Busses can be very complicated in Buenos Aires but there is another option: the subte, as the underground or metro is called in Buenos Aires. To help you and our Spanish students in Buenos Aires successfully take the subway, I have made the following list with tips.
- Step one: Plan your route
On the internet and on the application ´´Cómo Llego´´ you can check which subway you need to take. You can also buy a map with all the metro lines on it.
At the entrance of the subway station you will often find a simple map of the lines, which are not that clear. For a more extended map of all the lines and all the stops, you should go into the station to find them.
- Step two: Find the right entrance!
The subway always goes in two directions, so sometimes when you enter a station you can only reach one platform via that particular entrance. Make sure you know which entrance you need to take because you will have to pay again if you realize you need a different platform.
There are also entrances with a sign above saying ´Salida unicamente,´ meaning that it is only an exit. You cannot enter the subway from there. Across the street you will find the right entrance.
- Step Three: Which ticket do I need?
There are two possibilities when buying a ticket: a paper ticket or an electronic ticket. Buying a paper ticket has two disadvantages: it is more expensive compared to an electronic Subte card, and from May 2016 on it will not be possible to buy paper tickets, only an electronic card. So get used to the electronic Subte card.
However, for tourists visiting the city for only a few days, using paper tickets is a perfect option. The second option is, as already mentioned, an electronic Subte Card. You can buy these cards for ARS$25 at a Kiosk and load them with money in any Subte station or kiosk. The more you travel, the lower the prices of your trip will be. Another benefit of this card is that you can also use it for trains and busses.
- Step Four: Try to get your spot
Do not be surprised when traveling at nine in the morning or at six in the afternoon, that you will not be able to get in the Subte. Moreover, get used to the fact that when you finally entered the Subte, people really push themselves into it. This results in you feeling like a fish in a tin! Places by the doors are the worst; it is better to try to walk a little further to the carriage. Mostly it is less crowded there.
- Step Five: Get out at your stop on time
In crowded Subtes, when you need to get out at the next stop, make sure you head towards the exit. In occupied ´coaches,´ sometimes you cannot pass by the people in time and the doors close before you can get out.
- Step Six: Switch lines
When you switch your line at a particular station you might have to walk a few minutes. Pay attention to the signs saying ´Combinación con la linea..´, and follow the line and the end station of the line you need to catch. It can get really confusing switching lines, but once you get it, it´s easy!
- Step Seven: how to deal with Vendors and musicians
When the Subte is not fully occupied, vendors and musicians arise, varying from young children to older men.
You will often see children and older people handing out different kind of articles like gum, tissues, prayer cards, pencils and more. Mostly they leave it on your lap, and pick it up later if you are not interested. If you are, make sure you only pay with small amounts of money, like a ten pesos bill, or twenty pesos bill. Avoid using 100 pesos bill, just to be safe.
Sometimes people start singing, which can be short child´s song or someone performing professional music. Applause is expected by them, and you will notice that all the Porteños do that. Later on they will pass by with their hat. Donations are welcome, but not obligatory.
Last but not least, some safety tips! The Subte is a popular place among robbers. Therefore always wear your bag or backpack facing the front, not on your back. People tend to be really curious about what is in your backpack.
Try to avoid showing off with expensive looking gadgets and bags. Playing candy crush on your iPhone 6 in the Subte in Buenos Aires is not a good idea.
And always keep your eyes open. Most of the robbers do not look like they are robbers; they look like normal Argentinean people. The poor looking people are not the ones you should be afraid of. Most of the time they only ask for money or food.
Thanks to Wander Argentina