Practical Life in Buenos Aires


Transport in Buenos Aires


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Buenos Aires is a large, modern city with good public transportation which is safe, clean and fast. However, walking is the best way to see the sights. The main downtown area is small enough to walk from one end to the other in half an hour. For longer distances, most locals use the bus, Subte (Buenos Aires's subway system) or taxi. Driving is recommended only for those with a death wish.

Useful Addresses

Metro

Buenos Aires has a very good, clean, reliable and reasonably safe subway system. The network consists of 5 lines, 34 stations, and brings 70% of the city's population within walking distance of a subway station. The six subway lines (subtes) are connected with the main avenues and railway and bus stations, and converge downtown, the main tourist and hotel area.

Maps showing the subway lines in different colors are available at the ticket offices located in every station. Information boards showing each line routes and transfer stations between lines are available in all stations. Connections that allow passengers to use more than one line are called combinación.

Service runs Mondays through Saturdays, from 5 am to 10 pm, and Sundays and holidays from 8 am to 10 pm.

Metro map: http://www.buenosaires54.com/

Bus

The bus (colectivo) is a fast and inexpensive means to travel over the Capital. There are more than 180 lines going through the city and providing connection with all districts in the Greater Buenos Aires. Within the city, there are two fares: 1.10 and 1.20 pesoa. The ticket is sold on the bus and only coins are accepted. Hours: Bus service is available all day long but its frequency decreases after 12 am. Buenos Aires has a huge and complex bus system. Buy a Guia T - it's sold at any newsstand, but try to find the pocket version for around AR$2. It details hundreds of the city's bus routes. Just look at the grids to find out where you are and where you're going, and find a matching bus number. Most routes (but not all) run 24 hours; there are fewer buses at night.

Save your change like it's gold; local buses do not take bills. Bus ticket machines on board will give you small change from your coins. Most rides around town cost AR$0.80, so folks just say ochenta (80) to the bus driver, who cues the ticket machine accordingly (very short rides are AR$0.75).

The Retiro bus station houses all routes going out of town. It has an information booth (4310-0700) that provides general bus information and schedules; it will also help you with the local bus system. Other services include a tourist office (7:30am-1pm Mon-Sat) on the main floor under bus counter 105, telephone offices (some with Internet access), restaurants, cafés and dozens of small stores. Departures are fairly frequent to the most popular destinations. Reservations are not necessary except during peak summer and winter holiday seasons. Keep an eye on your bags!

In July 2007 Buenos Aires inaugurated a new light-rail system in Puerto Madero called the Tranvía del Este. It's currently 2km long and has only four stops, with plans to extend the line from Retiro to Constitución. It only costs AR$1 to ride, but consider skipping it.

Trains

To visit areas outside the Capital such as the Delta or neighborhoods distant from downtown, the railways provide an affordable service. Several lines allow access to the center of the city. Trains connect Buenos Aires' center to its suburbs and nearby provinces.

Several private companies run different train lines; the most central train stations (all served by Subte) and destinations are listed below:

Useful Addresses

  • Ferrovias (Belgrano line; 0800-777-3377; www.ferrovias.com.ar) To Villa Rosa and the northern suburbs.
  • Trenes de Buenos Aires (TBA, Mitre line; 0800-333-3822; www.tbanet.com.ar) To Belgrano, San Isidro, Tigre, Rosario.
  • Transportes Metropolitanos (San Martín line; 4011-5826; www.metropolitano.com.ar) To Pilar and the northern suburbs.
  • Metropolitano (Roca line; 0800-1-2235-8736) To the southern suburbs and La Plata.
  • Ferrobaires ( 4306-7919; www.ferrobaires.gba.gov.ar) Bahia Blanca and Atlantic beach towns.
  • Trenes de Buenos Aires (Sarmiento line; 0800-333-3822; www.tbanet.com.ar)  Southwestern suburbs and Luján.

Airports

Almost all international flights arrive at Buenos Aires' Ezeiza airport (EZE; officially Aeropuerto Internacional Ministro Pistarini), about 35km south of the center. Most domestic flights use Aeroparque airport (officially Aeroparque Jorge Newbery), a short distance from downtown Buenos Aires. To get from Aeroparque to the center, take public bus 33 or 45 (don't cross the street; take them going south). MTL has shuttles to the center for AR$12; taxis cost around AR$15.

The best way to and from Ezeiza is taking a shuttle with transfer companies such as Manuel Tienda León (MTL; 4315-5115; www.tiendaleon.com; cnr Av Eduardo Madero & San Martín). You'll see its stand immediately as you exit customs, in the transport "lobby" area. Shuttles cost AR$32 to AR$35 one way, run every half-hour from 6am to midnight and take about 40 minutes, depending on traffic. The endpoint is either the shuttle office (from where you can take a taxi) or one of several central hotels. For taxis, avoid its overpriced services at AR$95; instead, look for a freestanding city taxi stand (blue sign), which charges AR$78 to the center. MTL also does transfers from Ezeiza to Aeroparque for AR$38.

The cheapest way into the city is public bus 86, which costs AR$1.35 and can take up to two hours to reach the Plaza de Mayo area. Catch it outside the Aerolíneas Argentinas terminal, a short walk (200m) from the international terminal. You’ll need change; there’s a Banco de la Nación just outside customs.

Flight information for both airports, in English and Spanish, is available by calling 5480-6111 or accessing www.aa2000.com.ar.

Taxis

Taxis are plentiful in Buenos Aires. Look for standard issue- black car with yellow roof cars especially in the tourist and business center. Taxis are fairly cheap in comparison to other major world cities. All taxis have a meter that is always turned on by the driver at the beginning of the journey.

Taxis are not the quickest way to move around the more congested parts of the city, especially during rush hour, as traffic jams are common. It is safest to have your hotel or host call for a radio taxi. If you must hail a cab on the street, watch out for private operators disguised as commercial services.

Also avoid paying in large bills as there have been cases of  drivers giving tourists counterfeit change. If a taxi driver says that your money is counterfeit and offers to take you to an ATM, get out immediately.This is a common pretext for robbery. The same advice applies if the cab "breaks down", get out and find another cab. Keep your luggage in the seat with you so you can make a quick getaway if needed.

Boats

A regular ferry service runs between Colonia and Montevideo, both in Uruguay. Most ferries leave from the Buquebus terminal ( 4316-6500; www.buquebus.com; Av Antártida Argentina 821); there's another Buquebus office at Av Córdoba 879. Cacciola ( 4393-6100; www.cacciolaviajes.com; Florida 520, 1st fl, suite 112) has ferries that leave from way up north in Tigre. Both companies offer more frequent service during the busy summer season.

Car

Reconsider your need to have a car in this city: public transportation will often get you anywhere faster, cheaper and with much less stress. If you want to rent a car, expect to pay around AR$150 to AR$170 per day. It's a very good idea to make a reservation with one of the major international agencies in your home country to obtain more stable rates. You must be at least 21 years of age and have a valid driver's license or an International Driving Permit. A credit card and passport are also necessary. A list of reputable rental agencies is listed below.

Useful Addresses

For motorcycle rentals try Motocare ( 4782-1500; www.motocare.com.ar; Av del Libertador 6588). Honda Transalps 650 cost about AR$280 per day with a four-day minimum (they're cheaper by the month). Bring your own helmet and riding gear. Crossing into Chile, Uruguay, Paraguay and Brazil is allowed. If you buy a motorcycle you can negotiate to sell it back, possibly saving money in the long term.

Update 29/05/2009





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