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ARGENTINA | 08-08-2023 17:19

City mayoral hopeful Jorge Macri vows 'no more SUBE' for Buenos Aires

PRO mayoral hopeful and frontrunner to take control of City Hall in December brands current transport payment system "old hat" and vows to introduce mobile phone and credit card options.

Entering the final stretch of his campaign prior to this weekend's PASO primaries, Buenos Aires City mayoral hopeful Jorge Macri vowed Tuesday to do away with the Sube payment card and enable public transport fees to be paid by mobile phone or credit cards.

Chau SUBE ("No more SUBE"),” declared Macri in a video posted on his social network accounts on Tuesday (August 8), in which he said the current payment system, which started in 2009 “is now old hat”.

“How many times have you wanted to travel by public transport and couldn’t find your SUBE card, or worse, couldn’t top it up? Let alone if you’re a tourist, there’s no way you can get on the underground or a bus,” he declared.

“The world is already moving in another direction. If I’m mayor, I want you to be able to use public transport with your mobile or a credit card,” he concluded.

The message points to the scarcity of the SUBE card affecting the Buenos Aires Metropolitan Area over the last few months and the lack of places to top it up.

The AAETA Automotive Transport Business Association responded to the initiative by warning that such a measure “requires deep study, not only as a payment method."

“The SUBE card is not just a payment method. It has other uses: every one of them has a GPS recording [in the case of buses] the mileage, timetable and location of demand. It is also a way of supervising the service, now 85 percent subsidised, and any scenario [even subsidising the passenger directly] needs a viable control medium,” said AAETA in a post on X, the social network formerly known as Twitter.

The first city to implement a similar measure was Córdoba, where contactless debit cards were first enabled for payment in 2020 for Bancor users in all urban bus routes. According to the bank, last May 16,000 customers used their cordobesa cards to pay for 168,000 journeys. 

“The fare is debited from the holder’s savings account, just by tapping the card on the charging device – it doesn’t require a top-up or any additional cost,” Bancor explained at the time.

Another large national city which has implemented innovative transport payment systems is Salta, where the fare can be paid directly from a bank account via a traveller's mobile phone.

 

– TIMES/PERFIL

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