El SUBE sube

Sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but the SUBE, the pre-paid card that can be used for buses and the subway, is no longer free. You will now be able to purchase your very-own SUBE (which, up until a mere 3 days ago, was free) for 10 pesos. Yup, the Secretary of Transportation announced on March 3 that the card can be purchased for 10 pesos and in the case that it is lost, will cost 17 pesos to renew. How does THAT make sense? Pay 17 pesos to renew the card, or just get a new one for 10. #SchiaviLogic

SUBE will supposedly give people who ride the bus (aka me) a discount once the national government takes away subsidies. However, there has been no official announcement made by the government. What Juan Pablo Schiavi (Secretary of Transportation, or the genius described in my post concerning the Once tragedy)* did say though, is that people can get their cards from THREE different post offices! You can get your SUBE for 10 pesos from a national post office, or the offices of private post services OCA or Andreani.

Remember though, you are in Argentina. You can’t just prance in to any ol’ post office, you have to cut the line and ask a teller behind the desk if they have (or now, sell) the SUBE cards. Besides the fact that the SUBE used to be free, even to foreigners, even more unfortunate is that you used to be able to order these magnificent pre-paid cards online and get them delivered to your house. Also for free. How Argentine is that? SUBE delivery: win. They stopped offering online delivery due to personal security threats (but if you ordered yours before March 2, you still get it delivered to your house for free).

Cris’ office, the Presidencia de la Nación, announced that March 3 was the last day to get the SUBE for free. Leave it up to the government to cause mass panic, right? Looks like not much has changed since 2001 in that sense. Hence the gigantic lines at the Alto Palermo stop. Those poor people were waiting in line for hours. SUBE is magical because supposedly the bus fare will not increase dramatically for the card holders when the national government cuts subsidies for the bus system (of the city of Buenos Aires and surrounding province).

However, the government is yet to announce the new prices. Can’t wait for the surprise! What I don’t get is… why cause the massive panic? I mean, if prices go up to 2.50 pesos (just throwing out a number), no one is going to be able to afford to pay that each time in monedas (coins), duh. Imagine if you take the bus every single day to and from work: that is 5 pesos in monedas. Everyone would have gotten a SUBE anyway!

*The day after this post’s publication (March 7), Secretary of Transportation Juan Pablo Schiavi resigned. He underwent heart surgery on February 29 (despite this fact, he has been prohibited from leaving the country by federal judge Claudio Bonadío) and will be replaced by mayor of Granadero Baigorria, Alejandro Ramos.


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