Traveling by taxi in San Miguel
By Jade Arroyo
Taxis are one of the most common forms of transportation in San Miguel, used by locals and tourists alike. There are approximately 350 taxis in town. Because taxis here do not have meters, it is important to know how much you will be charged for the ride, so make sure to ask the driver when you get in.
Change is often very scarce in San Miguel, so do not expect the driver to have change for a bill larger than 200 pesos. Make sure to carry smaller bills and coins. A regular taxi can take up to four or five passengers.
Regulations and “Taxi Seguro” program
In order to provide better security for residents and visitors, the local government along with a new taxi drivers association has launched a program called “Taxi Seguro/Safe Taxi.” This program involves certifying the driver has no criminal record, a weekly drug test and a vehicle inspection. Look for the “Taxi Seguro” sticker and write down the number.
Some standard fares
After hailing a taxi in the street, a ride within the central area of town costs 30 pesos. Beyond Centro, the fees are higher: a trip from downtown to La Luciérnaga mall costs 35 to 40 pesos and to Los Frailes 40 to 60 pesos, depending on the section. A ride to Jardines costs about 60 pesos.
If you call for a cab the price goes up 10 pesos more. For a pick-up within Centro, the taxi will arrive in around five minutes; a cab can take 10 to 15 minutes to arrive outside of downtown. When you call to request a taxi, the operator will give you the taxi’s code number. Write this number down or memorize it so you know which taxi is yours in case others pass by.
If you are moving or need to transport a piece of furniture or larger objects you can ask for a truck taxi (ask for a taxi camioneta). The fee for these taxis is a little higher, because the driver often must help with loading and unloading and the truck uses more gas than a car. The standard fees run from 80 pesos to 150 pesos, depending on the distance and amount of cargo.
Other taxi services
Taxi companies also provide pick-up and drop-off service to and from the airport. The three-hour trip to the Mexico City airport costs 3,000 pesos, and the fare is 800 pesos to the León airport, which takes about one hour and a half. The fee includes the charges at casetas (tollbooths). It is advisable to book the service a day before or at least four or five hours in advance. The early morning is the best time for scheduling the trip.
You can also use a taxi for trips to adjacent towns. The taxi can also wait for you; each hour of waiting is 120 pesos extra, then you return to San Miguel at no extra charge (but you must arrange this first with the driver).
To go to Atotonilco or the hot springs, a cab ride costs 100 to 120 pesos. A trip to Guanajuato costs 500 pesos, to Querétaro 400 pesos, and to México City 2,700 pesos.
Two taxi companies you can call:
Radio Taxi Sanmiguelito: 152-0124, 152-0395
Doña Mary: 152-4570
San Miguel residents and users of taxis gave us their opinion on taxi service and taxi drivers.
Angelika Merkel, German, 70 years old, consultant, resident for 34 years
“I have been using Servitaxi service for a long time. They’ve always been really efficient and nice, but with the street service there is a new breed of young taxistas who try to charge more, like trying to get 40 pesos coming from Mega to Centro. As a customer you have to be firm and know the prices and also always have change and just give them the exact amount. During the morning I have had never a problem. On the later shift starting from 4 pm I have seen some creepy, shifty guys. I would suggest not taking a taxi from the street, but calling a service you trust at night.”
David Barajas, Mexican, 27 years old, culture promoter and curator
“San Miguel, being a tourist town, is more expensive than other places (for instance, Xalapa, where taxis are cheap and efficient). I don’t trust the taxis; they often take advantage of tourists by charging them more. About a month ago, I was driving my scooter and a taxi driving in the wrong lane hit me, damaging my scooter and causing me some minor trauma. He didn’t even stop.”
Yazmin Ramírez, Mexican, 28 years old, health shop worker
“I live far from work, so in order to go home from work when it gets too late for a bus I sometimes take a taxi. I’ve never had a bad experience, and I feel safe in taxis.”
Margarita Monreal, Mexican, 30 years old, librarian
“I come from a family of taxi drivers, and people often blame them for everything or assume they’re all the same, but that’s not the truth. What makeS the difference is whether they own the permit or just rent it, because an owner is responsible and caring. I drove my father’s taxi when I was at the university in my free time and people tend to be really rude and overly demanding. As a driver myself I was really cautious, and I advise people to be careful and always check the taxi’s number and the driver’s face.”