Apr 11, 2009
I must say that the buses in Buenos Aires are among the worst Ive ever seen. The pollution and the noise are hard to believe. Are they inspected at all? Is it true that the mayor´s father owns many of the bus lines and this is why he can get away with waking me up throughout the night with such noise? And Im glad summer is over. I tried to explain to a few locals that back home we enjoy air conditioned buses around the city. They looked at me like it was science fiction.

Sometimes I can hardly see across the street, the pollution at street level is so thick. Cant anything be done about it? Dont the locals care at all? Should we be bringing out children here at all?
You have obviously never ridden across Java, with 18 people, a pig, and a dozen chickens in a Mitsubishi Minivan that seats 8.
Or in most of central and south america, africa, the middle east, south east asia, or for 2 days across the midwestern USA with stinking drunks seated next to you while meth heads have sex and smoke crank in the bathroom at the back of the greyhound.

The buses in BsAs are quite nice, if you ask me. They are cheap, frequent, and the windows open.

They have snappy filete paint jobs, and I have never been on a bus anywhere with old ladies wearing fur coats, which happens here if the temp drops below 45 farenheit.
todd said:
I must say that the buses in Buenos Aires are among the worst Ive ever seen... Should we be bringing out children here at all?

I never had the opportunity to ride in a Mercedes Benz as a child...

Haven't you ever lived in the flight path of a major airport? If so, you would be used to the noise.
"or for 2 days across the midwestern USA with stinking drunks seated next to you while meth heads have sex and smoke crank in the bathroom at the back of the greyhound".

Ries, the writer was talking about city buses, not intercity buses. Anyway, Greyhound buses are a lot quieter than BA city buses and pollute a lot less. If the passengers behave badly on Greyhound that is the fault of the passengers, not the bus company.

The buses here could be a lot quieter and pollute less but the bus companies and the city have no interest in doing anything about it. It is really irrelevant to me what buses are like in the Middle East. I just wish they were quieter and cleaner here. Is that asking too much?
Obviously the poster of the original message hasn't travelled much to other parts of the world. The buses here are just fine, not bad at all, not luxurious but excellent reliable transportation. And all for $1 peso! In New York City the buses may be more modern but they are so badly vandalized that every 3 months on the road they require a complete overhaul of the interior. The people here are much more decent and that is why the buses although they may be older still are useable. And air conditioning? It's a city bus for goodness sake, air conditioning is a luxury, NOT a right / entitlement to any citizen. Grow up! and learn that the world is not totally airconditioned and that is something you have to live with if you want to get ahead in life.
I hadn't noticed that MTA buses were in such bad condition. They looked just fine to me in February. The vandalism you speak of is also a surprise. The NY subway used to have this problem, especially with graffiti but I haven't seen graffiti in years. I agree that expecting air conditioning in a country like Argentina is too much. It would never be properly maintained, so it's better to have windows that open. The same for the trains to Tigre. There IS air conditioning but it often doesn't work and the windows are sealed shut. The old trains had windows that opened. The bus noise and pollution problem, however, COULD be resolved if the authorities cared.
Every now and then the city authorities launch campaigns to control the buses's noise and pollution. They fine some lines and put some posters but that's about it.

The problem is the same problem you can find pretty much in all of Argentina's infrastructure. If the city were to have all buses inspected and the companies fined, the city would be left practically without a public transit system, and the chaos this would generate would be far worst than noise and pollution.

In BA (not so in the rest of the country) the bus fare is amongst the cheapest you can find anywhere. The bus companies are heavily subsidise by the government to keep the fare cheap so everyone can ride the bus. If companies were looking for better, more modern buses, then the fare would be much higher.

Also you have to keep in mind than unlike the US, most people here rich or poor, rely on public transportation. And BA has one of the most extensive bus networks in the world. You can prety much get to any point in the city and the metropolitan area by bus, and the frequency of the buses is very short.

The noise and pollution is bad, but if you ask today the people of BA wether they prefer the current bus network at the current prices or a new reduced and more expensive system but with more modern buses and less contamination, im sure porteños would pick the former.
If you ride city buses in a yuppie city like Seattle, its true the buses make less noise and smoke- but you will encounter, on a regular basis, truculent teenagers blasting rap music from huge boom boxes, extremely foul smelling drunk people, vomiting people, mentally ill people who swear for the entire bus ride, and, occasionally, people with guns or knives.

This is true in pretty much any city bus system in the USA.
Drunks, crazy people, criminals, and extremely rude people are all too common on the city buses I have ridden in LA, or Phoenix, or NYC.

I have never run into anything like this in BsAs- and, to me, the lack of in your face offensive human beings far outweighs a bit of noise and smoke.

My place has a bus stop right in front of it, and, frankly, its a lot quieter than two of the places I lived at in Seattle in the 80's that had bus stops right in front. American buses, for some reason, idle for long periods of time at bus stops, sometime 20 minutes or more, at 2 in the morning. Porteno buses barely stop.
One thing I have to say about the buses here also is that they MOVE fast. Maybe not the safest thing, but you are sure to get to your destination quickly. Try taking a crosstown bus in New York City, and the trip takes forever. The last time one of the news channels in New York timed it, a person started out on a bus at 7:00PM and one started walking at 7:00PM from the same corner. The person walking made 15 blocks in 20 minutes and the bus took 45 minutes to go the same 15 blocks. I guarantee you in Buenos Aires you would do 15 blocks on a bus in 10 minutes.