May 16, 2013 · , ,

How To Rock The Public Transportation in Buenos Aires

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public transportation

Buenos Aires, like any big city, has its ins and outs in its public transport system, but once you get to know them, it’s not difficult at all to get around town like a pro.

TAXI
This is the most expensive way to get around the city but it’s definitely the most convenient. The fare has been going up double digit in percentage almost every half year, so I am going to skip the soon-to-be obsolete exact numbers but here are a few general things to remember:

– There are 2 rates: a Day rate (6am – 10pm) and a Night rate (10pm – 6am). That means, the starting fare and the increment of each increase depends on when you take the taxi.

– If you call a taxi to pick you up at a certain point at a certain time, this service now costs a few pesos extra. It’ll be added to your final fare.

– You can wave down a cab pretty much anywhere in the city, there’s technically no ‘No Stop’ zone. However, I’d highly recommend you to assess your surroundings first and remember, ONLY wave down the taxi from the right hand side of the road, or they may not stop for you (it’s a safety concern for the taxi driver).

– It’s always a good idea to have some change when you want to take a taxi, rather than pay with a AR$100, to avoid inconveniences like the taxi driver doesn’t have enough change when you pay.

SUBTE (SUBWAY)
The Subte system in Buenos Aires is very straightforward and it’s very easy to understand. Buenos-Aires-Subway-undergroundCurrently we have 5 lines: Line A (light blue), B (red), C (navy blue), D (green), E (purple) and H (yellow). The network is gradually growing larger and more interconnected as various extensions, like Line E and H currently, are underway. Tips:

– You need to buy ticket to take the subway and you can buy them at the boletería (ticket booth) which are at every station. You can buy individual trip or multiple ones. These tickets are simply made of paper with a magnetic strip, and are very flimsy. A little crease or unintentional fold would damage the strip and won´t work anymore, so remember handle them with care. Alternatively, you could get yourself a SUBE card if you are in town for at least a few weeks.

– Subte closes quite early when you consider Buenos Aires has such an active night life, where restaurants don´t open for dinner until 8PM or clubs aren´t in full swing until 3AM. Subte starts at 5am (8am on Sundays and holidays), and stops running around 10pm-11pm depending on which day and which stop you are at.

COLECTIVOS (BUSES)
Given there are more than 340 different bus lines in the city, the bus network is very extensive. You can pretty much find a bus going from and to every corner in Buenos Aires city. The only thing you need is to put in some time to learn how to take the bus and put that into practice. It might seem daunting in the beginning but once you have done it a few times, you’ll get the hang of it in no time. Tips:

– Get a Guia T, which is THE bus map and you can get it at any newspaper stand. The guide has instructions showing you how to use it, but you can also check out our step by step, more in-depth ‘How to read the Guia T‘ guide here. There are also different websites that can help you figure out the bus lines easily, like this one run by the city government. However, since you may not get internet access while on the go, having a pocket Guia T with you will always come in handy.

– There are 2 sets of bus fare. One is when you pay with the Sube card, the other one is when you pay with coins (double the fare paid with a Sube card). Within each set, there are 3 fares and that depends on how far you travel within the city. (There are different fares if you go outside of the city). It is because of that, you’ll have to tell the driver either where you are going or how much you are going to pay in order for him to charge you correctly.

– Since it’s more expensive to pay with monedas (coins), you may want to consider getting a Sube card especially if your stay is at least a few weeks long. You can use it to take the subte (subway) too.

– Pretty much all of the colectivos run 24/7 and also quite frequently: around 5-10 mins. during weekdays but longer like 15-30mins. during the night, on weekends and holidays.

– Since it’s the cheapest means for locals to travel around town, even in the wee hours lining-up-for-bus-in-buenos-airesyou’ll see buses full of people. You usually won’t be alone.

– The colectivo generally stops every 2 cuadras (blocks). Given each block is around 100 meters, the bus stops are quite close to each other, so you don’t need to worry too much if you miss a stop, you could always walk it.

– A bus stop could be for more than one bus. If so, people will just form one big line (facing the oncoming traffic i.e. watching the bus arrives) while waiting for the bus, and wave down the one they want to take.

Isabel

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