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The Pain in the Ass of Public Transport to Milpa Alta: A 10 Hour Journey

Published December 30, 2022 in Mexico - 0 Comments

Some say we gringos are sheltered from the real Mexico.

I agree in part with that.

Even though I always like visiting and living in areas where few to no gringos live within Mexico City, there's still always been parts of my experience sheltered from average Mexicans living in the same area.

For example, when I lived in Iztapalapa briefly, I never took public transportation anywhere within that part of the city except for the metro.

I've always taken the metro all my years here but never any combis or shit.

Anyway, while living in Milpa Alta, I was planning on moving out soon to an area called Colonia La Federal by the airport.

Given Milpa Alta has no metro or cablebus, I decided to not visit the apartments I was interested in and just choose one remotely for the day I was thinking of moving.

However, on one particular day, I had plans to see the MilpaBus in Milpa Alta as one last thing to do in the region but the bus ride was rescheduled for the following day.

So now I had literally nothing to do that day.

Free all day!

So I told my two potential landlords in La Federal -- who I had plans to do a Whatsapp video call to check out their apartments initially -- that I was actually going to stop by to see the rooms they had for rent.

Might as well with nothing else going on.

And I also figured that it'd be a cool way to figure out how to get to and from Milpa Alta by public transportation instead of taxis and ubers.

For, as I wrote here and in other articles, Milpa Alta is generally a pain in the ass to figure out how to get to or leave by public transportation when compared to most of the city.

So I got started on what ended up being a 10 hour trip.


Escaping Santa Ana

At the time, I was living in the town of Santa Ana of Milpa Alta.

In my one month there, I had seen buses take people to Santa Ana but, when asked, I was told these buses do not take you out of Santa Ana and you have to take a taxi to escape the town.

"Why the fuck can't they take people elsewhere? It's not like the buses stay here, do they? They got to go back to Villa Milpa Alta or wherever they came from. Why the fuck can't they take people out of Santa Ana and only to Santa Ana? What third world logic is this horseshit?"

My exact thoughts every fucking time I thought about it.

Who knows. Maybe I was lied to and there is a bus that'll take you out but I never fucking saw it. Asked one of the bus drivers and they said it doesn't happen. Who fucking knows.

I knew that ahead of time though so, on this specific day, I took a taxi to the Milpa Alta town of San Antonio Tecomitl.

Here's a picture of the ride over that I believe was taken in San Francisco. 

Perhaps that is considered cheating since I'm sure I could've found a bus to take me from Villa Milpa Alta to San Antonio Tecomitl.

But the distance between both towns isn't that great so I'm not cheating THAT much by using a taxi, am I?

I had to anyway! Santa Ana hates people who use public transportation!

Anyway, I get to San Antonio Tecomitl easy enough.

It took about 20 minutes to arrive from one point to the next.

From there, the plan is to get to Metro Tlahuac.

Arriving to Metro Tlahuac

In hindsight, perhaps I should've taken a taxi to San Pedro Atocpan of Milpa Alta and then take a bus from there to Metro Taxqueña.

I did that before and the bus ride is more direct. Took me like 2 hours though.

Anyway, I opted in this case to go for Metro Tlahuac like I said.

Most of the buses and combis I saw in San Antonio Tecomitl indicated that they were going there.

I got on a fairly comfortable bus.

I couldn't hear the bus driver though very clearly when asking how much the ride is with his music playing at full volume so I just put a 10 peso coin in the machine thinking it couldn't be much.

He told me "no change."

What the fuck? They're too third world to give me my change?

Whatever. It's only like 2 to 4 pesos for whatever I lost.

I'm sure the faggot is just some broke bitch who doesn't want to give me my change so he has a few extra pesos for his mistress tonight.

Thankfully, I found a seat anyhow on the bus and didn't have to stand around.

From what I remember, it ended up taking about an hour more or less for the bus to get to Metro Tlahuac.

The ride itself, like I said, was fairly comfortable and not bad at all.

