Folium: Mexico City is Phasing Out the Iconic VW Taxis

Mexico City Taxis via Wikimedia Commons

Mexico City Taxis via Wikimedia Commons

Folium: Mexico City is Phasing Out the Iconic VW Taxis via USA Today

As reported by USA Today earlier in March, Mexico City will be now phasing out the iconic green and white VW taxis from service starting this year!

If you ever catch any of the major travel shows on The Travel Channel, Food Network, or others, it won’t take you long to see hundreds of these old-model VW Beetles swarming the streets around the zócalo. Since these VW Beetles were made in Mexico, it was a smart choice to prepare fleets of these vehicles to help organize the growing chaos of Mexico’s largest city. In theory, they were to utilize the “cleanest” petrol and provide a high MPG option while curbing a growing pollution problem in the central valley. However, due to exploding populations in the inner city, this really didn’t solve the problem the way it was supposed to.

Now, with the changing times in Mexico, one of the largest concerns for citizens and tourists is safety and security.

For safety reasons, Mexico City began mandating four-door taxis in 2003. So the Beetles that entered service in 2002 are the last to operate as cabs. Most car models are limited by the city to eight years of service as taxis, but the Bug was allowed a 10-year run – and that ends with 2012.

Despite their role as icons, the VW taxis have never won plaudits for comfort. Drivers remove the front passenger seat so customers can get in more easily, leaving only the ungenerous back seat.

And with no front seat, there is little to stop the passenger from being thrown forward in a mishap, Ramirez noted.

“If they slammed on the brakes and you weren’t wearing a seat belt, you wound up in the windshield,” he said. “The government mandated four-door cars, with trunks, to ensure passengers’ safety.” – USA Today

Consider it another sign of the times, the world coming to a change. I can remember my white-knuckle rides through Mexico City traffic in VW taxis, and I’ll consider it an experience worth having in my lifetime.

How about any of you? Have you ever taken a Mexican VW taxi before? Share your experiences in the comments below!