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Culture Corner

Getting Around Buenos Aires

Public transportation is, without question, the most common way to navigate and get around Buenos Aires. In fact, when giving directions, it is common for locals to use subte stops or major monuments as destination points or local points of reference. Students can expect to use public transport, especially the subway system and public buses, on a daily basis.

Aside from public transportation, many Porteños walk from one place to another. While the subway and public transit is convenient and economical, walking is another great way to see the city close up and get some exercise, especially during the daytime. Walking is very common when your destination is only a few subway stops away, or when you are not in a hurry and have time to window shop along the way!

To learn more about the different ways to navigate Buenos Aires, please read the descriptions below.

Types of Transportation

CITY BUSES
The bus (called "micro" or "colectivo") is a fast and inexpensive way to travel around the city. This is one of the most commonly used means of transport in the Capital and Greater Buenos Aires. Users of most bus lines usually wait for no longer than fifteen minutes and trips, including those to more distant areas, generally take no more than 40 minutes. The service is available 24 hours a day but its frequency decreases after 12 am. There are more than 180 lines going through the whole city and providing connection with all locations in Greater Buenos Aires. The minimum fare is .30 cents. Upon boarding, indicate your destination and the driver will tell you the fare.

There are automatic ticket machines that issue tickets, which may be inspected en route, so you will always need coins to get on a bus or colectivo. Pay attention to placards indicating a bus' final destination, since identically numbered buses may cover slightly different routes. (www.loscolectivos.com.ar)

TAXIS
Taxis are another good option to get around Buenos Aires, with a fleet of more than 32 thousand cars. Taxis in Buenos Aires are black with yellow roofs. The fare includes an initial price and an additional value charged according to the distance covered and time elapsed. The fare is viewed on the taximeter. Meters should be turned on when you enter the car, although some drivers conveniently forget. You are not required to tip taxi drivers. It is recommended that you use a radio taxi (a taxi that you call ahead for) rather than flagging down a taxi on the street. Most city taxi drivers are friendly and trustworthy, and this is a very economical means of transport. However, radio taxis are generally safer than street taxis. Be careful at the airport and bus terminals only to take taxis and remises from booths. Do not use "Viva Voz" taxi service. Taxis are generally $1 + 0.10 added for every 200 meters.

REMISE

A remise is a type of radio taxi that operates on a fixed rate rather than with a meter. They are a sort of limo service that you request by phone from the numerous agencies spread out in the city. These cars are not identified with a special color. The minimum fare is typically between $ 5 and $ 6; the total fare varies according to the kilometers covered and time elapsed.

UNDERGROUND TRANSPORTATION
The "Subte" is the subway system in Buenos Aires. Its five lines converge downtown, the main tourist and hotel area. The subway is the fastest and easiest means of transport, making it the choice for porteños. It is connected with the main avenues and railway and bus stations. More than 250 million passengers travel through the 80 stations of this network each year.

This number is expected to double in the next ten years.The schedule is from Monday to Saturday, from 6am to 11pm and on Sundays from 8am to 10pm. The fare is flat (about 0.30 cents) and payable at the ticket offices located in the different stations. Each ticket may be used to go to any point of the city, even for long trips combining several lines. These connections that allow passengers to use more than one line are called "combinación". Maps showing the subway lines in different colors may be obtained at the ticket offices located in every station. Information boards showing each line route and transfer stations between lines are available in all stations.

OVERLAND BUSES
Bus service in Argentina is extensive. Traveling by bus in Argentina is probably the easiest in South America and the main way of getting around the country. The vehicles are generally well-maintained, clean, and comfortable. They usually depart on schedule, refreshments may be provided on board, and smoking is prohibited. For long trips you have the option of traveling on a sleeper bus (coche cama), with first class seating. When traveling by bus, be sure not to lose either your token for any baggage placed under the bus or your ticket stub which must be surrendered to the driver at the end of the journey in order to check that the correct fare has been paid. Traveling by bus is usually inexpensive. In Buenos Aires there are many services to different destinations in Argentina and the main bus station is called Retiro (www.tebasa.com.ar ).

AIR
There are two major airlines with high quality domestic flights and their prices are low compared to the US or Europe: Aerolíneas Argentinas and Austral (http://www.aerolineas.com.ar/home.asp). These two airlines have the most extensive services. There are also some existing secondary airlines that have expanded routes and may be less expensive than the established carriers.

RAILWAYS
If you want to visit neighborhoods distant from downtown, the train is the most commonly used option, since it offers an efficient and affordable service. The main railway hubs are: Retiro, Constitución, Once and Federico Lacroze, which are terminal stations used as a place for passenger transfers. Fares depend on the distance (minimum fare, 0.30 cents). The different stations have ticket offices.

FERRY
There is a ferry service between Buenos Aires and Uruguay. One of the lines that is most well-known (and is the largest) is Buquebus. It offers a service to the cities of Colonia, Montevideo and Punta del Este in Uruguay. Although this type of transportation is fairly expensive, it is comfortable and quick. (www.buquebus.com)

ISA strongly discourages program participants from owning or operating motor vehicles while participating in the program. With the extensive bus and train systems you should find travel relatively hassle free and much quicker than travel by car. Additionally, driving laws and customs differ per country, as a result, renting a car could endanger students who are not aware of Argentine driving customs or laws.