The bus looked like it was being run from the city itself and not one of those run down combis or vehicles you see here and there in other parts of Latin America. It wasn't bad.

Waiting Forever at Metro Tlahuac

This is one of the more annoying parts of the trip.

Once you leave Metro Tlahuac, you'll go upstairs and then downstairs on the other side.

You'll notice some police officers guarding an exit point and, from what I saw, they even told one person that they can't leave the metro from that side and have to walk all the way around some distance to get to the same point.

Here's a picture of what I mean where you got those police in the back.

"Puerta Cerrada"

Yeah, you can't just walk those 5 steps. You got to walk like 100 steps to reach the same point.

Like I wrote here about how stupid people can be here sometimes with having some "formal" process of how to do things that makes no fucking sense.

"No Matthew no, you must understand. We are very EDUCADO and we have a process to do things and the process involves walking 95 more steps than necessary Matthew because having people walk down a strict path makes it look like we have a process and those with a process are very EDUCADO just look at how EDUCADO we are we got a process for how to walk 5 steps."

I just don't fucking get it.

Anyway, it didn't bother me too much because I wasn't thinking of leaving the area but I imagine that must be annoying for anyone looking to leave and catch a more informal looking bus that you see stopping by every so often past the police on that busy road.

Anyway, I began walking towards a space that had two lines of people waiting for a bus.

Each line would take you to a different point of the city.

One that'll take you to Metro Atlalico and the other to Metro Coyuya.

I figured I'd get on the Metro Atlalico option because I was confused at first and thought Coyuya was on the Metro 12 line and was really just trying to get on the fucking metro where I could more quickly  get to Colonia La Federal.

However, I asked some employee in the area a question that I forgot about but he tapped me on the shoulder when I got in line and recommended I get in the line for Coyuya.

"Why?" I asked.

And he explained that the line for Metro Atlalico doesn't drop you off at Atlalico but like 10 to 15 minutes walking distance away from that metro.

I didn't confirm if that was true and took his word for it.

Anyway, while in the line, I noticed some dumb things.

For one, the little screens they got are filthy fucking liars.

At first, the waiting distance was something like 3 minutes and 5 minutes for both lines and then jumped to over 20 minutes.

What the fuck.

The other thing too was that, once I got in line, I paid attention to the color coding of the signs for both lines.

The coyuya option was purple as you can see here.

Which made me excited because I thought "oh good, once at the metro, the trip will be almost done. Just got to get to Pantitlan and change lines to the yellow metro line where I'll be at Hangares soon."

But then I looked at my phone to see a pic I got of the metro lines and realized that sign was also a filthy fucking liar.

Coyuya isn't on the purple line. It's on the green line.

What the fuck.

In hindsight, I figured it must be the color coding for the metrobus and, after looking online now, I was right.

I'm not sure if Mexico City could just change the color coding for the metrobus where the bus stops that are also metro stops have the same color but who knows.

Would be more efficient right?

Finally, the bus arrived a little bit earlier than the 20 minute waiting period.

But then I found out it was to only drop people off and then park in front of us almost like it was taunting us.

"Haha I could pick you fuckers up but I'm not going to. I'm just going to sit here as a reminder of how I could do my job and pick you guys up but won't. Suck it."

Not long ago, I remember us getting ANOTHER bus that dropped people off but wouldn't pick anyone up.

Not sure if this was the photo of it or the other one I got but let's go with it.

Why won't these buses pick us up? Is this some way to fuck with us?

Consequently, a collective group of people -- including myself -- all let out a giant grunt of disappointment: 


Plenty of people in my line complaining about how the wait is too fucking long and "where is our bus?!"

You just know the administration behind the bus service purposefully sends buses to this area to give people the false hope that they are finally getting home.

New conspiracy theory just dropped.

Eventually, after what was actually more like 30 to 40 minutes, our bus finally fucking got there.

Thankfully, I got a seat.

And the ride continues.

Arriving to Coyuya

It was easily an hour but was probably longer as to when we managed to get from Metro Tlahuac to Metro Coyuya.

