Below we explain everything you need to know to move smoothly around the capital city.
To get around Buenos Aires, knowing how the public transport network works becomes a must. The buses (“colectivos”), subways (“subtes”) and trains, as well as public bicycles, can help you to discover the capital with easily and efficiently.
The SUBE card (standing for Sistema Único de Boleto Electrónico in Spanish, literally ‘Unified Electronic Ticket System’) is a must-have when out and about in the city of Buenos Aires. This contactless card is the only accepted means of payment for public transport fares. You can buy one and top it up on the internet, in train and subway stations, as well as in post offices and some local shops, such as in kiosks or lottery ticket shops.
If you’re visiting the capital, you can also buy the pass in one of the city’s many tourist information centers by simply presenting an identity document.
How to Use It?
When the time comes to catch a bus, you’ll need to let the driver know your final destination so that they can charge you the right fare. Once this appears on the reader, you just need to tap your SUBE card on it. The correct fare will automatically deduct itself from your card balance.
If you need to take a subway, you simply have to tap your SUBE card when you walk through the barriers so that they open, and the fare will deduct itself straight away from your balance. For train journeys, however, the fare is deducted at the end of the journey which is why you have to tap in at the start of your journey and tap out at the end of it.
The Buenos Aires Subte (Subway)
The subway system is the quickest way to get around the city of Buenos Aires. The network is made up of six lines, as well as a ‘pre-subway’ system, which connects the different lines to each other as well as to the main train stations. Each line has a different letter (A, B, C, D, E, H) and color to distinguish it.
The cost of the fare varies according to how many journeys you make each month and it can range from AR$9.90 to AR$16.50. In terms of the hours, during the week, trains run from 5:30 until 23:30. On Saturdays, the first train leaves at 8:00 and the last at midnight; while on Sundays you can catch a train until 22:30.
You can be sure to see the “colectivos” on any postcard from the Federal Capital. And with good reason: there are 180 lines that connect all neighborhoods of Buenos Aires, and these then connect with those of Greater Buenos Aires. What’s more, and although their frequency decreases at night, a large majority of them run 24 hours a day. For this reason, it’s not surprising that this is the most used means of transport by locals.
Travelers visiting Buenos Aires for the first time might have a bit of trouble figuring out where the buses stop since the “stops” aren’t always signposted. A top tip is to not be embarrassed to ask the locals where they are.
Train is the most effective means of transport to get from the Federal Capital to Greater Buenos Aires, and vice versa. Although if traveling through the city itself we’d recommend to opt for the subway or buses, when visiting some of the most popular tourist spots inside the province, such as the Delta del Tigre, San Isidro, Vicente Lopez or La Plata, it’s best to go via train.
Another excellent way to discover Buenos Aires is by cycling through it. The City Governemnt has a program called “EcoBici” that, by simply downloading an app, gives you access to a free bicycle service that allows you to borrow and return bicycles from stations throughout the city. With mobile applications such as BA Cómo Llego and Moovit, you’ll be able to better plan your journeys on public transport through the City of Buenos Aires. Have a good trip!