Transportation in Buenos Aires, Argentina

Unlike out beloved Louisville, Buenos Aires has a bus system that does not require one to wait long in the blistering heat or freezing cold. Truthfully, the city has three options for transportation – buses, train, and subway. The trains and buses bring people into the city from parts of the provencia – think, Bullit County – while the subway or subte has much more concentrated lines of transport limited to the certain parts of the city. Recently the city has created a new system of paying for the buses, so now it is easy to pass a card over the monitor to pay for the subte or bus. Before, it was necessary to have a few coins or monedas to get on the bus and aren’t always easy to find. A ticket for the bus costs between $1.10  and 1.25 argentine pesos, depending on how far you’re traveling. So, it is very cheap, but there are also no discounts for students. Nor do students ride free like we do with our UofL ID cards. Also, there are no transfer tickets, so you are required to pay again if you need to change buses. Perhaps this is why people here walk so much. In any case, the bus transport system is extremely good and much more efficient than our system. Buses can travel far into the provencia for just $1.25, they come just about every fifteen minutes or less, and there are about 50 different bus lines. But, the city here is a really big place and can be really confusing at times it’s necessary to carry around a Guía T that is a guide to all the buses, including maps of where they go. The maps are so good that I sometimes use them to just walk around the city when I’m in neighborhoods I don’t usually visit.

Meanwhile, there are still plenty of cars on the streets. Of course the buses, trains, and subtes are filled with people during rush-hour, but there are also plenty of cars on the street during this same time. My host family tells me that the streets weren’t always so filled with people like they are now, but with the economic crisis that has continued since the turn of the century and now created a crisis of inflation here, there are many more people traveling into the city for work. It is important to understand that many of these people do not travel by car, but by bus or train, and also that they sometimes travel for a couple hours to get to their jobs. Meanwhile, since the public transportation has become more crowded, it has become more common for people who live in the city to use their cars. In any case, whether car or bus, it’s really important to be careful when crossing the street here. There aren’t many traffic rules that people follow here. Really, it’s like watching some movie depicting typical Italian driving.

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