The Mexico City Metro Map Has Gone Viral After Someone Published A Version Of It In English
Mexico City has one of the most used transportation systems in the world – more than 4.5 million people use it every single day. And it’s a big system too! It spans some 140 miles and has 195 stations. That’s impressive.
In tourist guides, the Metro is often recommended as the best way to skip the city’s notorious traffic.
But Mexico City’s Metro is in the news now for a totally different reason – its map. Or more specifically, the English translation of the system’s map.
It all started when a map of the CDMX Metro (in English) started making its rounds on Twitter.
A map of the network of 12 lines translated into English began to circulate on Twitter, and for non-Spanish speaking foreigners, it seemed like a great idea. Now they’d be able to better understand the map.
But it hasn’t quite worked out that way because for many the translations are far off.
The names of metro stations are often historical in nature, highlighting people, places, and events in Mexican history. There are stations commemorating aspects of the Mexican Revolution, the nation’s Indigenous history, the country’s advances in science, medicine, and sports.
Even some Mexicans appreciated the map in English because they had never been able to easily translate the Nahuatl words into English.
Words like Tacubaya (where the water is gathered) and Chapultepec (Grasshopper Hill) have their origins in the ancient language of Nahuatl.
Few people also realize that Mexico City is home to one of the world’s few metro systems that have corresponding icons for every station.
Each station is identified by a minimalist logo, first designed by Lance Wyman, who had also designed the logo for the 1968 Mexico Olympics.
Logos are generally related to the name of the station or the area around it. At the time of Line 1’s opening, Mexico’s illiteracy rate was high. In fact, in 1960, 38% of Mexicans over the age of five were illiterate and only 5.6% of Mexicans over the age of six had completed more than six years of school.
Since one-third of the Mexican population could not read or write and most of the rest had not completed high school, it was thought that people would find it easier to guide themselves with a system based on colors and visual signs.
Although the icon system was designed with the illiterate in mind, it’s also a huge help to non-Spanish speaking visitors to the city.
That system of icons and colors carries over to today. Visitors to city often remark on how easy it is to navigate the Metro system because of it.
The CDMX Metro also prides itself on being inclusive of all Mexicans.
Mexico City, despite being in a traditional and conservative country, takes its Pride seriously.
Though, to be clear, the CDMX Metro isn’t always so cool…
In fact, it can be a pretty major nightmare for the millions of people who use the system each and every day.
It seems like every day there is a warning tweeted out about this line being delayed or that station being overcrowded.