I live on Cuba and Avenida Congresso in the barrio of Belgrano. The area is serviced by the Subte, Linea D which I use daily. I thought the best way to show my friends back in Toronto what a subway looks like in Buenos Aires was by taking pictures. Enjoy.
Here are 5 tips for surviving a trip on the Subte in Buenos Aires:
1. Keep your belongings on your person. I mean it, be aware of your surroundings because porteños are expert pickpockets, you won’t even know it’s happening until you get home and can’t find your wallet. Although violent crime is low in Buenos Aires, petty crime is a daily, persistent occurrence. The criminals believe they are owed what you paid for. Clearly. Wear your backpack on your front and keep your hands in your pockets. Don’t keep your wallet in your back pocket. Remember that in Buenos Aires it’s not if you get robbed, but when you get robbed.
2. Stand don’t sit. The Subte gets busy, and during rush hours it can be stifling. There is no air-conditioning, so you’re best to find an open window where you can stand and feel the breeze as the subway rushes from stop to stop. Another reason it’s best to stand is because it will save you from having to claw your way out when your stop approaches. Trust me, no one CAN or WILL move for you. It’s not an option.
3. Pretend you’re sleeping. At each stop struggling local vendors jump on board the train and try to sell riders their merchandise. It can be anything ranging from baked goods, to socks. No one is quite sure where they get these products but one thing is certain: They charge more than any of it is worth. The vendors don’t give you a choice, they will simply plop the product on your lap or in your hand and return to ask for money. Always return whatever it is and decline politely, they accept this. However if you’re travelling from Congress de Tucuman to Catedral station it can get tiring fast. My advice, pretend you’re sleeping, even if standing, they’ll leave you alone.
4. Push. In addition to my advice in number two on this list, it’s important to get used to pushing. This is still challenging for me to accept, being a polite Canadian and all. But if you want to get on and off the train, you’re going to have to push. People will grumble, sometimes they’ll even yell but if you keep saying perdón (sorry) as you pass it will make you feel better. It makes me feel better.
5. Watch for names on each stop. The Subte does not announce any stops and the signs are infrequent and often too high to see. Be aware of how many stops until your destination or you may get lost! This is not a city, nor country that considers accessibility so if you have a disability it’s best to go by taxi or car.
It’s also worth noting that each line on the Buenos Aires Subte have completely different cars. Linea D probably has the most advanced technology whereas the other lines are stuck in the paleolithic era.