It’s not a secret among the people around me that I absolutely love taking los colectivos (buses) here in Buenos Aires. When I first arrived in Buenos Aires, learning how to use the Guia T, figuring out my way in all the one-way streets, going from point A to point B was like playing my very own Amazing Race. After many tries and errors, I have pretty much beat it and am navigating the city like having a wand in my hand ever since! However, there was always one little complication that came with it and that was the shortage of monedas (coins). As all the buses only accepted monedas. If you don’t have them, then sorry you can’t take the bus even you have tons of bills in your pocket. It was because of that, collecting and saving monedas has been integrated into part of my everyday activities; finding all kinds of ways either not to spend them or get more of them from others. I have to say I’ve gotten pretty good at that too!
All that being said, this moneda hording habit has now become history (well, sort of, old habits are hard to kill…). The SUBE system, albeit 2 years late, has finally completely rolled out and functioning in all buses! The SUBE card is a rechargeable card and can be used in both el subte (subway) and los colectivos, and you don’t have to fidget with the little coins anymore when chasing down the bus. In case you were inherited with a card bears the name of Monedero, it will work just fine like the SUBE card. In essence, Monedero was the first general of the rechargeable card system, even though they are technically two different companies.
Unlike the old-school Monedero which you could just ask for one at the boletería (ticket booth) in the subte, you need a little more work to get your SUBE by going to one of the locations listed on the SUBE website. To put money on it, you can go to the boletería in the subte or any kioskos which say they can recharge SUBE.
Please remember that this card is for free, you do not have to pay for it. The card is no longer free, at this time of update it’s AR$15 for a new card.
Since the SUBE card does tie to the ID of a person, it has 2 major benefits. One, if your card is lost or stolen, you could claim for a new card with the same balance back. Two, you are allowed to go negative and have a few emergency trips in case you’re unaware of your card is out of credits. (Great function to have to avoid that embarrassing moment when a bus load of impatient travelers watching you getting off the bus…) It is definitely a handy card to have if you are planning to stay in Buenos Aires for a good while. I am hoping this type of payment system would soon extend to all of the major stores, supermarkets and kioskos, then we really don’t have to worry about not having enough ‘change’ anymore!