How to Take a Bus in Buenos Aires
The Buenos Aires bus— so noisy, so smokey, but so darn affordable and practical they’ll get you anywhere.
Here are the steps to take a bus in Buenos Aires:
1. Figure out your route
2. Find the bus stop
Once you know which bus to want to take, another challenge can be figuring out where the bus stop actually is located. On major streets such as Corrientes and 9 de Julio they are well marked. The bus stops are every two-and-half to three blocks, and usually marked with the numbers of the lines that stop there as well as a list of major stops. Just walk along the avenue or street until you see a stop. Sometimes the bus stops are not well marked in residential areas and you will need to ask someone: ‘¿Donde esta la parada para el 24?’(Where is the stop for the 24?)
Store and newsstand owners are accustomed to answering questions about the buses because no one knows where the bus stops are if they are not familiar the area. During the day there will often be a line of people waiting for the bus, you can ask them as well. If you don’t speak Spanish well you can also point to your bus number in the Guía T and offer a perplexed look to be pointed in the right direction.
3. Make sure you have change to pay the fare
Most importantly, before getting on any bus in Buenos Aires make sure you have change to pay the fare — the buses don’t take bills. The standard fare costs AR$1.25. The city has been promising to install a card system to pay for bus fares and reduce the need to hoard coins, but as with many things in Argentina, the initiative is delayed.
4. Get in line
Aside from rush hour on very busy avenues, there is usually just one line of people for all the buses that go by any particular stop. Get in line. When you see your bus coming along, identified by its number above the windshield, put out your hand to indicate that you would like to get on the bus – each stop handles several buses, so if no one in line flags the bus, it will speed on by. Sometimes it will speed on by regardless – chalk it up to the inner complexities of the Buenos Aires bus driver.
5. Tell the conductor where you are going
Once you are on the bus you need to tell the conductor where you are going so he can charge you the appropriate fare. Simply name the cross street or location where you plan to get off, for example: ‘hasta Cordoba, por favor’. Many passengers, accustomed to taking the same route everyday, just tell the conductor how much to charge them. Most fares around the city, from three to six kilometers, cost AR$1.25. If you prefer you can also tell the driver: ‘Uno veinte y cinco, por favor.’
6. Pay your fare
After you’ve indicated your stop to the driver, put your coins into the automated ticket dispenser behind the driver. You will be issued a ticket and your change. Hold on to the ticket, although it is rare that someone comes through to check them, but it does occasionally happen.
7. Hold on tight!
Once on board, the elderly, pregnant women and anyone with kids obviously has priority seating so if you don’t have the good fortune to get a seat take a steady stance and hold on tight! When you want to exit the bus push the button located on the pole by the back door. Be careful exiting the bus — sometimes the buses don’t quite get to the curb and barely stop. If you are let off into the street, look back before jumping off to make sure there are no bicycles or motorbikes coming from behind.
For help figuring out which bus you need, click here