Buenos Aires is based on a square, rectangular grid pattern, save for natural barriers or the relatively rare developments explicitly designed otherwise (notably, the neighbourhood of Parque Chas). The rectangular grid provides for square blocks named manzanas, with a length of roughly 110 meters. Pedestrian zones in the city centre, like Florida Street are partially car-free and always bustling, access provided by bus and the Metro (subte) Line C. Buenos Aires, for the most part, is a very walkable city and the majority of residents in Buenos Aires use public transport.
Two diagonal avenues in the city centre alleviate traffic and provide better access to Plaza de Mayo. Most avenues running into and out of the city centre are one-way and feature six or more lanes, with computer-controlled green waves to speed up traffic outside of peak times.
In the 1940s and 1950s the Avenida General Paz beltway that surrounds the city along its border with Buenos Aires Province and freeways leading to the new international airport and to the northern suburbs heralded a new era in Buenos Aires traffic. Encouraged by pro-automaker policies pursued towards the end of the Perón (1955) and Frondizi administrations (1958–62) in particular, auto sales nationally grew from an average of 30,000 during the 1920–57 era to around 250,000 in the 1970s and over 600,000 in 2008. Today, over 1.8 million vehicles (nearly one-fifth of Argentina's total) are registered in Buenos Aires.
Toll motorways opened in the late 1970s by then-mayor Osvaldo Cacciatore provided fast access to the city centre and are today used by over a million vehicles daily. Cacciatore likewise had financial district streets (roughly one square kilometre in area) closed to private cars during daytime. Most major avenues are, however, gridlocked at peak hours. Following the economic mini-boom of the 1990s, record numbers started commuting by car and congestion increased, as did the time-honored Argentine custom of taking weekends off in the countryside.
In December 2010, the city government launched a bicycle sharing program with bicycles free for hire upon registration. Located in mostly central areas, there are 31 rental stations throughout the city providing over 850 bicycles to be picked up and dropped off at any station within an hour. The bike-share program runs from 8:00 am to 8:00 pm Monday through Friday and from 9:00 am to 3:00 pm on Saturdays. As of 2013, the city has constructed of protected bicycle lanes and has plans to construct another .
Public transport in Buenos Aires
The Buenos Aires commuter rail system has seven lines:
The Buenos Aires commuter network system is very extensive: every day more than 1.3 million people commute to the Argentine capital. These suburban trains operate between 4 am and 1 am. The Buenos Aires railway system also connects the city with long-distance rail to Rosario and Córdoba, among other metropolitan areas. There are four principal terminals for both long-distance and local passenger services in the city centre: Constitucion, Retiro, Federico Lacroze and Once.
The Buenos Aires Underground (locally known as subte, from "subterráneo" meaning underground or metro), is a high-yield system providing access to various parts of the city. Opened in 1913, it is the oldest underground system in the Southern Hemisphere and second oldest in the Spanish-speaking world after Madrid's in Spain. The system has six lines, named by letters (A to E, and H) There are 74 stations, and of route. An expansion program is underway to extend existing lines into the outer neighborhoods and add a new north-south line. Route length is expected to reach by 2011. Line "A" is the oldest one (service opened to public in 1913) and stations kept the "belle-époque" decoration, the trains still sport incandescent-bulb illumination and doors must be manually opened by the passengers, as in 1913. Daily ridership on weekdays is 1.7 million and on the increase. Fares remain relatively cheap, although the city government hiked the fares by over 125% in January 2012. A single journey, with unlimited interchanges between lines, now costs AR$2.50, which is roughly USD$0.60. The Buenos Aires Underground has six lines which also have links to the commuter rail.
The subway is currently undergoing renovation and expansion.
New underground lines are planned and were presented by the Government of the City of Buenos Aires on 26 May 2007. There are currently three lines planned:
Buenos Aires had an extensive street railway (tram) system with over of track, which was dismantled during the 1960s in favour of bus transportation, but surface rail transport has made a small comeback in some parts of the city. The PreMetro or Line E2 is a light rail line that connects with Metro Line E at Plaza de los Virreyes station and runs to General Savio and Centro Cívico. It is operated by Metrovías. The official inauguration took place on 27 August 1987.
A modern tramway, the Tranvía del Este, opened in 2007 in the Puerto Madero district, using two tramcars on temporary loan. However, plans to extend the line and acquire a fleet of trams did not come to fruition, and declining patronage led to the line's closure in October 2012. A heritage streetcar maintained by tram fans operates on weekends, near the Primera Junta line A metro station in the Caballito neighbourhood.
There are over 150 city bus lines called Colectivos, each one managed by an individual company. These compete with each other, and attract exceptionally high use with virtually no public financial support. Their frequency makes them equal to the underground systems of other cities, but buses cover a far wider area than the underground system. Colectivos in Buenos Aires do not have a fixed timetable, but run from four to several per hour, depending on the bus line and time of the day. With inexpensive tickets and extensive routes, usually no further than four blocks from commuters' residences, the colectivo is the most popular mode of transport around the city.
Buenos Aires has recently opened a two-lane, bus rapid transit system, the MetroBus. The system uses modular median stations that serve both directions of travel, which enable pre-paid, multiple-door, level boarding. The system runs across the Juan B. Justo Ave has 21 stations and was inaugurated on 31 May 2011.
A fleet of 40,000 black-and-yellow taxis ply the streets at all hours. License controls are not enforced rigorously. There have been reports of organized crime controlling the access of taxis to the city airports and other major destinations. Taxi drivers are known for trying to take advantage of tourists. Radio-link companies provide reliable and safe service; many such companies provide incentives for frequent users. Low-fare limo services, known as remises, have become popular in recent years.
A new high-speed rail line between Buenos Aires, Rosario and Córdoba, with speeds up to is planned.
The main terminal for long-distance buses is Retiro bus station, near Retiro railway station, from where buses depart for all parts of Argentina and for neighbouring countries.
Buenos Aires is also served by a ferry system operated by the company Buquebus that connects the port of Buenos Aires with the main cities of Uruguay, (Colonia del Sacramento, Montevideo and Punta del Este). More than 2.2 million people per year travel between Argentina and Uruguay with Buquebus. One of these ships is a catamaran, which can reach a top speed of about, making it the fastest ferry in the world.
The Buenos Aires international airport, Ministro Pistarini International Airport, is located in the suburb of Ezeiza and is often called "Ezeiza". The Aeroparque Jorge Newbery airport, located in the Palermo district next to the riverbank, serves only domestic traffic and flights to Brazil, Chile, Paraguay and Uruguay. A smaller San Fernando Airport serves only general aviation.
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