Parking in Mexico City

Information about parking in Mexico City, with details of parking regulations, parking meters, residential parking permits, and parking fines...

Parking policy in Mexico City is set by the Government of the Federal District. Responsibility for implementation of this policy is shared between the Federal District Government and the 16 local Municipalities (Delegaciones). The Municipalities are responsible for deciding, in consultation with their local Citizens' Committees, which parts of the city should be metered; the Federal District Government is responsible for installing and maintaining parking meters, compliance and policing, the administration of parking fines, vehicle removal and the provision and operation of vehicle pounds.

Valet parking is common in the city, in addition to which many businesses, shops and amenities (such as restaurants) maintain their own private parking spaces for customers.

Many plots of vacant land are used to provide local parking, with costs varying depending on location, the amount of time the car will remain parked, and the availability of other parking options locally. It is often necessary to leave the car keys with the operators of these private parking lots and let them park the car, as in order to fit in as many cars as possible they will often park the cars several rows deep and need to be able to move other vehicles if one which is blocked in needs to leave.

Metered Parking

There are a number of areas with metered parking in Mexico City, including in Condesa and Polanco, with plans to expand the areas covered. These parking meters (parquímetros), operated by ecoParq, help to control parking and reduce traffic as well as raise revenue.

Metered zones are well marked, with white lines in the road indicating where cars should park. It is an offense not to park within the painted boxes. The hours of operation and restrictions vary, but are clearly marked on the meters and signs. These are generally Monday to Friday from 08:00-20:00, although some areas also require drivers to pay on Saturdays, and others have restrictions in place until 01:00. The maximum length of time a car may park in one of these spaces also varies from area to area.

Paying for metered parking

Parking is paid for either at individual meters (Parquímetro monoespacio) where available, or at ticket machines (Parquímetro multiespacio) in the street. Individual meters must show credit as long as the car is parked, and they only accept coins. It is permissible to use any unused time on a meter. Where there is a nearby ticket machine (these are increasingly common in metered areas) tickets must be paid and displayed visibly on the driver's side of the dashboard. These machines accept coins, and some also accept credit cards.

Vehicles without a valid parking ticket or where the individual meter shows expired credit may be clamped, and towed away if the driver does not return within two hours. Instructions (in Spanish) on the meters explain what the driver needs to do either to have the car unclamped or to collect it from the pound. The fixed fee fine for unclamping may be paid at a number of authorized outlets, including convenience shops and supermarkets.

Permits (permiso renovable para residentes) are available free of charge to residents without private parking in areas where meters are in place. Applications must be submitted in person by the owner of the property at the ecoParq office. Appointments can be booked online.

  • At: Insurgentes Centro 149, Col. San Rafael
  • Find out more about the parking permit (in Spanish)

Parking fines and sanctions (clamping, towing away, impounding) are subcontracted to private sector companies. The number to call to find where the vehicle has been towed to is indicated on ticket machines or on the wheel clamp (inmovilizador).

Parking Regulations

In areas where metered parking is not available, the following rules generally apply:

  • Vehicles must not park on a street corner, pedestrian crossing or on the sidewalk
  • A vehicle must not prevent other vehicles from entering and exiting areas they need to access; for example, driveways, garages
  • Vehicles may not park where there is a No Parking sign. This is an E in a red circle with a diagonal line through it
  • Vehicles must park in the direction of traffic

Illegally parked vehicles may be towed away. Vehicles are only released once a fine has been paid. To find out where the car has been towed to, try to find a police officer who may know where the local pound is, or alternatively contact Locatel (55 5658 1111).

Although illegal, it is common practice for franeleros to control street parking in non-metered areas. They offer to help drivers find spaces and to look after the vehicle, in return for a fee. Practices such as reserving spaces which would otherwise be available for parking with rubbish bins, flowerpots or bricks, and only removing them when they allow you to park, are common. Some people leave their keys with franeleros to allow them to move cars as required; this practice is not advisable.