Tag Archive | "subte"

Subte Workers to Strike on Thursday Morning

New subte station San José de Flores opened today on the A line (photo: Beatrice Murch)

Buenos Aires subte (photo: Beatrice Murch)

Subte workers will strike for two hours, between 5 and 7am, tomorrow. Service will be suspended on all six lines as employees demand better safety conditions.

The protest comes almost two weeks after the Metropolitan Police took over policing duties on subte stations from the Federal Police on 1st June.

According to the subte workers, up until 31st May the Federal Police had 700 agents working on subte stations, whilst the Metropolitan Police now has 300. After a robbery last week at the Castro Barros station, on the A line, workers demand that ticket windows be protected with safety glass.

Roberto Pianelli, Secretary General of the Subte and Premetro Workers’ Union (AGTSyP), said: “This conflict isn’t new, we’ve been warning [subte owner] SBASE and [operator] Metrovías since March 2013 that they needed to do something about the withdrawal of the Federal Police, because ticket booths handle a lot of money and none of them have safety glass.”

Metrovías and SBASE held a meeting this afternoon with the City’s Labour Undersecretary to try and resolve the conflict, whilst the union has been called for a meeting tomorrow at noon.


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Argentina News Roundup: 15th April 2014

Buenos Aires Subte (photo courtesy of Wikipedia)

Buenos Aires Subte (photo courtesy of Wikipedia)

Judge Orders Modifications to Subte Fare Plan: Buenos Aires judge Elena Liberatori today ordered modifications to subte price plans for multiple-journey tickets introduced last month when the basic fare rose from $3.50 to $4.50. Liberatori ruled that the fare for a single journey could remain at $4.50 but that a ticket for 20 journeys should cost $85 ($4.25 per journey). Further discounts for multi-journey tickets will remain in place: a 30-journey pass will cost $126 ($4.20 per journey), one for 40 journeys $157 ($3.94 each), and for 50 journeys $184 ($3.68 each). However, Liberatori ordered the removal of any expiry date on these multi-journey tickets. Finally, the judge ruled that subte travel on weekends and public holidays will count towards a passenger’s reward scheme for regular use. Under the current system, a commuter using the subte twice every working day would only qualify for the maximum savings on three months of the year, due to public holidays.

Today’s ruling comes after Buenos Aires city legislator Alejandro Bodart had filed an appeal against the fare hike in March, and the city government was ordered to modify the pricing system to account for “inconsistencies”. Bodart had requested the fare be returned to $3.50 and today said the ruling was “insufficient”, adding that he would present another appeal tomorrow because the city government had not properly justified the fare hike.

New Regulations for Motorbike Passengers in Security Crackdown: Motorcycle passengers in the province on Buenos Aires will be obliged to wear a helmet and reflective jacket marked with the bike’s number plate, as part of efforts to clamp down on crime. The new measure was introduced by governor Daniel Scioli yesterday and came into effect today. Failure to comply with the regulation will be considered a “serious offence” and could result in confiscation of the vehicle or driving license. “This is a road safety measure, but above all targets a new style of crime committed by motorcycle passengers,” explained Alberto Pérez, cabinet chief for the provincial government. The move comes as part of governor Scioli’s ‘security emergency‘ programme, declared after a wave of lynchings put the spotlight on crime and security in the province.

President Fernández presents new bill to combat informal labour (photo: Maximiliano Luna/Télam)

President Fernández presents new bill to combat informal labour (photo: Maximiliano Luna/Télam)

