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Thursday, January 16, 2014

Tolls are latest to rise

Toll prices are increasing as much as 50 percent this year.
By Mariano Beldyk
For The Herald
It is getting more expensive to get around City

An increase of as much as 50 percent in the country’s tolls accentuated a trend that has become evident this summer: accessing Buenos Aires City and moving through its streets is becoming more expensive.

In one way or another, pockets are heating on January with recent rises in tolls, fuel and public transportation fares.

Now the national government decided to increase tolls prices in national highways, including those to access the capital, starting from February, with a rise of between 20 to a 50 percent. The Riccheri highway toll is the one that will soar most and will double two weeks from now, according to the new measure.

Now, drivers pay 4 pesos to use Riccheri Highway during rush hour, which will rise to 6 pesos. Drivers will pay 5 pesos during offpeak hours.

Drivers who get into the City through the Western Access, drivers will have to hand an extra 2 pesos along with their usual 10 pesos bill as rates will jump 20 percent.

Out of rush hours, car users will pay less —10 pesos — but the increment will be higher, a 25 percent from the current 8 pesos.

Even so, the western gate will still stand as a cheaper option than the Northern Access that will suffer a 20 to a 23 percent increase — reaching 16 pesos in rush hour and 12 pesos at other times.

Of course, divers will have to multiply by two all new tariffs provided they only move in and out of the City once a day in each direction.

Meanwhile, recent increases in fuel prices should also be included when doing the monthly commuting math.

At the beginning of January, two of the bigger fuel retailers, Shell and state-controlled YPF, hiked prices at the pump across the country from a 6 to a 10 percent, opening the door to other major firms like Axion to follow them.

Public transport: cheaper way?

Those who do not have a vehicle still have to deal with higher prices as public transport commuters are also feeling the heat in their pockets this summer.

Buses fares increased 66 percent after national government published a new fares scheme valid from January 1 that took the minimum ticket from 1.50 pesos to 2.50 pesos for passengers making the shortest trips with longer distances costing as much as 2.85 within the City limits.

And all this providing commuters use the SUBE card when boarding. Otherwise, tickets can reach up to 5.75 pesos.

Those who prioritize speed and do not mind paying a bit more may choose to take the subway and pay 3.50 pesos to be squished alongside their fellow commuters during rush hours.

Well, better be prepared for increasing your transport budget because City subway firm SBASE has already called for a public hearing to be organized next month with the purpose of settling a new staggered scheme that could see subway fares soar to 5 pesos depending on the number of journeys per month each passenger takes.

Then again, there is also a cheaper option available, at least for now: walking.

@Mibeldyk

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