Winner: Alan Blizzard
Kudos to: Argentine Government (and yes for once I’m serious)
Approximate Location: Capital Federal
The Skinny: Moving to Buenos Aires can be a little overwhelming at first especially if you are not already accustomed to using public transport (as I was not because of growing up in the suburbs of Tennessee). Especially since there are four main transportation options, taxis (radio taxis or remises), colectivos (bus), Subte (subway) or trains.
Now at first it seems taxis are a great choice because of their relatively cheapness to their American counter-parts, but the truth is that colectivos are just too cheap and convient to pass up… that is except for one small problem, monedas. Monedas are the coins in Argentina and for years was the only way to pay for your colectivo journey because of the coin slot machines that you use to pay your fair (and the fact that in order to maintain prompt service the driver can’t mess around with paper money).
So you need to get around the city and you start to hate wasting your precious smaller bills on taxis rides that could easily be avoided by finding the right colectivos. But then you have the problem of how the heck do I get monedas to “play the slot machine” in the colectivos??? Well now the government made a solid solution to this problem, The SUBE card.
The SUBE card system works with a small chip in the card that you merely tap against a card reader when you are boarding a colectivo, going through the turn styles at the Subte, or catching the train. Getting the SUBE card is easy and free! You can either go to any post office throughout the city and stand in a usually very short SUBE card line, or find any one of the many small kiosk tents set up at places like Calle Florida to sign up for your card on the spot on the street.
The charge the SUBE card though all you have to do is go to pretty much any kiosco, Pago Rapido, or any Subte station window and they will let you charge any amount. This card was just introduced a couple of months ago, but is being heavily pushed to the population by the government and is already available city wide (although not really available outside of the Capital Federal). There is another chip scanned card called the Monedero card which is operated by a private company, but the difference is that with the SUBE card you apply for it with your DNI, or in foreigners’ cases their Passport, and you can have the balance perserved in case of the card getting lost or stolen.
If you are going to be in the city for any length of time, GET A SUBE CARD. It’s great to just tell the driver your destination, tape your card on the scan pad (I tap mine without even taking it out of my wallet!) and quickly making your way to the back to snag that seat that the common moneda-using folk will miss out on. Nowadays I have plenty of monedas to use for other purposes and I never have to worry about running out and not being able to use public transport! Life is good!