New Bill Targets Informal Labour Market: President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner yesterday presented a new law aimed at reducing informal labour that will be sent to Congress. The aim of the bill is to bring around 650,000 workers into the formal labour market over the next two years through a combination of incentives, especially for small companies, to register staff and stricter controls. According to the proposal, companies with fewer that five employees will receive a 50% deduction in employer contribution payments. All private companies that hire new workers will receive similar benefits for two years, with the deduction ranging from 25% to 100% depending on the size of the business. Presenting the bill, President Fernández said that working in the informal market is “the second biggest problem for workers, the first is not having a job.” Labour Minister Carlos Tomada said the bill would deliver a “final blow” to informal labour. “We want to intensify the fight [against informal labour] and so we are providing tools so that employers do not deny workers their rights,” said Tomada in a radio interview earlier today. Under the initiative, the Labour Ministry will have authority to supervise the application of labour laws. At present, provincial governments are responsible for regulating labour conditions, but according to Tomada, lack the resources to carry out controls. According to official statistics, approximately a third of the working age population are in the informal labour market.

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Argentina News Roundup: 7th March 2014

New subte station San José de Flores opened today on the A line (photo: Beatrice Murch)

San José de Flores subte station (photo: Beatrice Murch)

Subte Fares to Increase: Subte fares in the city of Buenos Aires will increase as of next Friday 14th March, from the current $3.50 to $4.50 for rides purchased with electronic cards, such as Sube and Monedero. Tickets bought in cash will cost $5 each, and the premetro will go up from $1 to $1.50. Those travelling more than 20 times per month will see the price of the 21st to the 30th ticket reduced to $3.60; the 31st to 40th will be reduced to $3.15, and all the trips from the 41st onwards will cost $2.70. The measure was published in the City’s Official Gazette this morning, and justified by a yearly rise in costs of 16%. The City’s General Auditor, Eduardo Epszteyn, criticised the rise, indicating that a report produced by his office at the legislature’s request found the subte‘s operational costs to be significantly lower than those mentioned by the government. “I can’t understand how [Mayor Mauricio] Macri’s government could reach that value. Their costs are grossly inflated,” he said.

Macri to Avoid Trial Over Wiretapping: A judge ruled that there is not enough evidence to bring Buenos Aires City Mayor Mauricio Macri to trial over the 2009 wiretapping scandal. Former Education Minister Mariano Narodowski, former Metropolitan Police chief Jorge ‘Fino’ Palacios, and alleged spy Ciro James will undergo trial. Judge Sebastián Casanello considered that neither the prosecutor or the complainants “specify direct evidence supporting the allegation that Macri ordered that Néstor Leonardo and Sergio Burstein be spied on.” According to Casanello, the political responsibility that may be attributed to the Mayor is insufficient for criminal proceedings. Despite this latest development in the case, Macri is still prosecuted and the judge has ordered new evidence to be presented to him in order to decide whether to acquit him or to bring him to trial with the rest of the accused.

Buenos Aires Province Teachers to Strike Next Week: Teachers’ unions in the province of Buenos Aires confirmed they will go on strike on Monday and Tuesday next week. In a statement, the Teachers’ Unions Front (FGDB) said that they will “continue with the struggle until we receive a wage offer from the government that can be analysed by the teachers.” The FGDB has rejected the provincial government’s offer of a 25.5% wage increase, as they demand at least a 35% raise. Schools in the province did not start the term as expected this week due to the strikes.

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Argentina News Roundup: 3rd January 2014

The aftermath of the AMIA bombing. Photo courtesy of Wikipedia.

The aftermath of the AMIA bombing. Photo courtesy of Wikipedia.

AMIA revelations: Former Israeli ambassador to Argentina, Itzhak Aviran, yesterday told the Jewish News Agency that his country had killed the majority of those responsible for the 1994 bombing of the Argentine-Israeli Mutual Association (AMIA) which left 85 dead. Last year Argentina signed an agreement with Iran to create a truth commission over the attacks. In the interview, Avirán called the agreement a ‘farce’ and criticised Argentina’s foreign minister, Hector Timerman, for doing ‘Anti-Israeli and anti-Jewish’ behaviour. The diplomat, who was based in Argentina between 1993 and 2000, added that his country still needed answers for what had happened.

