, taxis are another story.I've never had a problem, but I always check out my drivers and never hesitate to bail when I don't like something about the driver or service.This may be the best information I could ever give you regarding travel in any city, beyond the food stalls, legendary dives, and mythical drink.Taxis are a concern in Mexico City, and often travelers are robbed, beaten, or worse.For some the uncertainty can be unnerving, after reading so many bad experiences.Even being overcharged can lessen the joys of your experience in perhaps the greatest food and culture show on Earth.
But, never fear, Rodrigo is legit, and a travelers best friend.He is reasonable, to the point you will want to pay more as you feel you are taking advantage of him.On this trip we used Rodrigo's services to go to Teotihuacan, he even walked to the top of the Pyramid of the Sun with us.We had fun laughing and talking with this caballero.Upon returning to the Toluca airport he drove us in style, stopping at the food stalls at La Marquesa where we shared a magnificent meal.
Rodrigo is a registered tourist taxi driver that pays his dues to the government, and specializes in tourism.Taxis on the street is a risk.Always have the hotel or restaurant call you a radio taxi, more expensive but safe.Or, ask the hotel or restaurant to hail a reliable cab.While leaving La Pata Negra bar in Condessa one night I asked the security guy if the taxis were cool, he said they are the ones that are parked there every day.Rodrigo also told us that legitimate taxis have license plates that start with and A or a B, followed by 5 numbers.These are official taxis.Here are three taxis with official plates, and when you are alone and can't have a taxi called, go with these taxis.
Taxis that don't have these plates are illegal, or unofficial, as this one pictured below.
No official plates?No mames guey!
I told Rodrigo that when in doubt I always go with a viejito(little old man).He agreed.The old men don't involve themselves in any schemes or scams, and are usually very chatty and pleasant.The younger ones,watch out,son escandalosos!! Always pay attention to the meters, make sure it's on and that the proper rate is being used.They have day, night,airport, and other special rates.
1)official plates start with an A or B, then 5 digits.
2)If you find a good driver(like Rodrigo), get his number and you will have a better experience.
3)when in doubt, trust an old man to drive you
4)let the hotel, restaurant, bar, etc., get you a cab
5)make sure the meter is on and observe the rate
Rodrigo gets a streetgourmetla endorsement as the official cab driver when I'm in D.F.Give him a call when you are planning travel:airport service, tourism, call him to pick you up 24/7 from a bar or restaurant, if he's not available he'll refer you to another reliable and safe driver.
Juan Rodrigo Barba Pena