When we got there, I found myself confused at first because I was looking for the metro.

Some random dude was kind enough to show me where the entrance was and, even though I didn't ask for it, paid for my entrance with his metro card.

We made small talk.

And onto the metro finally.

From there, it was like I was in my old Mexico City again.


Let me tell  you -- Mexico City should be absolute dogshit without the metro.

God damn, it's a pain in the ass to get around without it.

I know people complain so much about the metro and all its faults. It has no shortage of those. But it really makes life here so much easier versus taking a bus everywhere. 

Pretty smooth sailing anyhow towards Metro Hangares.

Got to Metro Pantitlan and, as I wrote here, found it a little bit confusing as to where the next train would be.

They don't do a good job at marking everything in that metro station. It really does be like a labyrinth sometimes.

Though they did, as you can see here, have a pretty good view of the sunset.

Almost like the universe telling me "my son, you completed your journey."

But, despite that, I found my way to Hangares easy enough.

Returning to Milpa Alta

Even though it's the same path, returning to Milpa Alta proved to be different than escaping Milpa Alta.

For more information on my time apartment hunting in Colonia la Federal, check out this article here and skip to the bit that talks about that.

Anyway, once I saw both apartments, I went back home.

I left Milpa Alta sometime past 2 PM and got to Colonia la Federal sometimes past 6 PM.

Four fucking hours.

Finished seeing all the apartments sometime past 7 PM.

The trip back actually is easier to Milpa Alta then the trip out of Milpa Alta.

As with everything, leaving Milpa Alta is always a massive pain in the ass.

After returning to Hangares anyhow, I took the metro to Constitucion 1917.

Way past Coyuya because it doesn't make sense to take a bus from there when Constitucion 1917 is closer to Metro Tlahuac.

Would've been nice to find a bus that could've taken me to Constitucion 1917 on the trip leaving Milpa Alta to La Federal but the two bus options were not going there.

Honestly, why the fuck not? To connect people to the metro more quickly would make sense, no?

Anyway, I'm sure it has to do with simply connecting people along certain routes that lost their metro access when Line 12 collapsed.

Or at least I think that must be the logic. If not, what logic are they used?


So, as I said, I went to Constitucion 1917 first and it was smooth sailing.

From there, given that Constitucion 1917 has plenty of public transportation options connected to it, I was sure I could find something to Tlahuac.

And I was right.

There was one bus that would go there.

Unfortunately, just like my time in Metro Tlahuac on the way to La Federal, there was a waiting period.

As I wrote in this article here, Mexicans LOVE waiting for shit.

It's built into their DNA.

OK, they probably don't love it. They probably hate it as much as I do.

But, for whatever butt fuck reason, they seem to enforce a waiting period into EVERYTHING down here.

So we're waiting for the bus to go and we got PLENTY of people in line.

Enough to fill up the damn bus.

We're ready, big boss! Got all the people you need!

But, as I always say mockingly, "en Mexico HAY QUE ESPERAR!!!!!"

Why esperar?

Because we got retards behind the wheel.

The driver -- some fat fuck -- was sitting behind the wheel looking at his phone for an easy 40 minutes.

We got plenty of people for him. We could go now.

But he has to finish looking at his Mia Khalifa porn, don't you know?

And I'm just standing there shaking my head thinking "you fat sack of shit, cmon already! We got enough people! What are we waiting for? You learning how to drive are yeah? Too down syndrome to realize how to start the bus? Bit difficult is it for yeah?"

I'm tired as fuck. I want to go home. We got the people to fill the bus up completely. All ready!

And here is our bus driver -- now looking at midget trans porn -- that is making us wait longer.


Why esperar?

Who the fuck knows.

Just because.

As I always say, it's built into society down here.

It always seems like everything goes at a much slower pace down here for no good reason. Time inefficiency.

I did get a nice picture anyhow while waiting of this mural.

Anyway, the dude eventually puts his phone down and starts the bus.

And off we go!