Fines and Reparations Announced for Blackouts: In a press conference today at midday, planning minister Julio de Vido announced that energy companies would be fined and forced to pay reparations to those who suffered blackouts. The payouts would be between $490 and $870 per household, depending on the length of the time they were without electricity, a sum which would total $221m for Edesur and $77m for Edenor. As well as the reparations, the companies would also be fined – Edesur $17.8m, and Edenor $8m. De Vido added that in the coming days the government would analyse the possibility of revoking the companies’ contracts. The news comes a day after the heatwave ended in the capital, with temperatures dropping by 10°C in 24 hours.

Subte Line D weekend closure: On Saturdays and Sundays during January, Subte Line D will not be working along the entire length of the line as a result of works to extend Line H to interconnect the two lines. Line H currently runs from Hospitales to Corrientes and will soon connect with Line D at the Pueyrredón stop, at the junction of Av. Santa Fe and Pueyrredón. On weekdays Line D will continue to function as normal, and Line H will not be affected as a result of the works.

New Price Agreement: The government launched today the new price agreement with the private sector, which will come into effect from Monday. The basket list of 100 products includes foodstuffs, toiletries, and stationery, and in principle will include products sold in the capital and Greater Buenos Aires via one of ten supermarket chains.

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Challenge Lodged to Stop ‘Inflated’ Subte Price Rise

Subte station San José de Flores (photo: Beatrice Murch)

Subte station San José de Flores (photo: Beatrice Murch)

This afternoon Legislator Alejandro Bodart lodged an appeal to challenge the court ruling allowing the Buenos Aires City Government to increase subte ticket prices from $2.50 to $3.50, which will come into effect next Tuesday.

Judge Pablo Mántaras last week removed an injunction preventing the increased fare prices, ruling that the city government of Mauricio Macri would have to create a “social fare”, with discounts for the financially disadvantaged and socially vulnerable. The new price is a 40% increase and more than triple the $1.10 cost of a subte ticket in January 2012, when the service was taken over by the City.

Bodart, a MST-Nueva Izquierda party member, is basing his appeal on a recent report from the City’s Auditor General alleging that the City Government based its caluclations on an inflated ticket price, of which the Government subsidises around $4.

“Metrovías and the Government of Macri inflated the technical price to $7.47, when the Auditor indicated a value of $5.01 to $5.62. That’s why the ticket should be $2.50 and the social rate should be lower,” Bodart said.

The Legislator told Télam that he hoped bring this “new element” to the courts would halt the increase before Tuesday.

Bodart objected the request to raise the price, first made last year, and in March 2013 a temporary injunction was put in place preventing the price rise.

After the injunction was lifted the Macri government this week finalised the new pricing system for subte tickets. Those elegible for the cheaper social fare include: the unemployed, the homeless, indigenous people, those living below minimum wage according the INDEC, and Falkland/Malvinas War veterans.

The subte will be free for pensioners and the disabled, while students and teachers will be able to buy special season tickets.

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Judge Ruling Clears Path for 40% Subte Fare Hike

Argentine Subte (photo courtesy of Wikipedia)

Buenos Aires Subte (photo courtesy of Wikipedia)

A city judge ruled on Friday to lift the precautionary measure that since March has blocked a 40% hike in the price of subte fares. The move clears the way for the government of Buenos Aires to go ahead with its plan to increase the fare from $2.50 to $3.50.

Administrative judge Pablo Mántaras lifted the injunction late on Friday, ruling that the city government of Mauricio Macri would have to create a “social fare”, with discounts for the financially disadvantaged and socially vulnerable.

In the resolution, Mántaras said the Buenos Aires government would have to “incorporate into the current system of season tickets and discounts a social ticket or fare, or some other equivalent measure that establishes a differential pricing system, which ensures accessibility to highly vulnerable sectors of society.”

The court ruled that the city government now has 20 days to create a plan detailing the social subsidies and how they will be applied.

The request to raise the price of subte tickets was made last year but objected by legislator Alejandro Bodart. In March, Mántaras placing a precautionary injunction in place, suspending the fare hike until a ruling was made.

