Now that I am halfway done with my program here in Buenos Aires, I am just now starting to get the hang of commuting around the city to travel to work or school. Luckily, though, what a lot of people say is right–they really do have great public transportation here in Buenos Aires, as long as you know how to use it.
My daily commute to school is fairly easy. The easiest way to get there is to take a taxi such as when my roommate Ahlena and I are running late (so far every time). Taxis can be seen just about everywhere over here as they are a very popular method of transportation here just like in New York City–but probably at least half of the price! For those not familiar with calling a cab or unfamiliar with rambling out addresses quickly in Spanish, as I definitely was before I came here, there are also a few different Uber-type apps called BA Taxi or Easy Taxi where you can order a cab to your location and put in your destination so that you know you are going to the right place. You can also pay cash or card on those apps which is very nice! I was shocked to see the affordability of the taxis here, where the most I’ve paid for a taxi so far has been 200 pesos, or around $4. Usually our ride to class is only two or three dollars including tip. On the way home from class, we usually take a bus, which is even cheaper (for anyone wondering, typically around 20 pesos or 40 cents each way!) and pretty easy to use. The downsides, I have learned, are that you need to make sure you are paying attention or the bus will drive right past you, that they will drive past you if they are too full, and that they are always very hot inside (which could be attributed to the fact that it’s “winter” here so they refuse to turn the AC on, even if it’s completely packed). Even despite those downsides, the buses do run very frequently–way more than a lot of the ones in Pittsburgh which sometimes just do not show up at all.
My commute to work, in contrast, has been a little more complicated at just over an hour if I don’t take a taxi. To get there, I have a 30-minute bus ride to the Federico Lacroze train station, the very last stop on a popular line outside of the city, and ride a few train stops to the station right across from my work complex. The train itself is usually much less packed than the buses, but every time I get there in the morning I usually have to wait awhile for the train to leave the station as that is they idle there for awhile since it is the end of the line. At one time there could be a train parked on all four rails, and I still have not gotten used to guessing which one will leave the station first, so one day I waited over 25 minutes for the train to finally take me to work. Another option I have is taking the subway, or Subte, to the Lacroze train station which is an easy connection. Both the Subte and trains are very similar to the subways I have experienced in New York City and the T in Pittsburgh, which are reliable and avoid a lot of traffic.
All in all, I am thankful to be in a city that has such developed means of transportation! Although the commutes are long, I have definitely gotten used to settling down with a podcast or music playlist and enjoying a quiet, cheap ride with my fellow commuters.