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Transportation system in Buenos Aires


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Getting Around - Buenos Aires’ vast and inexpensive public transportation system is equipped with tens of thousands of taxis and remises, close to 200 bus lines, seven subway lines and four train stations to get you anywhere at anytime.

Taxis

Taxis are circulating throughout the city 24 hours a day and can be easily hailed near the city’s main tourist attractions and on major avenues.  You can call a number of radio-taxi companies to request a cab if you are in a quieter part of town or if it’s late at night.  Hotel, shop and restaurant staff are usually quite willing to call a taxi for you.

All taxi cabs are painted black and yellow.  A lit sign reading libre in the front windshield indicates the cab is available.  The fare is clearly reflected in Argentine pesos on a meter located above the inside windshield on the passenger side.  Taxi fares, which should be posted on the back side of the driver’s or passenger’s seat, consist of a minimum fee and a fare based on a combination of distance and time travelled.  An additional charge may be levied for each piece of luggage; however, most taxi drivers don’t enforce this, probably preferring to be compensated with a tip.  Since fares are set by the municipality, they are the same for all taxi companies and do not vary by day or night.  Be sure to have Argentine pesos in smaller denominations on hand to pay your fare as change is often a problem and exchanging foreign currency with a cab driver is not advisable.

Remises

A remis is an unmarked car which can only be requested by telephone.  Your pick up point must be an exact address versus a street intersection, park location, etc.  The fare is based only on distance travelled and by telling them your destination you can usually know the cost ahead of time.  A remis is usually less expensive for longer distances such as getting to the airport and can be reserved up to several days ahead of time.

Buses

There are thousands of  colectivos (buses) zipping through the city.  Most bus lines run 24 hours a day,  3 to 10 minutes apart with the frequency declining after midnight and on weekends.   Bus fares are based on distance travelled.  If you know the fare you need to pay, tell the driver the amount; if not, tell the driver your destination and the amount you need to pay will appear on a small screen on the ticket machine.  After depositing your coins (bills are not accepted), the machine will give you any change owed and will print out a receipt which you should keep in case an inspector comes on board.

bus-stop

If you are going to stay in Buenos Aires for an extended period of time or you plan on using buses as your main means of transportation in the city, a combination bus and street map/guide will be worth buying at a newspaper stand.

Subway System

The quickest and cheapest way to get around Buenos Aires is the subte (short for subterranean).  The seven lines reach out to different parts of the city and the flat fare allows you to transfer from one line to another at any of the transfer stations without paying an additional fee.  Subway tickets can be purchased at any of the stations’ ticket booths for one or numerous rides and bills are accepted.  There is no discount for purchasing numerous rides, but paying for several rides in advance helps you avoid standing in lines to buy a ticket.

Each line is identified with a different letter and color on the numerous maps that can be found throughout the stations and on board.  Numerous signs guide you through the labyrinth of tunnels that take you from one line to another at transfer points.  The key is knowing which line(s) you need to take and more importantly, the name of the final station in the direction in which you are travelling (so you don’t end up on the wrong platform and travelling in the opposite direction).

linea

Subte hours, which vary slightly depending on the line, are from 5 or 6 a.m. to 10 to 11 p.m. Monday through Saturday  and 8 a.m. to 10 to 10:30 p.m. on Sundays.  Frequencies also vary by line and time of day, but subway trains run on an average of every 5 minutes.   Schedules, up-to-the-minute frequencies by line and additional information is available from Metrovias, the private company that owns and operates the subway system.

Keep in mind that during peak rush hours (7:30 – 9:30 a.m. and 5 – 7 p.m.), when you would most want to avoid street congestion, it is almost impossible to board a subway car at some stations (you literally have to push your way in).  On hot and humid summer days the subte may not be the most comfortable transportation option as the air can get very hot and stuffy.

Commuter Trains

Buenos Aires has four train stations, Retiro, Once, Constitucion and Federico Lacroze, all of which have connecting subway stations.  Several commuter trains depart daily to the outlying suburbs of the Greater Buenos Aires area (Gran Buenos Aires).  The trains most commonly used by tourists are those leaving from Retiro to Tigre, the river delta area which offers numerous attractions and activites.

Train fares are based on distance, but even the furthest destinations are nominally priced.

Walking

The best way to take in the many sites of  Buenos Aires is on foot.  Comfortable footwear is a must since you will probably do a great deal of walking even if you use other means of transit to get from one barrio(neighborhood) to another.  If you’re not sure where to go, several self-guided tours are suggested by the Offficial Tourism Site of the city of Buenos Aires.

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