Bodart reacted to latest ruling. “Raising the price of the tickets is a gift to Metrovías… It would be scandalous if [the city government] allowed the company to raise the fare while raising the subsidies it receives,” he said, referring to the $960mn allocated in subsidies to Metrovías in the draft 2014 budget.

According to the city government, if it withdrew all subsidies for passengers, the subte fare would need to be set at $7.47 to cover costs. This report was used by the city government to justify the proposed fare hike. However, the general auditor of Buenos Aires, Eduardo Epszteyn, questioned the legitimacy of this report, saying in a radio interview: “I don’t know how Macri’s government arrived at that price – the costs they used are greatly inflated.”

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After Years of Delays, New Subte Stations Open on A Line

New subte station San José de Flores opened today on the A line (photo: Beatrice Murch)

New subte station San José de Flores opened today on the A line (photo: Beatrice Murch)

Earlier today, Buenos Aires Mayor Maurico Macri inaugurated the two new stations on the subte A line, the oldest in Latin America.

The stations are expected to add an estimated 40,000 passengers daily and will connect a number of neighbourhoods to the Subte, including Floresta, Villa Luro, Villa Mitre, Santa Rita, Parque Avellaneda, Liniers, and Mataderos.

“This inauguration is another example of what happens when a new generation of Argentines becomes involved in politics to improve their lives,” Macri said. “We have achieved that here.”

Macri also told the crowd that he wanted the San José de Flores station to be renamed ‘Papa Francisco’ in honor of the current pope, the former archbishop of Buenos Aires and a resident of the neighbourhood. San José de Flores is located across the street from the basilica of the same name, which Pope Francis frequented as a child.

The opening of the two stations has been in the works since 2004, when the city commissioned four new stations to be added to the A Line. The first two, Puán and Carabobo, were completed in 2008, but the construction of San José de Flores and San Pedrito faced numerous delays due to equipment shortages and security concerns.

Visitors to the new stations can enjoy free wi-fi and interactive display screens. Each station also features a selection of artwork that reflects the local community. The San José de Flores station is decorated with the works of plastics artist Guillermo Rouz, who was raised in the neighbourhood, while San Pedrito station features paintings by Eugenio Cuttica portraying four notable residents of the neighbourhood.

In addition to the two new stations, the A line will also welcome the addition of ten refurbished carriages, though drivers have warned that this may not be enough to prevent a slower service due to the longer route.

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Macri Opens New Subte Stations Despite Safety Concerns

Macri opens new station on Linea B (photo:José Casal/Télam/lz)

Macri opens new station on B line (photo: José Casal/Télam/lz)

Despite the controversy surrounding the safety of the installations, this morning Mauricio Macri opened two new subte stations on line B that will extend the line into Villa Urquiza, 1.6km under Avenida Triunvirato. However, the stations will not be operational due to a decision by the subte workers.

A judge rejected last night petitions from legislator Alejandro Bodart who sought to block the inauguration of the stations. In response to the opening, Bodart declared that “Macri is more interested in a vote that the safety of users and subte workers.”

As he inaugurated the stations Esteban Echeverría and Juan Manuel de Rosas at 9.45am, Macri was accompanied by PRO legislator Sergio Bergman, who is running for deputy in the upcoming election.

Macri declared that “the stations are perfect. Everyone has done what they must so that the stations are impeccable.”

“For us, security was an obsession since the first day,” he added, whilst assuring that “we can collaborate. There is no good reason why the stations cannot operate by its set date. We hope that today until the end it will all function normally.”

Yet only an hour earlier, delegates from the Association for Subte and Premetro Workers (AGTSyP), known as metrodelegados, reiterated their concerns over structural faults and security inadequacies on the line which is still under construction despite today’s inauguration. Due to these concerns, the AGTSyP warned that they will not work in the new stations, stopping the trains at Los Incas.

Metrodelegado Néstor Segovia highlighted that “we will continue working as always, until Los Incas [station], and if Macri wants it symbolically inaugurated, as he has at other times with line H, that he will do. But you cannot put in a dangerous line.”