Arriving to San Antonio Tecomitl

We got to Metro Tlahuac without problem. The drive wasn't bad. Not much traffic. Passed a lot of Christmas events in the streets.

From there, I found a smaller bus to take us to San Antonio Tecomitl.

Unlike the first bus driver, this one wasn't too busy looking at Paraguayan Lesbian porn so he started the ride up a bit quicker.

No long waiting time with this one.

Before we did get going though, some people got onto the bus to sell their snacks.

They finished selling to whoever and off we went.

This bus wasn't just stopping at San Antonio Tecomitl but seemed to be going as far as Mixquic from what I understood.

Pretty far away.

Here's a picture of the ride along the way of some Christmas event somewhere in Tlahuac.

Anyway, he drops me off at San Antonio Tecomitl.

And then the next struggle begins.

If it wasn't for this struggle, I probably would've gotten home in 3 hours and whatever minutes instead of 4 hours.

The struggle?

Getting a taxi.

In hindsight, I should've taken the first combi I saw in San Antonio that was advertising a trip to Villa Milpa Alta as they have no shortage of taxis.

In San Antonio Tecomitl, I wouldn't think that it'd be a pain in the ass to get a taxi.

It's not like other towns of Milpa Alta such as San Bartolome or San Lorenzo. The place isn't as rural as them and taxis are more common in San Antonio.

But, for that night, taxis were not my friend.

For one, there was some big event happening for Christmas in the center of San Antonio Tecomitl and no shortage of people needing a taxi.

It almost became a battle amongst us to see who can get a taxi to stop for us instead of the others.

With people trying to cut in line in front of others by walking some distance past them to be the first one to get a taxi and then people realizing that and trying to walk past them so the taxi would see THEM first instead of the other people waiting.

I figured to not play that game as I'm not going to just keep competing with others to walk however far down the road to be the first one a taxi sees.

Eventually, I did get my hands on a taxi but I asked "you use the meter, right?"

Fatass has a shit eating grin going "nooooo."

And he wants to charge me 500 pesos to go to Santa Ana even though it was only 45 pesos to get to San Antonio Tecomitl from Santa Ana that same day.

I get prices can be higher at night but they're not that expensive.

And, for those who don't know, taxis in Milpa Alta all seem to agree that the meter doesn't exist during night time.

During the day? Most use the meter (outside of an occasional few).

During the night? Most will refuse to use it in my experience.

So you end up going back to "third world negotiations" that you find common with taxi drivers in most of Latin America from my experience years ago.

Where the motherfucker sees your white gringo ass and wants 10x the price.

So I try my luck on the next taxi and he also won't use the meter. He won't even tell me what the price will be. "We'll find out when we get there" is what he tells me.

What the fuck.

So I ignore his ass and wait for the next.

I ended up crossing the street away from the huge crowd of people that, as I said, were in competition to walk past each other to be the first one a taxi sees coming from one direction.

But I noticed that, across the street, you could be by a certain corner where nobody else was and there were taxis coming from the other direction.

So I did that and finally found a taxi.

Dude used a meter also.

Was some young kid that could've been in his 20s and was quite nice.

Made small talk.

As always, he was curious about why I, as a foreigner, was living here.

We got home anyway to my place in Santa Ana quickly enough.

Damage was 70 pesos according to the meter.

I gave him a little tip of 10 pesos.

And that was that.

Ended up getting home finally on another 4 hour trip from La Federal.

An easy 10 hours of my life that day gone with 8 of it traveling back and forth to Milpa Alta.

Final Thoughts

God damn, that was exhausting as fuck and annoying as hell.

The inefficiency in the public transportation system.

The long ass waiting times where we just wait for no reason.

Folks trying to gringo price my ass into oblivion.

Before that trip, I never believed anyone when someone said "it can take 3 hours to get from one point of the city to the next."

Only because I took the metro everywhere religiously and, if you were to go from one end to the next like Metro CU to Indios Verdes, it'd take 45 to 55 minutes roughly if the metro wasn't fucking up.

