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GETTING AROUND - BUENOS AIRES

By Metro (Subway)

The subte is the most rapid and least expensive way to get around in Buenos Aires. Six lines join commercial, tourist, and residential areas in the city Monday through Saturday from 5 am to 11 pm, and on Sunday and holidays from 8 am to 11 pm. These are the official hours, but because of allocation cuts, many lines stop running at 10 pm. However, they don't always close the stations after the trains have finished, and you could end up sticking around for trains that will never come, so ask someone if a train is running in the direction you need during late hours. Service has also been decreased through a lengthening of the wait between trains, even during busy daytime hours, making for immensely crowded trains. A new line, the H or Yellow Line, has been partly built along the Jujuy-Pueyrredón corridor, and current lines have also been increased. See www.subte.com.ar for maps and the latest information. The interactive site also provides estimated times and transfer information between stations.

The straight fare is 1.10 pesos. Every station has a staffed ticket window and some stations have ticket vending machines, but they are often unreliable. You can also buy a subte pass for 11 pesos, valid for 10 trips. Trains get overcrowded during rush hour traffic and are not air-conditioned, so they can be very hot in the summertime. Free subway maps are available, but stations run out quickly. Always beware of pickpockets, including tiny pocket-height children who can easily be overlooked.

By Taxi

The streets of Buenos Aires are overrun with taxis. Fares are generally low, with a starting meter reading of 5.80 pesos, with an increase of 58 centavos every 200m (656 ft.) or each minute. (A 20% higher rate goes into effect after dark.) Most of the taxi rides the average tourist will be taking will cost $3 to $10. Remises and radio-taxis are even more reliable than street taxis. Radio-taxis, when hailed on the street, are discernible by plastic light boxes on their rooftops, although not all will have these. If a cab is free, the word libre will flash in red on the windshield. If available cabs are neglecting you, cross to the other side of the street and hail again.

To request a taxi by phone, call Buenos Tours (tel. +54 11/5235-7020); https://www.buenostours.com/www.taxipremium.com), a service used by many top hotels or Buenos Aires Taxis with all English speaking drivers(tel. +54 11/4793- 3496).

By Bus

Buenos Aires has about 140 bus lines with some that run 24 hours a day. The price is 1.10 pesos and up, contingent on the distance you are going. You'll pay your fare inside the bus at an electronic ticket machine that takes only coins and provides change. Many bus drivers will tell you the price for your destination and let you know when to get off, but most speak only Spanish. Locals are just as friendly and will sometimes make an almost animated effort to protect you from getting lost.

The Guía T is a comprehensive guide to the city bus system and bus lines that divide the city into quadrants. You can purchase one at it at bookstores, newspaper kiosks, on the subte, or on the sidewalk from peddlers. (Unfortunately, the city has yet to offer a bus route map that includes city streets and landmarks, which would be helpful to tourists and locals alike.) Note: The bus system is notorious for pickpockets, so be very cautious when riding it.

By Foot

You will likely find yourself walking more than you thought in this pedestrian-friendly city. Most of the center is small enough to get around by foot, and you can link to adjacent neighborhoods by taxi or the subte. Based on the Spanish colonial plan, the city is a wobbly grid expanding from the Plaza de Mayo, so it is unlikely that you get too lost. Plazas and parks spread over the city offer wonderful places to rest, people-watch, and meet locals. Be aware that the majority tourist maps of Buenos Aires are not typically oriented with north at the top. To keep a good sense of direction, remember that Avenida de Mayo runs east-west, with Casa Rosada and Plaza de Mayo at the eastern terminus and Congreso at the western terminus, and 9 de Julio runs north-south from San Telmo (at the southern end) to Retiro (at the northern end).

By Bicycle

It has become easier and easier to get around Buenos Aires by bike. The city has a thorough system of protected bicycle routes that cross many neighborhoods. Look for the map Red de Ciclovías Protegidas at tourism kiosks, or visit www.mejorenbici.gob.ar. Also, the Ecological Reserve outside of Puerto Madero is a perfect destination for bicycle enthusiasts. More frequently hotels are offering free bicycles or bicycle rentals for their guests.

On the fourth Sunday of every month, at 4 pm, there is a Critical Mass (Masa Crítica) meeting of bicyclists. Visit www.masacriticabsas.com.ar for more information. The website www.amigosdelpedal.com.ar also has more information on group biking excursions.

By Car

Buenos Aires is not a place where you need a car in order to get around. We do not advise that you rent a car unless you're heading out of the city. If you must rent a car, contact one of the international rental companies at either airport. Most hotels can also arrange car rentals. Typically, rental cars are manual, and automatic cars are expensive and difficult to reserve, running at about $100 per day. Gasoline is about $2 per liter in Buenos Aires. Most driver's licenses from English-speaking countries are accepted at rental agencies.

By Train

Commuter trains, which run frequently and are very inexpensive, are not a good idea for most tourists visiting Buenos Aires. However, the system can be convenient for side trips from Buenos Aires, especially to the river island resort town of Tigre; La Plata, the capital of Buenos Aires province; and the beach resort of Mar del Plata.

The Tigre Delta is best attained by train from Buenos Aires and then a boat or launch from the train station if you're continuing on to the islands. Trains from Buenos Aires depart for Estación Tigre from Estación Retiro, Avenida Naciones Unidas and Libertador across from Plaza San Martín, every 10-20 minutes along the Mitre Line. Tickets cost about $1 round-trip. Call tel. 11/4317-4445 or 0800-3333- 822 for schedules and information, or visit www.tbanet.com.ar. This identical train line stops in Belgrano, near Buenos Aires's Chinatown district, and in the affluent northern suburban towns of Vicente Lopez, San Isidro, and Olivos, where the Presidential Residence is located.