This was a busy week in terms of transport inaugurations. After opening the new Metrobus line on Wednesday, the mayor also inaugurated a minivan terminal under the obelisk yesterday, which has three lanes opened to minivans from the 19 companies that have received authorisation from the National Commission for Transport Regulation (CNRT).

The vans take commuters to the Greater Buenos Aires, serving districts in the south such as Lanus and Banfield, and west to Ramos Mejia, Haedo, and Morón.

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Inauguration Of New Subte Station Could Be Halted

Electrical board at J. M. de Rosas station, showing water leaks (photo courtesy of Alejandro Bodart)

Electrical board at J. M. de Rosas station, showing water leaks (photo courtesy of Alejandro Bodart)

Legislator Alejandro Bodart has filed an appeal for legal protection to prevent the inauguration of the Juan Manuel de Rosas subte station, on line B, due to open this Friday.

Bodart is a city legislator for the Movimiento Socialista de los Trabajadores (MST) said: “[Buenos Aires Mayor] Mauricio Macri rushes campaign inaugurations, without foreseeing the risks.”

“I believe that before inaugurating there must be a guarantee of the safety of the users and workers,” he said, adding that the security of the latter “is worth a lot more than [Macri’s] moment in the limelight during this electoral campaign.”

Bodart continued by saying that the Juan Manuel de Rosas station, in Villa Urquiza, was incomplete and “suffered from severe structural deficiencies which could put the life of the users and workers at risk.”

He presented 27 pictures to the court showing these deficiencies, putting emphasis on an electrical risk due to water leaks in various points of the construction that could reach electrical boards.

Last week, union delegates from the B line warned that both Juan Manuel de Rosas and Esteban Echeverría -the other station scheduled to open tomorrow- were unsafe for workers and passengers due to leaks.

This is not the first time Bodart challenges Macri on a transport-related issue: he was behind another appeal back in March which stopped the fare increase on the subte by 218% within 15 months. Also, before the opening of the new Metrobus on Av. 9 de Julio, he had described it as a “palliative”, which not only is polluting but cost $8m for each station.”

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Top 5 Subte Stations (For Art)

Taking the subte to go to work or to visit some friends is not always the best moment of the day. To go from a line to another, you sometimes have to keep calm, fight the crowd, wait patiently on the stairs so that everyone can get on the platform, and then ask someone to push you into the train, desperately hoping that your bag won’t fall on the tracks in the rush.

But next time you have your face crushed on the wagon window, take a deep breath, forget about the people sweating around you and enjoy the view! If you pay more attention to the walls than worrying about the possible pickpockets (though best to keep your belongings close too), you will realise that in Buenos Aires, the subte is something of an underground museum.

The subte stations are full of artistic murals, depicting Argentine history or paying tribute to famous local artists. Some of these works, and a certain number of stations, are considered part of the cultural heritage of the city – several stations were declared National History Landmarks 16 years ago. Many stations are decorated with painted ceramic, but you may also run into sculptures or gigantic wall paintings.

The Argentina Independent took all the subte lines to give you a Top 5 of the most artistic stations of the Buenos Aires underground.

Photos by Kahina Boudarène

A stain glass window at the Tronador station

A stain glass window at the Tronador station

Tronador – Va. Ortuzar (B line)

The original stations of the B line (the red one) opened between 1930 and 1931, and were covered with majolica and glazed tiles. The murals enjoyable throughout this line today have been incorporated over the years. Since 1991, most of the stations have been decorated with murals done by renowned local artists.

The Tronador station has been chosen as it is a different from the other stations that are covered with painted ceramic. Instead, it is decorated with 18 stained-glass windows – made in the workshop of Robert Joseph Soler – representing historical images of the Villa Ortuzar neighborhood. Waiting for your train on the platform, you can see representations of the Dr Enrique Tornu hospital, of the weather station, or even the electronic tramway that used to be the main mean of transportation in the area before the opening of the subte. All of these windows have been realised in a simple, almost childish, style, with fine lines. Half of the stained windows are in colour, with the others made in brown glass.


