transport | urbanism | adventures | pontification
Buenos Aires introduced a unified contact-less farecard system for its subway and various bus companies in August, 2010. The SUBE card is compatible with the Monedero card, which was previously implemented for the Subte (subway). The new card has gone a long way in reducing the severe coin crisis Argentina faced; for three years, bus companies hoarded the coins needed to pay fares, leading the one peso coin to be more valuable than a two peso note.
Despite these improvements, implementation of the SUBE card still has a way to go. In April, only 2/3 of buses were equipped with functioning SUBE validators, with many buses featuring “Solo Monedas” signs on their windshields. The cards are not available at subway stations (as they are in Santiago, for example). Instead, obtaining one requires filling out an application and providing a passport or identity document at a post office. Although many convenience stores display SUBE recharge placards, 3/5 of the ones I visited seeking recharges did not have their systems enabled.