And minimum bus ticket costs $18 in the city of Buenos Aires and the suburbs. It is less than a quarter of what they pay in Mar del Plata for this service: there it is $74.38. A recent increase in Rosario shows that transportation is far from being worth the same throughout the country. In that city, Córdoba and Santa Fe the trip will be at $69.5.
The scenario of this price disparity is in the midst of disagreements on the part of the Government on the subsidy policy. The provinces complain to the Ministry of Transportation – headed by Alexis Guerrera, who is referred to in Serge Massa– of receiving insufficient funds. Transportation, in turn, explored the possibility of cutting subsidies to the city of Buenos Aires, but he didn’t. The reason is that if the transfers to the “porteño” lines decrease, those going to the interjurisdictional lines, which go from the suburbs to the city of Buenos Aires, will increase. And there is the bulk of the transfers.
The Minister of Economy, Martín Guzmán, is observing the growth of transport subsidies with concern. In April, they were up 210% from a year earlier and touched $44 billion.. For the first time in the year, expenditures for transportation grew in greater proportion than those for Energy. From Economy they let Transport know that this dynamic has to change.
The budget of the Ministry of Transport for this year exceeds $550,000 million. Of that total, about $142 billion is for subsidies. The problem is that this is not enough to pay all the commitments.
The subsidies in the AMBA, for the groups that go from the suburbs to the city of Buenos Aires, and for those that circulate in the streets of Buenos Aires, were close to $ 100,000 million in 2021. It is difficult for them to go down this year: the Government usually pays the parity increases, while fuel costs are also on the rise. The Executive Power evaluated some correction in the rates (close to 20%), but later the issue left the agenda.
According to interior governors, the AMBA receives $300,000 million annually in subsidies, but that figure includes suburban trains, which are not funded by Transport.
Each trip of a passenger in buses has a “technical value” close to $100. It is a reference price, a formula built between the Ministry of Transportation and the bus lines.
It is estimated that collective transport has 80% state subsidies in the metropolitan area. In the interior, that percentage falls, with subsidies of between 35% and 60% depending on the district.
“The AMBA has a range of rates. The percentage of subsidy is not homogeneous. The most expensive trips (from the third cordon of the suburbs to the city of Buenos Aires, for example) have more subsidies than short trips (within CABA)”, details an expert on the subject, who held public functions, and asked not to be identified.
Between January and March, Transportation had promised the provinces to write them a check of $3.2 billion per month for the groups that circulate in their localities. It was $9.6 billion. However, according to data from the same ministry, by the end of April he had transferred $5.865 million to them and the rest was missing. Annualized that projection, the funds would not fall below $ 40,000 million.
The main guild of collectives (UTA) launched a 72 hour stoppage inside. Governors tell businesses they don’t have the funds to pay for the raises.
The cheapest bus ride, after Buenos Aires, is in San Juan ($38), Mendoza ($40), Salta ($41), or Tucumán ($45).
On the other hand, the most expensive -after Mar del Plata, Córdoba, Rosario and Santa Fe- are Bahía Blanca ($68.4), Bariloche ($62), Neuquén ($61), Corrientes and Posadas ($60). .
The minimum pass with the SUBE card in AMBA buses costs $18 and reaches $21 with more stations. For those who take several transports in a short period of time, the polymodal rate applies, which applies discounts (50% on the second trip, 75% on the third). Specialists call it “fare integration”, and it is something that only applies in Buenos Aires, where you can combine train-collective and subway.
“There are places in the interior where there is a national, provincial and municipal subsidy. In any case, even adding the three, it is less than in the AMBA”, explains an expert who asked not to be identified.
“It is also true that inside there are many free or discounts of all kinds that are approved by local authorities. That makes the “technical fee” (those $100) higher, because the costs are shared among a smaller number of people who pay”, highlights the specialist.
The national government evaluated removing subsidies from the city of Buenos Aires. He was going to slice him close to $13 billion. In that way, the trip within CABA would have risen from $18-21 (the minimum and maximum values) to $36-42. However, those new prices would have caused a displacement of passengers from the 32 lines that circulate within Buenos Aires routes to those that are interjurisdictional (go from the suburbs to CABA). And these companies, which are the largest consumers of subsidies, were preparing to start asking for more.
In any case, the tool of budget expansion is always at hand. Economy can increase the funds to Transportation, if it considers it convenient. Subsidies for trains, for example, do not come from that ministry but are covered directly from National Treasury Bonds.