A mural at the Corrientes station

A mural of two men at the Corrientes station

Corrientes (H line)

The H line, inaugurated just six years ago, is characterised by murals dedicated to tango – itself one of the most important art forms in Buenos Aires. The Corrientes subte station, one of the most modern in the city, might have one of the most beautiful paintings of the line, impressive for its size and surrealistic style.

On the masterpiece, we can see two men interacting, but without exactly understand what they are doing. The painting, even though representing something you couldn’t see in real life, is made in a figurative way. The atmosphere is a bit mystic and dark as they are surrounded by gigantic flowers and some kind of big storm. The ambiance might make you think of Salvador Dali’s art: representing imaginary situations in a realistic way. It is definitely one of the most interesting art pieces of the Buenos Aires underground.

You can’t see the mural from the platform or from the subte wagon. To enjoy it properly, you have to get off the train and take the stairs, with this hidden element adding a little extra appreciation.


The Peru station

The pictures of the old style Buenos Aires subte in the Peru station

Peru (A line)

The subte A line is the oldest line of the Buenos Aires subte, with the 14 original stations opened between 1913 and 1914. The owners of the network decided to maintain much of its original form, and it was only earlier this year that the original wooden carriages were replaced with modern trains. The stations are still covered by white-tiled walls and decorated with friezes of different colours; they were, as in the B line, designed to be easily recognisable by illiterate passengers. Metal columns and symmetric lights definitely give a touching charm to the platform.

In Peru station, you can at the same time enjoy the old style of the Buenos Aires subte and black and white pictures of the early 20th century showing to the passengers how the network used to be. The pictures hanging on the wall show the old wagons, the first passengers of the underground buying their tickets, and other images of the subte daily life. This sort of underground exhibition gives a pleasant tribute to Argentina’s history.



The familiar face of Mafalda in the Catedral station

Catedral (D line)

The D line, as most of the subtle lines, is largely decorated with murals, with some excellent works in the more modern stations towards the Congreso de Tucuman end of the line. At its other end, however, Catedral station has been chosen as one of the most famous girls in Argentina is represented in it: Mafalda. Created by Quino, her adventures were published in an Argentine comic strip from 1964 to 1973. Even though the protagonist is only a little girl, her stories deal a lot about politics, in a caricatural and devious way. Nowadays, she is famous in Southern America and in Europe as well.

Walking through the tunnels of this station, in the heart of the city, it is possible, looking at the walls, to admire tributes to the strip cartoon heroine. The stories chosen talk about the way we see the world, always in that ironic and humoristic tone faithful to Mafalda’s style. On one image, a friend asks her why the world is so beautiful, looking at a globe, she answers that it is only because it is a fake one. This little girl, even though she acts like a child, always has something clever to say, and demonstrates the adage that “Truth comes from the mouth of children”.



One of Ernesto Pesce’s ceramic paintings

Pueyrredon (B line)

Returning to the B line for our final choice, Pueyrredon station offers an excellent example of the kind of ceramic paintings typical of this, the busiest of all the lines. The station itself is not in very good condition these days but still, the contrast between the art pieces on offer and the degrading walls is interesting.

On Pueyrredon station – as seen in the picture – there are murals painted in 1991 by Ernesto Pesce, a local famous artist, still alive, born in Buenos Aires. He decided to represent the city viewed from the sky, in blue colours, giving an original perspective of the capital. From afar, it is difficult to understand what is represented on the mural. Waiting on the platform in front of the ceramic painting, you will have the impression that it is an abstract painting, and you have to get closer to see all the details and appreciate the artist’s work.

Deciding not the represent monuments of famous places, Pesce just drew skyskrapers, on the right side of the mural, and some gigantic birds, on the left side, which, from this point of view, look as big as the buildings.

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