Transportation in Buenos Aires is among the best systems in whole South America. The city does not only have a long history when it comes to the underground system and tram system, but till today has a very good transportation system.
While transportation in Sao Paulo is hardly amazing, the situation in Buenos Aires is totally different. While Argentina doesn’t come with a great train system, Buenos Aires has a range of local trains connecting the city with cities nearby, including Tigre, and the suburbs of the city. If you happen to go to any of those places, Retiro Station is where most trains leave.
The most important means of transportation in Buenos Aires definitely is the Underground, locally known as Subte. The system consists of six lines and connects the city center with the suburbs as well as different areas of the city with each other. Lines A, B, D and E stretch out far from the city center, while Line C basically just operates in the city center from the North to the South. Line H is going from the North to the South, too. However, way further out of the city center.
Connecting between the different lines is relatively challenging as there are only very few exchange stations, often not directly connected. The fare system is quite easy to understand and tickets can be bought at all stations. The trains range from being rather old to being more modern. Most lines operate quite frequently.
All Subte lines in Buenos Aires:
The underground or subte isn’t the only railway operated means of transportation in Buenos Aires. Even though the tram has a very long history in Buenos Aires, there’s only one proper line left till today. The so-called PreMetro E2 is a light-rail overground system connecting Intendente Saguier (Line E) with one of the poorer suburbs of Buenos Aires. Other lines of this kind, including line E1, are or were planned, but didn’t come to fruition yet. Former metro lines in the city center of Buenos Aires were abandoned in the 20th century. A rejuvenation of the system with building a new metro on the rich neighborhood of Puerto Madero didn’t work out. The line built in 2007 was taken off service again in 2012.
The bus network of Buenos Aires isn’t as easy to understand and use as the subte. That’s mainly because of the fact that the bus routes are operated by different bus companies. The only really regulated system is the so-called MetroBus, which operates with high frequencies on several routes. This system has the advantage of special lanes on some routes, making the travel time shorter than on other buses. The other buses, mainly so-called collectivos, operate on varying routes throughout the city.
You can usually see all destinations on a board on the bus. You can pay for your ride at the driver. All kinds of buses in Buenos Aires are cheap, but safety sometimes is an issue. Travel time can also vary heavily by the time of the day.
Taxis are another option to get around in Buenos Aires. Yet, travel times can vary quite a bit as the traffic in Buenos Aires can be horrible in rush hour (and beyond). Prices aren’t cheap as the base fare usually is around 25 to 30 ARS (~ 1.20 Euro / 1.50 US-Dollar), while the fare per kilometer is approximately half of that. Obviously, taxis are cheaper than in cities like London or Paris.
Yet, taxis are substantially more expensive than in Lima, for example. The comfort and safety of taxis in Buenos Aires is okay, yet not particularly great. A ride to or from the airport will set you back around 20 to 30 Euro / 25 to 35 US-Dollar.
An interesting alternative to taxis in Buenos Aires is Uber, which I used quite frequently in the city. There are not that many drivers, but I found the cars and drivers to be nicer, while the prices are a bit lower. Obviously, there are also a couple of touristic transportation options in Buenos Aires, which include sightseeing hop-on-hop-off buses among other things.
You may also take bikes to get around the city. All in all, Buenos Aires has one of the best transportation systems in South America, way better than the one of Rio de Janeiro, for example.