Then, if you wanted, you could take the cablebus to Cablebus Cuautepec and arrive in another 30 minutes.

If we assume a 10 minute walk to get to Metro CU (assuming you live in Pedregal de Santo Domingo), then you are talking a trip from a far southern end to a far northern end in about 145 minutes.

And who the fuck normally would take that trip anyhow?

What sane people would have a reason for going from CU to Cuautepec unless they're a deranged gringo wanting to visit obscure areas?

Any deranged gringos here? None that I see!

...I also don't own a mirror.

Still, I was wrong.

Dead ass wrong.

All because I always have used the metro and just didn't know how truly shit public transportation can be in parts of the city that don't have the metro.

It can actually take you 4 hours just to get from one part of the city to the next.

And we are talking about -- by the way -- Milpa Alta to la Federal.

That's not even one end of the city to the end.

On that day traveling to La Federal, I wondered how much time would it take then using public transportation to get to the northern end of the city by Cuautepec?

Maybe another 20 minutes on the metro since it'd be another 8 metro stations to get through. Then 30 minutes on the cablebus to cablebus Cuautepec. Then you'd have to find a way to get from that cablebus to say Malacates.

Maybe if we cheated a little and took a taxi from Cablebus Cuautepec to Malacates, it'd be another 30 minutes perhaps?

I'm not familiar with public transportation past Cablebus Cuautepec but I have taken taxis up there.

So, using a taxi by that point, you are talking another hour and 20 minutes. Let's say hour and thirty minutes in case you can't find a taxi too quickly once in Cuautepec.

That means 5 and a half hours to get from Milpa Alta to Malacates of Cuautepec at the very least if you are using public transportation for basically 99% of the trip.

Someday I need to do such a trip. Only when I'm feeling crazy.

Out of curiosity, if you wanted to just skip the public transportation, Uber says it'd take you 2 hours to do that same trip from Santa Ana to Malacates.

To get to la Federal, it was about an hour and a half.

Granted, I'm sure it changes depending on the hour. It's 4:40 AM as I type this and I doubt you have any traffic.

So maybe add another hour to both trips by Uber during normal hour with traffic.

Finally, my hats off anyhow to anybody in Mexico -- local or foreigner -- that has to regularly use the public transportation that isn't the metro to get to the work.

Even the metro can be a pain and I know that from experience because I use it a lot. Shit can fuck up in the metro also.

But to regularly commute some real distance using the buses and combis?

God no.

Granted, I'm sure few people are actually commuting from Milpa Alta to some place far away like La Federal everyday for work.


Well, some people probably are.

OK, I doubt it if since it takes 7 to 8 hours roundtrip. With 8 to 10 hour working days, they ain't sleeping at all except maybe 3 hours a day. So probably most people don't have a commute that bad.


If so, I'd more than gladly buy them a beer.

No. I'm serious. I'll buy you a beer.

Prove to me you are commuting to work 7 hours roundtrip in public transportation and you got a beer waiting for you.

Only Budweiser though. We don't do no sissy, watered down Mexican beers around here, boy.

Seriously though, the trip itself also reflects one last major point: the difference in the gringo experience from the average local Mexican experience.

A lot of gringos actually don't realize the extent to which life in Latin America isn't as nice as they think it is.

For us, it obviously is. Even for people like me who choose to live in places like Iztapalapa or Milpa Alta because I still earn USD, don't have to commute daily to a local job that pays 400 bucks a month and can always choose to leave those areas for Condesa again if I ever wanted to on a whim.

But, for a local who HAS to commute (even if the commute isn't as extreme as 8 hours roundtrip) and who doesn't have a metro nearby, life isn't going to be as fun as what the gringo has working from his laptop near Parque Mexico.

Anyway, that's enough "public transportation headaches" for me.

I'll gladly stick to just riding the metro now where I don't feel like punching holes in the wall from 8 hour trips.

If you got anything to add though, drop a comment below.

And follow my Twitter here.

Thanks for reading.

Best regards,


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