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Underground in Mexico City.

In a city replete with surprises, Mexico City's subway system is one of the best. Clean, efficient, and costing about a dime, the Metro provides welcome relief from the traffic-clogged arteries aboverground.

Throughout the system, you'll find intriguing samples of Mexican history and archeology, making a subway trip more than just a quick way to get from A to B.

The Metro covers the length and breadth of Mexico City, connecting shopping and business districts, parks, and arts centers. Free maps are available at the information booth at each stop; you can also get one at any airline counter at the Mexico City airport.

Buy your ticket at the Metro station ticket booth, and insert it into the slot at the turnstile before passing through. Once inside, you'll find two large signs that indicate the destination of the line in either direction. Check your map to see which direction includes your stop, then follow the sign to the appropriate platform. The stops are color-coded and marked with both the stop's name and a symbol, so they're easy to find. Transfer lines are marked by the word correspondencia.

Trips average 2 minutes between stations. The system operates from 6 A.M. to midnight daily. The best time to ride is between 10 and 4. If you must ride during rush hours--from 8 to 10 and 4 to 7--note that certain lines offer special cars for women and children.

A recently completed line now connects the airport with downtown in just minutes, but only hand luggage may be brought on board. ?As in any large city, it's important to keep a close watch on personal belongings. Nevertheless, the system is well patrolled and safe.

The gleaming marble and onyx stations are well lit and impeccably clean. Notable among them is the Zocalo station in the heart of the city, where changing displays include archeological finds, indigenous costumes, and fascinating old photographs of the downtown area. Models depict the central plaza during three important eras: the Aztec period, when the city was known as Tenochtitlan; the colonial period; and the 2-th century.

Aboveground at the Zocalo, you'll find an archeological display of ruins unearthed during the subway's excavation. Lines had to be rerouted to avoid destroying these underground treasures.
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Date:Sep 1, 1991
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