Story by Jamie Kiliany
Taxis are so cheap in Buenos Aires—about $3 USD —that it was a few weeks before I decided to take the bus on my own, without the help of friends or wifi. Luckily, I had a little transportation guide book up my sleeve: the Guía-T. However, using this handy guide takes some getting used to,—it’s like playing a game of Battleship-meets-Go-Fish. You have to know the exact addresses of where you are and where you want to go. Then you look up the street and block where you are in the index, turn to a map on a different page overlaid with a grid, put your finger on where you are located, and figure out the quadrant number (A2, B5, C6, etc.). Do not lose your spot. Return to the index and figure out which page the area you want to go to is on. Repeat: Ddo not lose your spot.. Here’s how it goes:
Page 6, B6, page 18, A3. B6 has bus 10, does A3? Flip. No. Go fish. Bus
14? Flip. No. Go fish. 39? Flip. 60? Flip. 89? Flip. 101? Flip . 110? Flip (as pages
begin to tear). Last try before I get a taxi! 121? Flip. —Hhallelujah!
There’s no satisfaction quite as great as finding the right bus. Here are some other pros of the colectivo:
- Bus drivers own their buses. From Playboy themes to homages to Mick Jagger, they get to decorate the dash however they want!
- Many of the bus drivers are young, attractive, and suave. I once got on a bus where the driver was wearing a suit and sporting a well-groomed goatee.
- The price, the price, the price. The most a bus ride will cost is 26 American cents.
- Having to ask for the location of the bus stop forces you to leaveout of your shy traveler bubble andto interact with the people around you.
- You’ll feel like a true porteño (a native of Buenos Aires) when you finally successfully take a bus from point A to point B.
This story appeared in the Fall 2014 issue of Baedeker.