Earlier this year, the Buenos Aires city government introduced a new innovative program called BA Elige (BA Chooses) that allowed local residents to propose and vote on urban developments the city would actually create. The winning proposals would be included in the city’s 2018 budget. Of course, many of the proposals weren’t included in the final voting because the city determined they were either logistically or financially infeasible, or in some cases, just ridiculous (one proposal called for chairlifts from “places with large parking lots to crowded places”).
However, among those that did make the final cut was the popular request to extend Subte hours to 1:30 a.m. This would be an extension of almost three hours to the Subte service, relative to their current average end time of about 10:45 p.m. This average was calculated using the Monday through Friday Subte schedule.
This has long been a topic of debate, as many have already been asking for a subway system to run later at night.
Metrovías, the privately-owned company who runs the Subte, has maintained that given the current circumstances, a late-night Subte is just not possible. According to La Nacion, Metrovías cites a lack of necessary investment in city infrastructure, as well as the fact that at least six hours are needed every night to perform the necessary maintenance on the Subte system to keep it running every day.
On the contrary, El Cronista argues that, from both a technical and a financial perspective, it is possible to run the Subte later. They list several reasons for why this should happen.
First, as was touched on earlier, a colectivo is an imperfect substitute for the Subte. The Subte is faster, and more direct if you are traveling a long distance. If you need to get from one end of the city to the other at night, you would rather take a Subte.
They also point out, that until recently, the Subte did run later at night. As shown below, it ran past 1:00 a.m. in 1994. If it could run later then, why can’t it run later now? There exists superior technology today than there did 23 years ago, so why is more time necessary at night for maintenance?
Lastly, they indicate that while Metrovías would need to pay longer wages to keep the trains running longer, this added cost would be cancelled out by the extra revenue gained from the longer hours. This was calculated assuming a Subte cost of AR$ 9.5 – a small price to pay for the extra convenience of faster transportation late at night. Here’s to hoping we will get those extra subte hours some day.